HEALTHY PORK CARNITAS & MEXICAN SLAW TACOS
This is my favorite version of healthy pork carnitas tacos! The seasoned slow-cooked pork is served over Mexican slaw in crispy corn tortillas and topped with fresh cilantro, lime, and goat cheese. Talk about a flavor party! Perfect for Taco Tuesday 😉
Did you know? Lean pork is a great source of protein and thiamin (one of the B vitamins), making it an more affordable alternative to beef or lamb.
What kind of pork to use
I actually used pork shoulder for this recipe, which has more fat, but I discarded the fat after cooking, making it comparable to pork sirloin roast in terms of leanness. While pork sirloin roast or pork top loin roast will work, you really don’t want to use something too lean (like pork tenderloin) or the meat can get kind of rubbery in the slow cooker.
I recommend buying pork that’s labeled “raised without antibiotics” or “no antibiotics ever.” If an animal was administered antibiotics it was either sick itself or around other sick animals. There is also evidence that antibiotics in meat may contribute to immunodeficiencies and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.
Besides, pork that’s labeled “pasture-raised” is typically lower in saturated fat and higher in omega-3, lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. “Organic” means naturally-raised and free of antibiotics as well. The use of hormones is illegal in pork and poultry, so products labeled “no hormones” are just bragging that they obey the law.
The secret ingredient in these healthy pork carnitas is orange juice. I know a lot of pork carnitas recipes call for it and I can see why – it really enhances the flavor! Besides that, I just used some cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper for the pork rub; plus some onions, garlic, and jalapeño for even more slow-cooked flavor. Browning in a cast iron pan before serving is highly recommended 😉
Making the Mexican slaw
For the Mexican slaw, I combined tri-color coleslaw mix with some red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño; then tossed everything with lime, honey, cumin, and salt. It’s so good after sitting in the fridge overnight.
I served my healthy pork carnitas with the slaw in my favorite corn tortillas (toasted, of course) with some more fresh lime, cilantro, and goat cheese on top. So yummy!
Here’s the printable recipes for the healthy pork carnitas and Mexican slaw! I hope you’ll rate and comment below if you try it 🙂
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Healthy Pork Carnitas & Mexican Slaw Tacos
- 3 lb. pork shoulder roast*
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large jalapeño seeded and chopped
- 2/3 cup (~2 oranges) fresh orange juice
Easy Mexican Slaw:
- 2-16 oz. bag (20 cups) tri-color coleslaw
- 1 cup red onion diced
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 large jalapeños diced
- 1 cup fresh lime juice
- 4 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
For the carnitas:
- The day before serving, start carnitas in the slow cooker. Rub pork shoulder roast with oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper, then place in the slow cooker.
- Add prepared onions, garlic, and jalapeño over top, then pour in fresh orange juice. Cover and cook on LOW heat for 6-7 hours (or 3-4 hours on HIGH).
- Transfer meat and juices to an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat.
- When ready to eat, brown carnitas in a skillet for about 5 minutes along with reserved juices (you will need to do about three batches). You can also broil carnitas in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
For the Mexican slaw:
- Add coleslaw, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño to a large mixing bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, combine lime, honey, salt and cumin.
- Toss coleslaw mixture with lime mixture and leave in fridge covered overnight.
- When ready to have tacos, serve in corn tortillas with slaw and carnitas, toppings more cilantro, jalapeño, and goat cheese if desired! Leftovers will keep in the fridge up to one week.
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