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Paleo Carnitas Bowl (Crispy Pulled Pork) (AIP, Paleo, Whole30)

3.85 from 20 votes

Once the cooler weather starts setting in, I’m looking for all the comforting bowls and recipes to make in my Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. Pulled Pork is one of my FAVES! Years and years ago, Carnitas was my favorite protein in my Chipotle burrito bowl that I’d get weekly for lunch at work. WOOF. Why that was delicious, it doesn’t really hold a candle to a homemade version. And I’m making a Paleo Carnitas bowl, so instead of white rice, we have quick and easy cauli rice, with cilantro and lime of course. Not to mention, I’m adding a side of baked tostones so that a healthy dollop of pineapple and mango guacamole has more ways to get in my BELLY! This bowl is a perfect comfort food. Make your carnitas ahead and store for limitless dishes like this bowl and tacos too! I’ve used just some cinnamon and clove instead of anything spicy, making these totally AIP-compliant.

Paleo Carnitas Bowl (Crispy Pulled Pork with Cauliflower Rice, Guac and Tostones) via Food by Mars


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I love making copy-cat style recipes at home. Living in NYC, I have access to some delicious and creative food, it was always a favorite highlight living here. However, being on the AIP diet limits me eating out so much, which is for the better – because I know what’s in my food. I’m bringing favorite flavors and putting my own spin on a burrito bowl, I invite you to do the same! Use your favorite foods as templates and expand on that.

My husband who normally doesn’t like cauliflower rice… DEVOURED this, he even snuck seconds of it. That was quite a proud moment indeed hahaha! I DARE you to serve this to anyone you live with, this is one meal everyone can enjoy.

Paleo Carnitas Bowl (Crispy Pulled Pork with Cauliflower Rice, Guac and Tostones) via Food by Mars


Paleo Carnitas Bowl (Crispy Pulled Pork with Cauliflower Rice, Guac and Tostones) via Food by Mars

Paleo Carnitas Bowl (AIP, Grain-free)

3.85 from 20 votes
Crispy pulled pork meets cilantro-lime cauli rice, tostones and heavenly guac for an epic bowl that's completely Paleo and AIP compliant! Everyone will love this cozy and flavorful dish.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes



  • 3 lbs pork butt
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt or finely ground sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Juice of one lime


  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
  • pinch of sea salt

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 3-4 chives (for garnish)



  • Mix all spices together in a bowl and set aside. Chop an onion in half, and then again (quarters), you’ll use two-quarters - set aside. Peel the garlic cloves and leave whole, set aside.
  • Prep the pork by cleaning and patting dry with a paper towel. If it’s not cut into pieces already from the butcher, cut it into approx. 4 pieces. Discard any excess fat but keep most intact for flavor. If there is a bone, you can either leave it or discard it, whichever is easier after you cut it. Once it’s done, it’ll slide off the bone anyway.
  • Place the pork pieces into your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker.
  • Pour the mixed spices over top and mix with your hands or tongs so that all pieces are well coated. Add in the water, juices from the citrus, onion and garlic cloves.
  • For the Instant Pot: Make sure the vent on the lid is set to: "Seal" and close the top. Select “Manual,” which will show 30 minutes of cooking time, and increase the time to 60 minutes. When the Instant Pot is done cooking, it will come down from pressure naturally, about 30 minutes (I do not recommend using quick release with this recipe). You'll know it's done with the silver piece near the vent has dropped.
  • For the Slow Cooker: Set on low for 8 hours.
  • When complete, use a large slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a foil-lined baking sheet. Use 2 forks to shred the meat (it will be very tender and shred easily).
  • Spoon some sauce from the pot over top and then broil for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and it’s ready to serve!


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350f degrees. Cut the edges of each plantain off and discard, slice the skin with a knife just enough so you can peel off the skin.
  • Cut the plantain into 2-inch chunks and toss in a bowl with 1/2 Tbsp of coconut oil. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and CAREFULLY and remove each chunk of plantain, they should be fairly soft. Using either a Tostones press, tortilla press or cutting board and a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron works well), you'll add a little bit of parchment paper on the top and bottom of your plantain chunk. Press down firmly to flatten the plantain. Repeat for all pieces.
  • Add the flattened tostones back onto the baking sheet and add the rest of the coconut oil, tossing it around for coverage. Broil for 10 minutes or so until the color is more golden (don't burn them!). Remove and serve!

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • Cut the head of cauliflower into florets and add florets to a food processor. Process until the cauliflower is "riced" and add to a bowl, set aside.
  • Heat a skillet with coconut oil over medium heat. Once ready, add the riced cauliflower. Stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes while it softens.
  • Next, add chopped cilantro, I grabbed a handful of the leaves (not stems) and chopped roughly. Throw that in with the cauliflower and continue to mix. Season with a pinch of sea salt. After a few more minutes of this, the rice will be soft. Turn off the heat and squeeze lime juice from one lime over top and serve when ready!


For my pineapple guacamole recipe, click here >> (I also added some mangos!)
or simply garnish with avocado slices
Garnish with lime wedges, chives and cilantro.
Diet: Latino, Mexican
Course: Main Course

Paleo Carnitas Bowl (Crispy Pulled Pork with Cauliflower Rice, Guac and Tostones) via Food by Mars


Hope you enjoy!
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-Alison Marras
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  1. How could I make this with a 6 lb bone in pork butt, and leave out the onions and garlic?  My MIL whom I will be serving it to can’t do garlic or onions?

    • Are you using an Instant Pot? What size? You could cut it in half (or thirds) and if all pieces fit in, go for it, I’d add more time… maybe 75 minutes and follow directions. Just omit the onions and garlic and use your seasonings of choice.

  2. My husband isn’t able to eat pork – but this recipe looks delicious! How would you suggest adjusting the cooking time for chicken breast? Thank you!

    • Hi Kelly! Oh no worries there, I’d suggest doing a skin-on breast and thighs, that way they’re moist and you can remove the skin after and pull the chicken in the same way.

  3. This was absolutely amazing! Definitely my favorite AIP meal so far! Thank you so much for creating this!

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