Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde + 15% off @FluentCity!

I’m breaking all the “Meatless Monday” rules today and offering up a gluten-free and Paleo...

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

I’m breaking all the “Meatless Monday” rules today and offering up a gluten-free and Paleo plate of meat.

In celebration of me starting Spanish classes this past Thursday at Fluent City in Manhattan, I’ve decided to combine Caribbean, Mexican and Spanish flavors into one dish!

Let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong with plantains, avocado and carnitas, right?

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

I spent 10 years learning French. Oui, oui, c’est vrais. (Yes, yes, that’s right).

Then I met Lu. Not only is he the love of my life and a tall glass of water, he is Hispanic. I’ve mentioned that before – his mother is Colombian, his father is Dominican and he was born in Puerto Rico. He lived there until he was about nine years old and then he moved to the beautiful state of New Jersey.

How we met is a story for another blog post. Long story short, his brother got married at Trump National Golf Club, where I used to work. The bride introduced us months later.

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Since becoming closer with Lu and his family, I’ve obviously gone to Puerto Rico a couple of times to visit his family (the sisters and mother still live there, but his brother lives in Hoboken, NJ).

During these visits, everyone speaks in Spanish. Everyone. Luckily, they also speak English, but when they’re all together, they’re obviously going to speak in their language – the language they can express themselves in most aptly.

I always feel bad when everyone’s having a conversation in Spanish and I walk up and they have to stop and switch to English. I feel bad because I feel disrespectful. Why shouldn’t I learn Spanish? If I want to spend time with Lu’s family and really show my love for him and his background, the thing to do is learn the language.

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Plus, I’m a nerd. I love learning. I was always a strong student and find it exciting to learn something totally new. It’s tough to come by that post-college. Luckily, my adventures in the kitchen and starting a company teach me something new every day.

All I have to say is, Lu, this better be the real deal, ya know what I mean? 😉

Enter Fluent City. They offer reasonably priced group language classes for adults on weeknights after work. They offer French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew and Japanese classes in New York City (Midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn), Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Fluent City Inspiralized

Actually, I took one of their courses in French in Brooklyn (to refresh my knowledge) last year and had a wonderful experience.

The class is right in Times Square on Thursdays, 7:30-9:30pm. So, if you’re trying to @ me on Twitter or Instagram during those hours, I won’t be responsive!

My first class was so much fun! The instructor breaks everything down in an easy and approachable manner. His name is Joan (with an accent mark on the o).

The instructor’s native tongue is Spanish, but he was born in Miami so he doesn’t have an accent, which helps with he’s translating.

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

After the class, I came home and told Lu everything I learned! He was very impressed, I think. We even woke up the next morning and I said, “Buenos dias!” (need that accent mark on the i!) He said some other stuff too, but I had no idea what it meant. We haven’t gotten that far in my class just yet.

Overall, it was an awesome first class – I learned the alphabet and pronunciation and although I struggled a bit with my French “accent” getting in the way, I think I’ll have it down by the end of the 10-week course.

15% Discount at Fluent City for Inspiralized Readers

For more information on Fluent City, visit their website. If you live in any of the cities they serve, I highly recommend their classes. PLUS, Fluent City is offering Inspiralized readers 15% off adult language classes! Check out all upcoming class schedules at and select the class that works best for your schedule.

Use the discount code INSPIRALIZED14 during checkout (be sure to click “apply promo code” to make sure the discount sticks!). Act fast – offer ends April 21, 2014!

Now, for the recipe. Well, it goes without saying that this should have your mouth watering from start to finish and after! Make sure to check out this tutorial on spiralizing plantains before you tackle the recipe.

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Note: Although Fluent City compensated me for this Spanish Level 1 course, all opinions are my own.


Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 44 minutes
Servings 3


  • For the pork:
  • 1 pound pork preferably shoulder, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste about 1/4 tsp
  • 3 tsp olive oil optional
  • For the rest:
  • 1/2 white onion chopped in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • For the rest:
  • 3 green plantains
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 avocados insides cubed
  • For the salsa verde:
  • 2 medium tomatillos leaves removed
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp diced jalapeno
  • 2 tbsp chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro


  • Place your pork in a bowl along with the oregano, cumin, chili powder and optional olive oil. Mix together to coat the pork pieces. When done, place them in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onions, bay leaves, lime juice, orange juice, and garlic cloves into the saucepan. Pour in enough water to cover the pork by 1". Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover loosely and cook for 20 minutes. Then, uncover and cook for another 20 minutes, giving a stir. If the liquid absorbs completely before the 40 minutes is up, add more water (about 1/2 cup at a time). When done, remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
  • While the pork mixture is cooking, spiralize your plantains. Then, place the noodles into a food processor and pulse briefly until made into rice-like bits. Set aside.
  • Place the tomatillos into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the tomatillos turn light green. Once done, pour into a colander. Then, place the tomatillos, lime juice, salt, jalapeno, onion and cilantro into a food processor and blend until a salsa. Taste and adjust to your preference with more salt, lime juice, etc. Set aside.
  • 10 minutes before your pork is done, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Then, add in the garlic. Let cook for 30 seconds and then add in the plantain rice. Stir and pour in half of the chicken broth. Stir and let plantain rice reduce. Once reduced, add in the remaining chicken broth and let reduce again. Taste and if the consistency is right, stir in the avocado and cook for three more minutes. If not, add in more chicken broth and continue to reduce. When done, divide onto three plates.
  • Top the plantain-avocado rice with the carnitas and then top each with salsa verde. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

How to spiralize a plantain:

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Carnitas and Avocado-Plantain Rice with Tomatillo Salsa Verde

with love, Ali

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Recipe Rating


  • It's weirding me out how much the pork looks like tempeh!
  • Mmmm, this looks like one big plate of serious deliciousness. And I love that you're learning Spanish... I took eight years of it and I think "buenos dias" may be the only thing I've retained. I'm thinking about getting back into learning it, though... this post has helped inspire me! :)
  • Well, as far as spanish or any language all I can say is that I had great success with (well, still in the process but having great success) with Rosetta Stone. I am actually going to finish one (spanish) and start on another (french). This dish looks amazing!! I cannot wait to give it a try.. another one for the recipe books. Its a keeper!!
    • A friend of mine has that, I'll have to use Rosetta Stone after this class to help! Thanks :)
  • Yum!
  • I think a tilde is actually the squiggly like that goes over consonants in Spanish, like over the second n in niño. But who cares, I'm SO making this; it looks delicious!
  • This is definitely a keeper. Made it last night and the boyfriend is crazy about this dish. We had some plantain rice leftovers and they were great the next morning as a side to eggs with extra of your tomatillos sauce. Thanks! You're awesome.
  • Okay, so I have made this before and it was so amazing, I'm coming back - this time I read your post more carefully - the part about learning French and Spanish. I would LOVE it if you took a look at the language learning platform I'm developing. It's called Linguistadores and basically it's a place where you maintain or improve your target language by making it a part of your daily life (rather than something to study). We do it by giving you a customized space of real, current news articles, music, and videos in that language. So instead of reading CNN, you'd read El País or Le Monde. Best part is that you can set your level and only get articles appropriate for you. (We also have cooking videos ;-) ) Anywho, I'm going to go immerse myself if your carnitas...I hope you'll take a look at my Linguistadores ;-) (french: - spanish: Enjoy!
  • I'd like to reduce the amount of hands on time for this. Do you think you could prepare the pork in a slow cooker / crockpot? I have a pork tenderloin on hand that I'll give this a try with. I'm also planning on using a clean pre-made salsa verde to help get this on the table even faster for my post-workout meal.