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About This Recipe
Some of the best meals are ones you can throw together on a busy day with what you have prepped in the fridge and still love! Isn’t that what meal prep is for?
That’s exactly what these Pork Carnitas Burrito Bowls are! A combination of a few of my favorite and versatile meal prep staples that you can easily modify the amount of, and customize the toppings to your macronutrient needs and likings.
These bowls are made with tender, juicy pork carnitas roasted to perfection. Add in fresh and citrusy cilantro lime brown rice and top with with tangy pickled red onions and seasoned fajita peppers. YUM! And the best part? You can prep all of these ingredients in ADVANCE and throw them together for a heavenly meal in no time when you’re ready to eat!
You can top these bowls however you see fit. Cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo are just a few of many delicious toppings that will make for an amazing lunch or dinner! You can also serve over lettuce to get in some more greens.
Why You’ll Love These Pork Carnitas Burrito Bowls
- Easy to assemble. Prep all ingredients in advance and add to a bowl when ready to eat!
- So many flavor profiles! From the tender pork to the fresh and citrusy cilantro lime rice and tangy pickled onions, your taste buds will be dancing with each bite.
- A macro-balanced, protein-packed meal.
- They’re super customizable! It’s easy to change up the ingredients based off your cravings or to fit your macro goals.
- Seriously delicious. This one needs it’s own bullet point. I am telling y’all, so good.
- Cilantro Lime Brown Rice – or use Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice for a lower carb option. You can also use microwave white rice here or brown rice!
- The BEST Pork Tenderloin Carnitas – or other protein of choice
- Easy Pickled Onions
- Bell peppers
- Romaine lettuce
- Taco seasoning – store-bought or homemade
Topping Options for Carnitas Burrito Bowls:
- Cheese – Fresh cotija cheese is out of this world and would be a great addition to your Carnitas Bowls! Feta and goat cheese are also heavenly. Any cheese you love would go well, I can guarantee you of that.
- Avocado – Creamy avocado pairs so well with the flavors of this bowl.
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt – For a dollop of cool creaminess!
- More veggies – No need to stop with the peppers and onions. Feel free to load this burrito bowl up with shredded carrots, corn, tomatoes, and more! A lot of times I will double the greens to make it more like a salad and for more volume!
- Dressing – since when was adding dressing on top of something a bad idea!? Ranch, lime crema, heck even honey mustard would be out of this world!
How To Make
The full printable recipe is below, but let me walk you through the process so you know what to expect when you’re making it!
1. Place pork tenderloins in Crock-Pot. Add fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice, and sprinkle with spices. Toss around.
2. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high for about 4 hours. Pork should be easily shreddable when done.
3. Use two forks to shred pork (or your Kitchen Aide). Taste and add more salt, if desired, then simmer another 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the broiler and transfer shredded pork to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Spread out in a medium-thin layer, leaving any juices in the Crock-Pot.
5. Broil on low for about 5 minutes until it starts to get crisp but is not burnt or dried out. Remove pork and toss with reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Stir in fresh cilantro, then enjoy!
6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice and a few shakes of salt. Boil for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender. Add more water as needed to continue cooking rice. Reduce heat as needed to prevent the water from flowing over.
7. Drain the rice and return it to the pot. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork. Mix in the chopped cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil and salt. Taste and add more salt, lime juice or cilantro as needed to taste.
8. Add romaine lettuce to a large bowl. Then add the Pork Carnitas, Cilantro Lime Rice, sautéed peppers, and red (or pickled) onions. Top with cheese, avocado, salsa, or dressing, as desired!
I recommend cutting the pork tenderloin in 2-3 inch chunks so that way it shreds in shorter pieces.
Customize Your Bowls
These Carnitas Burrito Bowls are SUPER customizable. Adjust the ingredient(s) and/or amount of each ingredient to build a bowl that is perfect for your preferences and dietary needs. You can adjust the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (and ultimately the calories that way) and also adjust to make gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc!
Carnitas Bowl Base Options:
As written, this recipe uses both a greens + grains base. I love the combination of the cauliflower rice (or rice!) with the voluminous, crunchy greens! But there are so many options here to switch the base up. Here are some ideas that come to mind:
Greens – I love crunchy romaine for this bowl but you could definitely do spinach, kale, arugula, or a salad mix blend!
Grains – any variation of rice (white, brown, basmati), couscous, quinoa
Vegetables – cauliflower rice, broccoli rice, chickpea rice
Greens + grains, grains + vegetables, or greens and vegetables – any combo of any of the above!
Carnitas Bowl Topping Options:
- Fire Roasted Corn
- Rainbow Corn Salad
- Pickled Onions
- Tomato Cucumber Salad
- Pico De Gallo
- Cilantro Lime Crema (Lightened Up!)
- Cheese – cojita, feta, goat, mexican, etc.
- Avocado or guacamole
- A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt
More Ways To Customize Your Bowls
- More Protein: add more pork carnitas, a dollop of Greek Yogurt or cheese.
- Less Protein: use less meat.
- More Carbs: add more Cilantro Lime Brown rice, peppers, or add a carb-based dressing. You can also add bread or chips to your meal! I love making homemade chips from Cut Da Carb or Joseph’s lavash bread to scoop the goodies in this bowl up!!
- Less Carbs: use my cauliflower rice instead of regular rice.
- More Fats: add avocado, a fat-based dressing, or use a higher-fat cheese.
- Less Fats: this dish is already pretty low in fat but if you need to cut it down more omit the olive oil and just use cooking spray.
Can I make these bowls in advance?
Yes! These carnitas bowls are a GREAT meal prep option to make in advance. Just prep all your ingredients and portion into meal prep containers. Store in fridge until ready to eat. I recommend storing the pickled red onions separately to add after if you prefer to reheat your bowl.
How do I make these bowls gluten-free?
These meal prep pork carnitas bowls are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free as written. To make vegan, sub the pork carnitas for your favorite meatless substitution.
Can I make these pork carnitas in the Instant Pot?
Yes! You can make these pork carnitas in the instant pot. Just add all the pork ingredients to the instant pot (you can sear the pork first if you want!) then set for 45 minutes and let naturally release. Once pork is done, shred with two forks or Kitchen Aid and broil.
For the Carnitas:
- 2.5 lb. pork tenderloin
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 tsp each: cumin and chili powder
- 1 tsp each: salt and oregano
- 1/2 tsp each: black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp cilantro freshly chopped
For All The Bowls:
- 12 oz. romaine or shredded green leaf lettuce or greens of choice
- Pork Carnitas
- 2 cups LFF Cilantro Lime Rice (280g) or microwaved rice
- 1 (11-oz.) can Mexican corn drained
- 1 (15-oz.) can black beans rinsed and drained
- Optional for topping: pickled red onions, sliced avocado, cotija cheese
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- Place pork tenderloins in Crock-Pot. Add fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice, and sprinkle with spices. Toss around.
- Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high for about 4 hours. Pork should be easily shreddable when done. Use two forks to shred pork then simmer for another 30 minutes to allow pork to soak up the juices.
- Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Transfer shredded pork to the sheet and spread out in an even layer. Leave remaining juices in the Crock-Pot.
- Broil on low for about 5 minutes, until it starts to get crisp but is not burnt or dried out. Remove pork and toss with reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Stir in fresh cilantro, then enjoy! (Carnitas make 8 servings so you have extra for tacos, sandwiches, burritos, etc!)
To Assemble Bowl:
- Add romaine lettuce to a large bowl (about 1-2 cups or as much or as little as you wish). Then top with 1 cup Pork Carnitas (111g), 1/4 cup cooked rice, 1/3 cup corn and 1/3 cup black beans. Top with pickled red onions, sliced avocado, cotija cheese if using and enjoy!
- You can store ingredients separately and assemble each bowl when ready to eat, or go and assemble all the bowls. If making bowls for meal prep, store the lettuce in a separate bag/container or add on top of everything instead of the bottom.
Nutrition is hand-calculated and accurate. No autocalulations! However, note that values can vary based on the brands you use and if you substitute ingredients.