One of the things that I don’t love about living in New England is the tragic lack of great Mexican restaurants. I am a huge fan of Mexican food, I grew up in California (Mecca for good Mexican food) my father-in-law owns SIX Mexican restaurants, and when we lived out west Mexican was a frequent date night choice. And yet, it’s now nearly impossible for me to even locate green enchilada sauce at the grocery store out here, but that’s a complaint for a different post… Anyway, there’s this ah-mazing sweet pork salad that I literally get every single time I am back west, but since that only happens about once a year, this recipe is a really great alternative. In fact it’s actually kind of amazing, and every single person in my family is obsessed with it, even my pickier eaters.
top. pants. instant pot.
The first thing that you should know about this recipe is that I use an instant pot to cook the meat, and trust me when I say that you should too. In fact, if you are a mom and you don’t have an instant pot, stop what you are doing right now and go buy one. (Mine is on sale for $20 off!) I put off purchasing one for YEARS because the thought of pressure cooking intimidated the crap out of me. Then when we finally did get one, it sat on the counter for like 6 weeks before I had the guts to try it for the first time. And by "I" I mean, my husband, because honestly he was the one who finally cracked open the box and made some dang chicken. But holy moly, was that chicken the best chicken we had ever had and it was literally ready in minutes. Slow-cooker fall off the bone chicken in minutes!
It is life changing, so easy to use, easier than a crockpot to clean up and will change your entire life. I know that sounds like a bold claim, but I mean it. My instant pot has changed my life. Just for reference I cooked an entire 4 lb pork roast to slow-cooker pulled perfection in 60 minutes. 60 MINUTES. This would have taken a good 6-7 hours on high in the crock pot. Mamas: get yourself an instant pot!
Okay, now let’s talk about this salad, because it combines a few different recipes, (it’s a little high maintenance, but it’s worth it, plus you can double the recipes and rearrange them into sweet pork tacos or burritos later in the week.). And trust me, you will not be sick of it, it’s so good. You make your sweet pulled pork and mix it in the salad with black refried beans (I sauté 2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed in 2 tbs olive oil for 5-10 minutes, so good) , cilantro lime rice, salsa, sour cream, avocado, lettuce, shredded cheese, tortilla strips and top it off with the most scrumptious cilantro lime dressing. All combined you get this sweet/savory, fresh combination of flavors, your taste buds will literally be singing. This salad is also VERY filling, you will not be hungry after.
I will include all 3 recipes here: sweet pork, cilantro lime rice, and cilantro lime dressing, so it’s conveniently all in one place.
I like to start by getting the sweet pork going in the instant pot, and while it is cooking (about an hour) I put together the cilantro lime dressing, cilantro lime rice, and refried black beans. The rice and beans can be kept warm in the oven, and the dressing can set in the fridge. Then once the pork is done all I have to do is shred it really quick, add the sauce and the salad is ready to assemble.
I like to put all the fixings on the table and then everyone can build their own custom family. Bonus, it’s like a little Mexican salad bar and it’s quite fun!
Okay here we go! You can save each of these recipes to your computer to print or just pin this recipe for later!
Want another great Mexican recipe? Try my copycat Jimboys Tacos recipe!
Looking for a quick dinner? Try my super yummy grilled cheese sandwich recipe!