Taco Salad with Pork Carnitas
This taco salad with pork carnitas is one of my favorite ways to eat my veggies. A pile of greens, red bell peppers, radishes, and cherry tomatoes tossed in salsa vinaigrette, topped with slow simmered black beans, pork carnitas, cheese, and fried tortilla strips.
I am a huge fan of all kinds of salads, but I especially love the kind where there is a lot of different textures and flavors. I also like salads that lets everyone build their own, choosing what they want. So this salad fits the bill for me.
Plus, there's Carnitas.
These Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Carnitas have kind of changed my life. Sounds a bit dramatic, but I can't tell you how many times I've made them over the past couple of years and how many dishes they've made better. I even served them on Thanksgiving.
The thing I love about them the most is how disproportionate the amount of effort is to flavor. Little effort = LOTS of flavor. Dump a pork roast and a handful of other ingredients in your slow cooker in the morning and let it simmer away all day. By evening, the roast will be falling apart tender. Shred it, lay it on a baking sheet, douse it with the cooking liquid and put it under the broiler for a few minutes so that you get those delectable crispy edges.
That's it. If you've already made them, you know. If not, give it a go.
Veggies, beans, and crispy tortilla options.
This particular taco salad recipe calls for Romain lettuce, cherry tomatoes, radishes, and red bell peppers. But you should add whatever veggies you want. If you're making this as a part of Spring Meal Plan #4, you should have some slow simmered black beans in your refrigerator just waiting to be added to your taco salad. If not, use a can or two of black beans instead.
If you don't want to fry a few crispy tortilla strips, set out a bag of tortilla chips instead. But, let me just say this: freshly fried corn tortillas are the BEST.
Whip up the salsa vinaigrette, lay everything out on the counter, and let everyone go to town building their own salads.
Meal Plans that Include Taco Salad with Pork Carnitas:
More Main Dish Salad Recipes:
- Niçoise Salad with Bacon and Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
- Chili Glazed Chicken Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- Cornbread Salad with Italian Sausage and Tomatoes
- Couscous Salad with Spring Veggies and Agrodolce
- Potato Salad with Creamy Green Sauce and Tuna
- Steak Salad Wraps
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (See Note)
- 2 cups black beans, slow simmered or from a can (drained)
- About 8 cups shredded romain lettuce (or any kind of greens)
- 12 - 16 radishes, ends trimmed and sliced very thin
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 12 - 16 oz cherry tomatoes
- 8 oz Mexican cheese (or shredded Colby Jack)
- 8 corn tortillas (OR - a bag of tortilla chips)
- 1 cup corn oil (disregard if using tortilla chips)
- Salsa vinaigrette OR Creamy Mango Lime Dressing
To fry tortilla strips:
- Add the oil to a large, deep saucepan or frying pan and place over high heat. You want to heat the oil until a small piece of tortilla placed in the oil begins to sizzle immediately, about 350°F. Be careful to not allow the oil to get so hot that it smokes. If that happens, move the pan off the heat immediately and allow to cool down slightly before placing it back over the heat. Adjust the burner heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
- While the oil is heating, cut tortillas into strips about ½-inch wide
- Line a baking sheet with a couple of layers of paper towels and have a small dish of salt near by.
- When the oil is hot, add a handful of tortilla strips – enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but not so many that they are laying on top of each other. Fry the strips for 2-4 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.
- Using tongs, quickly remove the strips from the oil and onto the paper towel lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with some salt. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.
Assemble the taco salad:
- Lay everything out on the counter or table top and allow everyone to build their salads as they wish. Suggested order: Lettuce, veggies, salsa vinaigrette, beans, carnitas, cheese, tortilla strips.
- The recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas makes quite a lot, on purpose. I love to use carnitas in all sorts of dishes, and therefore love having leftovers. Carnitas make divine tacos, are delicious in Spanish Potato Soup, and elevate Baked Potatoes to a gourmet treat. If you're making this as a part of Spring Meal Plan #4, you'll use the leftovers for Pulled Pork Sandwiches later this week. If you're not making carnitas as a part of a meal plan and don't want a bunch of leftovers, just cut the recipe in half.
Keywords: taco salad, carnitas taco salad, salad for dinner, main dish salad, Mexican food, healthy recipe