Simple Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

When it comes to eating clean, especially with the Whole30, simplicity is key.  This has the trifecta of a great healthy meal: crockpot+dump it in+few ingredients.  Sometimes healthy crockpot meals require you to still cook before, or only cook for a few hours (so you risk burning it if you set it before work), or have a TON of ingredients that end up being more money and more trouble than it’s worth.

The original recipe for this meal calls for a little more work because it serves the carnitas in baked sweet potato skins and broils the carnitas in the oven for the few minutes to get it more crispy, but I’ve omitted that for this post.  You can serve these with sweet potatoes, certainly, but you can also serve it with salsa and avocado, over a bed of greens, or in corn tortillas if you aren’t doing Whole30.  As written, this recipe is Whole30-approved, so make sure you pair it with other compliant foods to make it a full meal.

I love the fact that this recipe doesn’t call for any oils–the pork has enough natural fats that oil is totally unnecessary.  The orange zest and juice added some awesome flavor to this meal–I’d never added orange zest to pork before, but now it’s going to be one of my staples!  I did use a sieve to pour the orange juice through to keep seeds and pulp out of the meat, but if you don’t mind pulp you don’t need to worry about that step.

Simple Slow Cooker Crockpot Pork Carnitas (slightly adapted from Fashionable Foods)

2-3 lb pork loin or shoulder

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)

zest of 1 orange

1.5 tbps cumin

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Line slow cooker with crockpot liner, if desired.  Place pork in crockpot and cover with remaining ingredients.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Using metal tongs or two forks, shred pork .  You can either serve the pork from the juices in the crockpot, or remove from juices, depending on preference.

To keep this meal Whole30, serve with roasted sweet potato, chopped tomato, pico de gallo, chopped avocado, and/or cilantro.  If not eating Whole30, you can still serve with those same options, as well as corn, whole wheat, or gluten-free tortillas/chips.

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