This stovetop healthy chicken carnitas recipe guarantees a quick and flavorful weeknight meal. It’s a caramelized chicken dish with fresh vegetables that comes together in a flash.
Life always seems like a balancing act; trying to complete daily necessities as well as trying to keep healthy. As nine-to-five people, we completely get the struggle of striving for healthy long-term goals when there’s so much to do!
Sometimes, shopping for enough ingredients for the whole week seems to be challenging enough. Sometimes you don’t want to cook or wonder what to cook.
As a matter of fact, the question of a nutritious and convenient meal isn’t that hard to solve. Keep scrolling down for some inspiration.
What Is Carnitas?
Originating in Michoacán, Mexico, carnitas is traditionally made by cooking pork meat in its own fat or the cooking liquid. Then adding seasonings that caramelize when on heat so the meat can reach a perfect tender texture and beautiful taste.
In Romanian, the word “carnitas” means “meat pieces”.
In Mexico, most of the multi-indigenous languages are derived from Latin (including Romanian). Therefore, it is no surprise that chicken carnitas recipe also accrues a Latin term.
In actuality, it doesn’t always have to be pork. You can still braise boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs and call it chicken carnitas.
Is Chicken Carnitas Healthy?
Our chicken carnitas recipe is packed with clean and natural ingredients. This includes chicken thighs, rice, black beans, sweet corn, baby tomatoes, and Greek yogurt.
For that reason, these crispy tender chicken carnitas are super fresh and clean. We believe it’ll make an ideal choice to satisfy your taste buds during dieting days without going off the track.
How Many Calories in Chicken Carnitas?
This chicken carnitas recipe is made as a main dish and provides 494 calories per serving. Enjoy it together with a portion of guacamole for a complete meal.
How to Make Carnitas
Step 1: Marinate the chicken
Marinate the chicken thighs with paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, salt, white wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to combine. Let the chicken sit for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Sear the chicken
On a cast-iron skillet, sear the chicken in 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Spend 10 minutes for each side.
Step 3: Slice the chicken
Remove from heat and transfer the chicken onto a cutting board. Let it cool down for 5 minutes, then slice it into thick strips.
Step 4: Assemble the chicken
Assemble the chicken strips on a large plate (or a shallow skillet) together with hot cooked rice, black beans, sweet corn, baby tomatoes, and Greek yogurt.
Step 5: Serve
Sprinkle chopped jalapeño on top and serve immediately.
How Long Do You Cook Chicken Carnitas?
This chicken carnitas recipe is a prep-friendly dish without exotic ingredients. 35 minutes of cooking time on the stovetop is all you need to make this delicious meal.
We also leave about half an hour to let the chicken rest in the marinade. However, you need not follow this time amount precisely.
If you’re in a rush and your meal can wait no more, it’s okay to cut down the marinating time. Make it 10 minutes rest for the chicken pieces and you’ll be good.
What Goes with Chicken Carnitas?
Besides good dashes of Latin spices, chicken carnitas goes fabulously well with classic Mexican food. These crispy chicken shreds also work as a nice way to add protein to your salads.
Tacos can be made all the more easily with chicken carnitas.
These tender juicy meat strips with browned edges make a perfect pair with crispy taco shells. Add it to almond flour tortillas if you’re looking for a healthier version of tacos.
Another rolled dish with chicken filling that’s pretty identical to tacos is chicken taquitos. Be sure to pay it a visit if fried chicken enclosed within tortillas appeals to you.
Aside from eating chicken carnitas in tacos, you can also pile it up on nachos. We highly recommend topping it with Chipotle sauce, chimichurri sauce, or Parmesan cheese to make this combination extra tasty.
Steaming rice takes little effort, as the cooker does most of the work. Season the rice a little and it’ll make a combination that’s as interesting as others.
If you’re afraid of piling the carbs too high, simply go for a cauliflower rice bowl instead.
How Long Does Chicken Carnitas Last in the Fridge?
If stored in an airtight container and put into the fridge, chicken carnitas can stay good for three days. To extend this period to three months, simply transfer the sealed chicken carnitas to the freezer.
Reheating will take no more than 15 minutes on the stovetop over medium heat.
What to Serve with Chicken Carnitas?
Chicken carnitas is an easy and delicious dish that takes only a few minutes to assemble.
Chicken is crisped up with Mexican spices on the skillet to create savory browned meat shreds. A combination of vegetables and a nice bowl of guacamole are then put together as complementary side dishes.
Below are the nutrition values for this meal. Now, enough talking, time to go into action!
Healthy Chicken Carnitas Recipe
- 16 oz skinless boneless chicken thigh
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 3 cup cooked medium-grain rice equals to 1 cup uncooked
- 4 oz canned black beans
- 4 oz sweet corn
- 4 oz baby tomatoes chopped in half
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 oz jalapeno chopped
- Side together with guacamole in one plate.
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- Marinate the chicken thighs with paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, salt, white wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to combine.
- Let the chicken sit for 30 minutes.
- On a cast-iron skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs in.
- Fry the first side of the chicken for 10 minutes, and the second side for 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Transfer the fried chicken thighs onto a cutting board, let them cool down for 5 minutes.
- Slice the fried chicken meat in thick strips.
- Assemble the chicken strips on a large plate (can also put them on a shallow skillet if you don’t have any plate large enough) together with hot cooked rice, black beans, sweet corn, baby tomatoes, and Greek yogurt.
- Add guacamole together onto the plate to side along.
- Sprinkle chopped jalapeno on top. Serve immediately.
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