Whole30 Chipotle Carnitas Bowl
January is Whole30 month. If you’re not familiar with the Whole30, it’s a dietary elimination protocol to determine which food groups (like sugars, grains, dairy, or legumes) may be having a negative impact on your health. As the Whole30 site itself explains:
“Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition, like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, or chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days.”
The Whole30 is a commitment and definitely not for everyone. But while I’m not officially doing one this month, I’ve found the Whole30 enjoyable (yes, enjoyable!) and helpful in the past.
For me, it’s essentially giving my body a vacation from all of the things in my diet that I know aren’t optimal for my health but that I eat (and drink) anyway. For others, January is often the month the most motivation is available to tackle sub-optimal aspects of their health, and #JanuaryWhole30 has 188,000 posts on Instagram and counting.
Earlier this week I noticed a delicious-looking collaboration between Whole30 and Chipotle restaurants being promoted on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
We’ve teamed up with @chipotle to create a delicious Whole30 on-the-go or travel meal for your #JanuaryWhole30. Introducing the Whole30 Salad Bowl, available nationwide! Order yours today online or in the Chipotle app … click the link in our profile, or go to the “What’s New” section in the app, and place your order. You can even get free delivery through 1/7. The #Whole30SaladBowl features crisp romaine, tasty carnitas, fajita veggies, tomato salsa and guacamole. To order online or in the app, simply choose the Whole30 Salad Bowl option … easy! If you’re heading in-store to order, we’ve made that easy, too. Swipe to see our #Whole30SaladBowl graphic; screenshot it so you know how to build your bowl when you order in store. (You won’t find the Whole30 Salad Bowl on the store menu, so ask for these ingredients specifically to make sure it’s a Whole30-compliant meal.)⠀ ⠀ To celebrate, we’ve created a special Whole30 Salad Bowl sticker for you to use in your stories (find it by searching “whole30” in GIF). Be sure to tag us and @chipotle in your stories and photos so we can see your #Whole30SaladBowl (use the hashtag, too!). https://w30.co/chipotle2 Free delivery where available on orders over $10, terms and conditions apply. ⠀ Image description: added to the new @Instagram alt-text feature.
I was happy to see Chipotle participating in the Whole30 community with their Whole30 bowl (not to mention keto, paleo, and double protein options) and immediately got a craving to try it/them.
But since Chipotle isn’t very convenient for me where I’m based in San Francisco, I decided to flip the concept into a simple yet flavorful Chipotle Carnitas Bowl recipe… Which happens to be Whole30 and keto. Here’s what the finished dish looks like:
This pared-down version of the Whole30 salad bowl at Chipotle is made in four steps. Note that the “Chipotle” in the recipe title refers to the restaurant chain, yes, but also to the fact that there’s chipotle mixed into the carnitas! Don’t skip it.
Start with “fajita veggies” (as Chipotle calls them) layered on top of a bed of lettuce. I’m using 100 grams of romaine, washed and chopped, underneath the bell pepper and red onion here.
Next, add the chipotle carnitas on top of the fajita veggies. Pictured here is 100 grams of pork, which doesn’t seem like much until you add it to the rest of the bowl. This recipe makes plenty of food!
Add a sprinkle of chopped tomatoes and onions to approximate pico de gallo (or spoon some store-bought pico de gallo on top).
Finish the Chipotle Carnitas Bowl up with “flair”. ✨ Add cilantro (my favorite part) and a quarter of an avocado for the final flavorful touch.
- Chipotle Carnitas
- 100 grams (approximately 1/2 cup) of shredded pork*
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp chipotle powder (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
- Bowl Assembly
- 3/4 red onion (65 grams)
- 1/2 bell pepper (65 grams)
- 1 tsp avocado oil or macadamia nut oil (or other neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point)
- 1/2 tomato (30 grams)
- 100 grams of lettuce
- 1/4 avocado, sliced
- 1 tbsp minced cilantro
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Mix the shredded pork with the spices listed in the Chipotle Carnitas section above. Set aside.
- To make the fajita veggies, heat the teaspoon of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Slice half a red onion and half a bell pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook, stirring frequently to avoid burning, until the bell peppers are softened and the onion is beginning to caramelize. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Dice the half tomato and the remaining quarter of the red onion.
- Wash and chop the lettuce, then place in a bowl or lunch container. Layer the cooled fajita veggies on top, then add the chipotle carnitas. Finish with the chopped raw onion and tomato, the sliced avocado, and the minced cilantro.
To make the shredded meat, load a large cut of pork butt or shoulder (approximately 3 lbs) into the slow cooker, and cook on low for 12 hours. Shred the meat with two forks while it’s still resting in its juices, then measure it into 100-gram portions and season according to this recipe.