Marisa's Carnitas & Kale Salad

Marisa's Carnitas and Kale Salad

My sister-in-law, Marisa, is the creative behind this delicious slow cooker Carnitas and Kale Salad. Marisa was a branding and marketing exec who took time off from corporate to raise her boys. After falling in love with Pilates postpartum, she tapped back into her natural leadership giftings by becoming an instructor. Now, she teaches others to love their bodies through her newfound passion. I’m here for her body-loving example and the delicious carnitas!

Pork can sometimes get a bad rap, but here’s the deal with almost any meat. It’s not so much the cut, but the quality of the meat that makes it “healthy” or “not.” So here’s what I’m always asking…What’s the source? For pork, I opt for hogs that are pasture raised and given no antibiotics or hormones. Ideally, they’re allowed to graze freely and supplemented with GMO-free, soy-free, corn-free feed.

I also want to point out that it’s important to purchase organic herbs and spices whenever possible. This is because conventional seasonings can be higher in pesticides and chemical residue. Organic spices are typically higher in phytonutrient content as well. I purchase mine through Thrive Market (along with most of my other healthy pantry staples!).

Now back to the amazing Carnitas and Kale Salad. I like to eat these as detailed for a hearty salad meal, or I serve the salad and carnitas with all the fixings over a grain free tortilla like Siete. Either way, this dish feels special and gourmet while actually requiring little leg work. Oh, the beauty of slow cooker meals!

It’s a complete blood sugar balancing Fab Four meal, including protein, fat, fiber, and greens:

  • Protein: pork roast
  • Fat: avocado (or olive) oil
  • Fiber: avocado
  • Greens: kale

If you want more delicious blood sugar balancing recipes for real life, check out my blog. Here are a few of my faves for feeding family:

And if you want to learn more about how to harness the power of The Fab Four to feel your best, look your best, and enjoy your best health, then check out my video courses and best-selling books!
  • Prep Time

    10 minutes

  • Total Time

    4 hours 20 minutes

  • Servings


  • Freezer Friendly




  • 1 (2-pound) pork roast (or use 2 pounds chicken breast)
  • 1 tablespoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water (My favorite broths are either FOND - use code BEWELLBYKELLY, or Kettle and Fire)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ white or yellow onion sliced
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

Cilantro-Pepita Dressing:

  • 1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 3 tablespoons pepitas
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons cotija cheese (optional; avoid if dairy-free)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Leaves from ½ bunch fresh cilantro (no stems)
  • ¼ cup cold filtered water

Pickled Onions:

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced


  • 8 to 10 cups chopped, stemmed kale (or romaine)
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
  • ½ cup roasted pepitas
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese (optional)


  1. To make the carnitas, season the pork roast with the salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Set it in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear it until brown on all sides.
  2. Place in a slow cooker (fat side up) with the chicken broth, bay leaves, and onion. Cook on Low for 8 hours, until it’s completely tender and shreds easily with a fork. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred on a cutting board. If you like the pork juicier, use a large spoon and dress the pork with drippings from the slow cooker, to your desired amount.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the cilantro-pepita dressing, place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until the consistency is similar to pesto.
  4. When the pork has finished slow-cooking, heat the avocado oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the pork and pan-fry to give it a crispy carnitas texture.
  5. To make the pickled onions, in a medium bowl, whisk the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt together until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  6. Place the onion in a mason jar and pour the vinegar mixture on top. Secure the lid and let the jar rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  7. To assemble the salad, in a large serving bowl, toss the chopped kale and dressing.
  8. Top with the carnitas, avocados, pickled onions, pepitas, and, if desired, cotija cheese.