Are you a fan of the mouth-watering Mexican dish, pork carnitas?
If so, you know that the tender and flavorful pork is only half of the equation. The perfect side dishes can take your carnitas to the next level, creating a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to decide what to serve alongside your carnitas. That’s where we come in.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular and delicious side dishes to pair with pork carnitas. From classic Mexican staples to unique and unexpected choices, we’ve got you covered.
So grab a seat and get ready to discover the perfect accompaniments for your next pork carnitas feast.
What Goes With Pork Carnitas?
When it comes to pairing side dishes with pork carnitas, there are a few classic options that never disappoint. One of the most popular choices is rice and beans. The combination of fluffy rice and savory beans perfectly complements the rich and flavorful pork. You can also add some extra toppings like diced tomatoes, avocado slices, or salsa for an added burst of flavor.
Another classic option is to serve your carnitas with freshly made corn tortillas. Warm them up on a skillet or in the oven and serve them alongside your pork for a traditional and delicious meal. You can also add some toppings like cilantro, diced onions, or lime wedges to make your tacos even more flavorful.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try serving your carnitas with a side of grilled vegetables. Sautéed peppers and onions, roasted sweet potatoes, or steamed broccoli all pair perfectly with the rich and savory pork. You can also try adding some fresh herbs or spices to your vegetables for an extra burst of flavor.
For those who love a little heat, spicy salsas or hot sauces are the perfect accompaniment to pork carnitas. Whether you prefer a classic tomato-based salsa or something more unique like pineapple pico de gallo, adding a little bit of spice to your meal can take it to the next level.
Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing your carnitas with some unexpected side dishes. Elote fritters, watermelon feta salad, or poblano mac and cheese are all unique and delicious options that will surprise and delight your taste buds.
Classic Mexican Side Dishes For Pork Carnitas
When it comes to classic Mexican side dishes for pork carnitas, there are a few options that are sure to satisfy. One popular choice is Mexican street corn, also known as elote. This dish features grilled corn on the cob that is slathered in a mixture of mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice. The result is a sweet and savory flavor that perfectly complements the rich and tender pork.
Another classic option is black beans and rice. This simple and hearty dish is a staple in Mexican cuisine and pairs perfectly with pork carnitas. The rice is typically cooked with onions, garlic, and spices like cumin and chili powder, while the black beans are seasoned with cilantro and lime juice for a bright and fresh flavor.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, try a refreshing cucumber and tomato salad. This dish is made with sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice for a zesty and refreshing flavor. The crisp vegetables provide a nice contrast to the tender pork.
For those who love a little spice, salsa verde is the perfect side dish for pork carnitas. This tangy and spicy sauce is made with tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, and cilantro for a bright and flavorful condiment that pairs perfectly with the rich pork.
Finally, guacamole is always a crowd-pleaser when it comes to Mexican cuisine. Made with ripe avocados, lime juice, cilantro, and diced tomatoes and onions, this creamy dip adds a cool and refreshing contrast to the savory pork carnitas. Serve it alongside some warm tortilla chips for a perfect appetizer or side dish.
Creative And Unconventional Sides To Try With Pork Carnitas
While classic sides like rice and beans or corn tortillas are always a safe bet, why not try something a little more unconventional with your pork carnitas? Here are some creative and unique side dish ideas to try:
1. Grilled Pineapple: Grilling pineapple slices brings out their natural sweetness and adds a smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the savory pork. Cut the pineapple into rings and grill until caramelized, then serve alongside your carnitas.
2. Cucumber Salad: A refreshing cucumber salad is the perfect contrast to rich and savory pork carnitas. Toss sliced cucumbers with red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of honey for a light and flavorful side dish.
3. Sweet Potato Fries: Swap out traditional french fries for sweet potato fries for a healthier and more flavorful option. The natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes pairs well with the savory pork, and a sprinkle of chili powder adds a touch of heat.
4. Charred Corn: Charred corn is a delicious and easy side dish that pairs perfectly with pork carnitas. Grill or roast fresh corn until charred and tender, then toss with lime juice, cotija cheese, and cilantro.
5. Jicama Slaw: Jicama is a crunchy root vegetable that adds a refreshing crunch to any dish. Combine shredded jicama with red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of honey for a unique and flavorful slaw that pairs perfectly with pork carnitas.
Try one (or all!) of these unconventional sides with your next batch of pork carnitas for a meal that’s sure to impress.
Vegetarian And Gluten-Free Options For Pairing With Pork Carnitas
For those who are vegetarian or gluten-free, there are still plenty of options for pairing with pork carnitas. One great option is to substitute the pork with jackfruit, which has a similar texture and flavor to pulled pork. You can also try using mushrooms or tofu as a meat substitute in your carnitas.
To keep your meal gluten-free, try serving your carnitas with corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. You can also opt for a side of quinoa or cauliflower rice instead of traditional rice.
For a fresh and healthy option, try serving your carnitas with a side of Mexican coleslaw. Made with cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing, this dish is both flavorful and nutritious. You can also add some avocado or black beans for an extra boost of protein.
Another great vegetarian option is to serve your carnitas with a side of roasted vegetables. Roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini all pair well with the rich and savory pork. You can also add some spices like cumin or chili powder for an added kick of flavor.
Beverage Pairings To Complement Your Pork Carnitas Meal
When it comes to beverage pairings for your pork carnitas meal, there are a variety of options that can complement the rich and savory flavors of the pork. One classic choice is to pair your carnitas with a nice cold beer. A crisp lager or pilsner can provide a light and refreshing accompaniment, while an amber ale or IPA can provide a heartier balance to the dish. For those who prefer something sweeter, a pale ale or wheat beer can be a great choice.
If you’re more of a wine person, there are also plenty of options to choose from. For a red wine pairing, try a bold and hearty Shiraz or Pinot Noir to complement the slow-cooked meat. If you prefer white wine, a fruity and light option like Riesling or White Rhone Blend can be a great choice to balance out the flavors of the dish.
For those who prefer non-alcoholic options, there are still plenty of choices to consider. A refreshing sparkling water with a hint of lime can provide a light and crisp accompaniment to the meal. You can also try adding some vegetable juices or cranberry juice for an added burst of flavor.
Ultimately, the best beverage pairing for your pork carnitas meal is one that you enjoy and complements the flavors of the dish. Whether you prefer beer, wine, or non-alcoholic options, there are plenty of choices to consider when pairing your favorite drink with this classic Mexican dish.
Tips For Serving And Enjoying Pork Carnitas With Sides.
1. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different side dishes to find your perfect combination. Experiment with different flavors and textures to find what works best for you.
2. Keep in mind that pork carnitas are a rich and flavorful dish, so it’s important to choose sides that complement rather than overpower the pork. Simple and fresh sides like salads or grilled vegetables are great options.
3. Consider adding some extra toppings like diced tomatoes, avocado slices, or salsa to your pork carnitas to add an extra burst of flavor.
4. When serving your pork carnitas with tortillas, make sure to warm them up on a skillet or in the oven before serving. This will help them become soft and pliable for easy wrapping.
5. If you’re serving your pork carnitas as a main course, make sure to offer a variety of sides to create a complete meal. Rice and beans, grilled vegetables, and fresh salads are all great options.
6. Don’t forget about the importance of presentation! Serving your pork carnitas and sides on colorful plates or in decorative bowls can make your meal feel more special and enjoyable.