A lean and healthy Mexican dish that is bursting with flavor!
A dish like pork carnitas doesn’t seem like it could be healthy. After all, it’s so delicious, it must be bad for you, right? Our savory slow cooker carnitas recipe is proof that it’s possible to put a healthy spin on your favorite classics. All it takes is the right combination of a few basic ingredients!
In addition to its incredible flavor, this dish is also incredibly easy it is to prepare. Crock-Pots are a must-have in any busy cook’s kitchen. They cook low and slow, creating an aromatic meal bursting with juicy flavors that requires very little work on your end. It’s a win-win.
A Healthier Version of a Mexican Classic
The traditional way to cook carnitas involves frying and braising the meat. Frying food adds excess oil to the mix, which can increase the calorie count tremendously. Using a slow cooker slashes calories and increases the meal’s nutritional value. Vitamin-rich spices and garnishes like freshly squeezed lime juice, oregano, and ground cumin dress up the meat without tacking on a bunch of extra fat, carbohydrates, and calories.
All in all, this tasty shredded pork comes in at 343 calories per serving while offering a whopping 24 grams of protein. This recipe is a great option for our low-carb readers, too, as it only contains 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
How to Make this Mexican Pulled Pork
For a recipe that tastes this good, it sure is easy to make! After just a few simple steps (plus eight hours of hassle-free cook time), these tender, fall-apart pork carnitas will be ready to enjoy. Begin by placing the pork shoulder into the slow cooker. After you slice the onions and smash the garlic, nestle the two ingredients around the pork shoulder.
Then, in a small bowl, combine the orange juice, lime juice, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Pour this mixture over pork and add enough water to cover the pork about half way. This will help to keep the meat moist and tender.
Place the cover on the slow cooker and set it on low for eight hours. When it’s finished cooking, it should be tender enough to shred with two forks.
Versatile Protein You Can Serve in a Number of Ways
This hearty carnitas recipe is a snap to make, and it tastes downright delicious no matter how you choose to eat it. You can serve this delicious pork inside of taco shells or burritos for a tasty Mexican-style dinner. It also makes an excellent filling for sandwich rolls and wraps, which is a great lunch option, or you can serve it over brown rice for a traditional and filling dinner. Of course, you can take the low-carb route and eat the pork on its own or over a bed of lettuce.
Slow Cooker Carnitas
- 3 pounds pork shoulder
- 2 yellow onions medium, peeled and sliced
- 6 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- 1/4 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the pork to the slow cooker. Nestle the onions and garlic around it. Whisk the orange juice, lime juice, and seasonings together and pour over the meat. Add enough water to cover meat about halfway. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. When pork is done, shred with 2 forks.
- Serve in taco shells, burritos, sandwich rolls, or over rice.
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If you enjoyed our slow cooker carnitas recipe, we think you’ll also want to add these yummy Mexican-inspired options to your “must-try” list!
Let us know what you thought of these slow cooker carnitas and how you served them in the comment section below!
Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published on August 26, 2016.