Pork Carnitas with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice.

I am in love with the veggie hacks I’ve been seeing in all the little corners of the Internet lately — the zucchini noodles, the cauliflower pizza crusts, the portabella burger buns. In a new food world in which King Veggie reigns supreme, these are certainly some inventive ideas I can get behind — and I have. Quite a few months ago, though, I saw the first recipe (of what would be many) for cauliflower rice. And what was my first reaction?

[Leaf Parade. Pork Carnitas with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice.]

Ain’t nobody got time for that.


[Leaf Parade. Pork Carnitas with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice.]

It turns out, if you have time to make rice, then you have more than enough time to make cauliflower rice. In fact,  in the time it takes for your brown rice to reach its perfect al dente, I bet you could make cauliflower rice at least three times over. And you should — because it’s a delicious way to add extra servings of vegetables to your diet. Bonus: Eating cauliflower rice instead of actual rice reduces the calorie count of any food you eat alongside it to zero. (For all of you who are unfamiliar, this is known as girl math.)

[Leaf Parade. Pork Carnitas with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice.]

Enter Pork Carnitas. I really love the balance of the bright orange and the dark, smoky chipotle in this particular recipe, which I’ve adapted from Popular Paleo’s version (recipe here). I’ve streamlined the recipe just a bit, so the prep work is really a piece of cake. Just put some things into the slow cooker and let the Crock Pot Fairy do her job. In the meantime, don’t worry about dinner — you just get back to whatever it is you’re busy doing. Because, you know, The West Wing is not going to watch itself.


Pork Carnitas. (Adapted from Popular Paleo, recipe here.)


  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 pounds bone-in pork ribs
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon adobo (from a can of chipotle peppers)


In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Trim the fat from the pork ribs and then rub all the pieces with the spice mixture; cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Lay the ribs flat in the bottom of your slow cooker. In a bowl, whisk together the orange zest and juice, as well as the lime juice, chicken stock, tomato paste, and adobo. Pour the sauce over the meat; they should be at least nearly covered in liquid. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, until the pork is tender and pulls apart easily.

With a slotted spoon, remove the pork from the slow cooker and allow it to cool. Using two forks, shred the meat and discard the bones and any excess fat. In a hot, dry skillet, briefly saute the pork so that its edges are nice and crispy.

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice. (There are many recipes to choose from, but I followed Nom Nom Paleo’s simple instructions, recipe here, adapting it with some add-ins.)


  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • Sea salt + cracked black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


In two batches, pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until the pieces are about the size of rice grains. Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil, red onion, salt, and pepper. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet, coating it evenly in oil and onion chops. Add the lime zest and saute for 5 or 6 minutes, until the cauliflower begins to soften (you, after all, don’t want mushy rice). Add the cilantro and mix well.


Good news! This recipe is Whole30 compliant!

  • Read more about the Whole30 guidelines and my goals for the program here.
  • Follow my Whole30 board on Pinterest here.
  • For more pictures, check out my Instagram page here.


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