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Free From Gluten – Carnitas Tostadas with Avocado Crema

In all honesty, Mexican cuisine is a great option for us gluten-free folks. Corn tortillas are often made without gluten and are the perfect vessel for meat, cheese, salsa, and toppings. Instead of making the same old taco recipe, try these homemade Carnitas Tostadas with Avocado Crema!

What are Tostadas?

You may have seen tostadas on the menu of your favorite taco joint. They are a popular dish in North and Central America that consists of a crispy tortilla shell on the bottom, meat, beans, or cheese on top, followed by toppings. Toppings often include salsa, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, cabbage, cilantro, or slaw.

Tostadas are not only delicious, but they are fun to eat! It’s a great spin on Taco Tuesday and you can fill them with whatever meat you like. In this recipe, juicy marinated pork carnitas top the crispy gluten-free shell.

Why Carnitas in These Tostadas?

You can of course use any gluten-free meat recipe you want on top of your tostadas. This carnitas recipe is simple, flavorful, and slightly unconventional. While traditional carnitas take hours to prepare, this recipe uses chopped pork chops for a marinated quick-cook version. 

The chopped pork chops are pan-fried after marinating in their delicious, flavorful marinade for at least 4 hours. They only take 10-12 minutes to cook as opposed to 4 hours for classic carnitas. Once you make it this way, you’ll never slow-cook carnitas again!

Ingredients in Carnitas Tostadas with Avocado Crema

There are only a few simple ingredients that you will need for this recipe. Many are pantry staples that you can find in your pantry.

For the Carnitas, you will need:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless pork chops, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh pineapple, with any juices that accumulate
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Tostadas, you will need:

For the Avocado Crema, you will need:

  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • ½ avocado, pitted and skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 5-6 cilantro sprigs, stems and leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Toppings:

  • Sliced red cabbage
  • Chihuahua cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • (Or any toppings of your choice)

How to Make Carnitas Tostadas with Avocado Crema

  1. Begin by marinating the meat. Chop your boneless pork chops until you have small pieces, about pea-sized. This will allow the marinade to penetrate the meat very well. Add them to a large bowl.
  2. Add all the rest of the carnitas ingredients into the bowl and mix very well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, as long as 48 hours.
  1. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lay out your tortillas on a baking sheet. Spray both sides with olive oil spray.
  1. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Flip the tortillas carefully and place them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set them aside.
  2. Next, make the Avocado Crema. Add all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You want a thin, runny consistency so add a little water if needed for a pourable sauce.
  1. Finally, brown the carnitas. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the pork. Allow it to sizzle and brown for 8-10 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary. You want deep caramelization on the meat for optimal texture. The meat will sizzle at first, then start to steam in its juices. Once the water evaporates, after 4-5 minutes, the meat will begin to brown deeply. Keep an eye on it and do not walk away during this process.
  2. Once the meat is browned, remove it from the heat. You may need to skim off any excess oil from cooking.
  3. When you are ready to assemble, spoon about ⅛-¼ cup of meat onto each tostada. Top with cheese, red cabbage, crema, and cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges.
Tostadas on a Wooden Board with Toppings

Carnitas Tostadas with Avocado Crema

Tracy Nawara
Crispy and flavorful, these gluten-free tostadas feature browned, marinated carnitas atop a crisp corn tortilla, served with a homemade, tangy avocado crema that is out of this world!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican

Ingredients
  

For the Carnitas:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, (about 1 small orange)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple, plus any juices that accumulate
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Tostadas:

  • 4-6 gluten-free corn tortillas
  • Olive oil cooking spray

For the Avocado Crema:

  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted and skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 5-6 cilantro sprigs, stems and leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Toppings:

  • Sliced red cabbage
  • Chihuahua cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Any additional toppings of your choice

Instructions
 

  • Begin by marinating the meat. Chop your boneless pork chops until you have small pieces, about pea-sized. This will allow the marinade to penetrate the meat very well. Add them to a large bowl.
  • Add all the rest of the carnitas ingredients into the bowl and mix very well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, as long as 48 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lay out your tortillas on a baking sheet. Spray both sides with olive oil spray.
  • Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Flip the tortillas carefully and place them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set them aside.
  • Next, make the Avocado Crema. Add all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You want a thin, runny consistency so add a little water if needed for a pourable sauce.
  • Finally, brown the carnitas. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the pork. Allow it to sizzle and brown for 8-10 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary. You want deep caramelization on the meat for optimal texture. The meat will sizzle at first, then start to steam in its juices.
  • Once the moisture evaporates, after 4-5 minutes, the meat will begin to brown deeply. Keep an eye on it and do not walk away during this process.
  • Once the meat is browned, remove it from the heat. You may need to skim off some excess oil from the cooking process.
  • When you are ready to assemble, spoon about ⅛-¼ cup of meat onto each tostada. Top with cheese, red cabbage, crema, and cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges.
Keyword Carnitas Tostadas with Avocado Crema, Gluten-free
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Tracy is our recipe editor. She thinks of creative gluten-free recipes in her kitchen and shares them with us here.

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