Recipe: Spicy Carnitas Salad Bowl
The key to making a salad that you really want to eat is building it from ingredients and toppings you’d happily eat anyways. This spicy carnitas number tells that tale five times over with a bold and crisp base and toppings ranging from slow-cooker carnitas to pickled avocado. And the best part? You can prep and pack every single thing in this salad on a Sunday and then eat it during the week to come.
The Sunday Night Salad
This is the salad you put together when you’re meal prepping for the week. Each recipe in this series makes four entree-sized portions, which you can pack up for a week’s worth of work salads or just dinner throughout the week.
Because we wanted these salads to last, all the major elements — the salad base, the topper, and the mix-ins — can be stored in the fridge anywhere from three to five days or longer without showing signs of fatigue. This is how you do Sunday salad prep right!
The Base: The New Green Salad
With hearty carnitas as a topping, this salad needed a base that was both assertive in flavor and sturdy in texture. We turned to a combination of spicy mustard greens, crunchy shaved Brussel’s sprouts, and crispy green apple slices to do just that. These ingredients can be mixed together on Sunday with a twist of lemon to keep the apple from oxidizing and stored in the fridge for up to a week without getting worse for wear.
The Topper: Slow-Cooker Carnitas
What’s Sunday salad prep without some smart cooking thrown in? This is where the slow cooker comes into play, turning out tender shredded pork for you to top your salad. We used a simple lime and cilantro dressing to top this salad off.
Get More Make-Ahead Toppers: 5 Make-Ahead Toppings for a Salad That Keeps You Full
The Mix-Ins: Avocado Pickles, Tortilla Chips, and Pepitas
Tangy, tangy, crunch, crunch, crunch — that’s how I think about these toppers. The avocado pickles (which you should be making whether you’re into this salad or not) bring a spicy, tangy creaminess to every forkful of this meal. The tortilla chips and pepitas keep it crunchy, salty, and satisfying.
Pro tip: To pack this salad, simply ensure each component gets its own compartment in a travel container. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
Spicy Carnitas Salad Bowl
- 4 cups
loosely packed torn mustard greens
- 4 cups
shaved or shredded Brussels sprouts (about 12 ounces)
medium Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
- 2 cups
slow-cooker pork carnitas, warmed (see Recipe Note)
Avocado pickles, large dice (see Recipe Note)
- 1/4 cup
crushed tortilla chips
- 1/4 cup
toasted pepitas (also known as pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 cup
lime and cilantro dressing (see Recipe Note)
Place the mustard greens and Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and toss together. Place the apple slices and lemon juice in a medium bowl and toss together.
When ready to serve, divide the greens between 4 plates. Top each with a quarter of the apple slices, pork carnitas, avocado pickles, tortilla chips, and pepitas. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.