Carnitas Lunch Bowls (Meal Prep) are the perfect way to way to prep for the week with these healthy lunch bowls! Healthy, high protein and so nutritious!
The only thing more stressful than planning dinner for the week, is figuring out what you are taking for lunch for the week. Seriously!! Why is this so hard?
Every week I start off with the best of intentions and tell myself that I am taking salads all week long for my mid-day lunch break and usually by … um… Tuesday… I am over the salads and heading to my favorite fast food destination for a quick carb filled, fat filled lunch. Yes, I feel guilty.. No, that doesnt seem to change the pattern.
Not. At. All.
So now enter the back up plan of bringing delicious, microwavable leftovers in the next day for lunch. How can THIS plan go wrong?? I will tell you how it can go wrong… when you have two people who are both trying to eat smarter and healthier with smaller sized portions, there are NO leftovers. Plan B #fail.
Instead of subjecting your taste buds to endless amounts of rabbit food or starve to death (yes, this DOES happen by 11:56 am in an office cubicle setting) due to lack of leftovers, why not make a plan, spend a little time on meal prep Sunday afternoon and have a nutritious, healthy lunch waiting for you each and every day of the week? Win, win and WIN!!!
These Carnitas Lunch Bowls (Meal Prep) are the perfect lunchtime meal and you can customize them anyway you please. This recipe is my favorite way to make them up but if there is an ingredient you would rather substitute, go for it! You can also make these with chicken, pulled pork or even meatless, if you choose.
For this version of Carnitas Lunch Bowls (Meal Prep), I am relying on my favorite recipe for Mexican Pork Carnitas. It takes a little time in your oven but the rewards are worth it. Juicy, succulent and oh so tasty, this is my go-to recipe when I am craving carnitas. Then all you have left to do is boil off some brown rice, open a few cans of beans and corn and chop up a bit of veg and you are in business.
*Note.. I usually add my cheese and cilantro to my lunch bowl right before I eat it.. I keeps them fresh.
Happiness and Blessings!
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Carnitas Lunch Bowls (Meal Prep)
- 5 lb boneless pork butt
- 2 large oranges , quartered
- 6 large garlic cloves , smashed
- 2 tbl canola oil + 1/4 cup canola oil
- Spice Rub
- 1 tbl salt
- 1 tbl dried oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp red pepper powder (cayenne)
- 1 tsp chipotle pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Remaining Ingredients
- 15 oz can black beans , rinsed and drained
- 15 oz can corn , drained
- 32 oz chicken broth
- 3 cups instant brown rice
- 1 large avocado
- 8 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 large red onion , diced
- 1 small carton cherry or grape tomatoes , quartered
- 2 limes , quartered (for squeezing)
- 4 tbl cilantro , diced
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
- Start with a 5lb boneless pork butt.
- Remove the excess layer of fat from your pork butt.
- Slice your pork butt into large, thick slices and then then cut your slices into large chunks.
- Pour 2 tbl canola oil over the meat and using your hands, rub all of the meat together to ensure that all sides of each piece has been coated in the oil.
- Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, oregano, cumin, chili powder, pepper and chipotle powder together.
- In batches, pour over your meat chunks and rub together until all of the seasoning has been rubbed over each side of each chunk.
- Smash each piece of garlic with the back of your knife to release the garlic from it's paper exterior.
- Do not chop up the garlic clove but so make sure it has a nice 'smash' to it.
- Mix in the garlic pieces with the meat.
- Cut up two oranges into large pieces and place in a casserole cooking container that will be just big enough to hold all of the ingredients.
- Pour the meat / garlic over the oranges and arrange everything to fit nicely and then press down gently to compact the meat and oranges together.
- Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup canola oil on top of the meat and then cover your dish tightly with foil.
- Cook in your oven at 250 degrees for two hours. After two hours, increase the heat to 275 degrees for the next hour and a half.
- Remove your carnitas from the oven and check for doneness.
- Remove the meat to a large cutting board. Using two forks, shred the meat and remove any lingering fat pieces from the meat.
- Set your oven to broil.
- Pour out the oranges and most of the juices left from the cooking process.
- Return the meat to the casserole dish and move your oven rack up to just under the broiler. When your broiler is red hot and ready, slide the carnitas under the broiler and babysit the process.
- The edges will start to darken and get crispy.
- Once a nice char has been achieved, remove the meat, stir the meat and then return it to the broiler one last time. This whole process should only take a couple of minutes.
- Bring chicken broth to boil in large saucepan and add in brown rice. Stir, cover and remove from the heat. Let sit approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Separate all other prepared (already diced, rinsed, etc) ingredients into their own space and when rice and carnitas are done, assemble your lunch containers with a little of each ingredient into each container.
- Refrigerate and take one each day for lunch.
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
Planning the lunch and dinner is the hardest job ever. I can cook anything, but I need help to let me know what I need to cook. A little bit of pre-planning goes a long way and who would not want this wonderful bowl for lunch.
Hanady @ Recipe Nomad says
What a great idea! There’s so much healthy protein and vegetables in here! These bowls would keep me full all day too!
Kylee from Kylee Cooks says
I meal prep ahead, but I have to say I don’t do it nearly as fabulously as you do! This bowl I’d be delighted to open and devour at lunch time!
Olivia @ Olivia's Cuisine says
My husband would love me forever if I made these for him to bring to work. Ever since I got pregnant, my life got upside down and I have no energy to plan. However, this sounds easy enough that it must happen soon! 🙂
Noel Lizotte says
Lovely way to mix up the salad routine and stay healthy! The colors are so appealing…I’m thinking I wish my fork would transmit through the screen so I could snatch a taste!
This is a terrific lunch idea. My life is so much easier when I do a little planning and put the lunches together ahead of time for hubby and me. We love carnitas.
Adriana Lopez Martn says
You are talking my language, I heart carnitas! Lovely idea and yoru pics are mouthwatering too!
Christine McMichael says
I’m ALL about meal prep! And since I absolutely love carnitas, these lunch bowls are right up my alley. 🙂 Can’t wait to try them out!
Jennifer A Stewart says
I am so like you that when lunch comes around I am already searching for a place to eat. My favorite is a fresh mex place that has amazing burrito bowls and quesadillas with sauteed spinach and red onions! Their salsa is also off the chain! Doesn’t help that there is an APP to order from which makes it oh so easy to grab and go. I had some leftover salad containers from a catering job I did recently so I prepped some “to-go” salads last week complete with cups of dressing! It was like eating out and I know it was healthier than my usual. I have a fresh batch of carnitas in my fridge but never thought of making my own “burrito” or protein bowls! Guess what is going in my salad containers next week!! THESE!
This is such a creative idea to make these into lunch bowls. I always used to just make sure I saved leftovers from dinner to pack for my lunch. Never was this creative 🙂
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
This would certainly satisfy my appetite. This recipe is very versatile and I really like the ingredients you’ve used. I believe using meat helps in the lunch satisfaction. I’ve noticed if I just have a salad with a little of this and a little of that — well, I don’t feel as if I ate. This would not be the case with your lunch bowl. Thank you for the inspiration.
Julie | Bunsen Burner Bakery says
Healthy lunches and meal prep are always so challenging. Love how easy this is to make on the weekend and pack for the whole week!
This is wonderful. I have so much trouble trying to find different ideas for my husband’s lunch. This is something he would enjoy and could easily be prepared in advance.
Byron Thomas says
If I could make lunch look like this everyday, I wouldn’t mind brown-bagging my everyday work week lunch. Seriously, Heather, these lunch bowls look absolutely divine.
Molly Kumar says
I’m all about bowl meals these days – so easy to put together and spot on flavors. I’m loving your carnitas bowl, they look so delicious with all those veggies + meat. Going to try them soon.
Veena Azmanov says
Now that looks like one bowl of wholesome goodness.! I love the combination and the colors you have going. I don’t go to work because I work from home but I still do need this….. cause I’m a workaholic I can starve myself by choice..
Kathy McDaniel says
I am a huge fan of carnitas! I love them. This bowl is perfect. I love all the great healthy veggiesand the beautiful colors. Great for lunch and dinner (and let’s be honest _ I would not mind having this for breakfast or brunch!)