Recipes

Triathlete Challenge Recipe: Pork Verde, Two Ways—Tacos + Taco Salad

Professional triathlete, foodie, and amateur chef Linsey Corbin shares one of her go-to recipes for fueling.

We’re thrilled to welcome Linsey Corbin as our recipe contributor for this month’s Triathlete Challenge. In addition to being the American Ironman record holder, Corbin is a foodie and amateur chef. She’s agreed to share some of her favorite recipes and tips from her food site, Hazel & Blue. This week, she’s sharing her recipe for pork verde, two ways. Check out last week’s recipe here. All images by Corbin Brands.

 Pork Verde
On the first night Corbin uses the poke verde in tacos. Photo: Corbin Brands

Inspiration for this Pork Verde:

Right off the bat, I have to sell you on this meal, as you essentially get two meals in one! What’s not to love about that? You can have tacos on night one, a giant taco salad on night two, and—if the stars align—throw an egg on top for meal three and you are set. Perfection! 

Don’t be intimidated by cooking a large piece of pork. It’s okay, I was intimidated by it myself at first. Pork is super easy to cook, and honestly, pretty hard to mess up when you cook it this way. Braising pork (or chicken) is so easy—you honestly throw it in the pot and return a few hours later and dinner is basically ready. Did I mention that I also love leftovers?

Everyone loves tacos and my opinion is that you can never go wrong with a taco salad—it’s chock full of veggies, easy to throw together with what you have on hand, and as a hungry athlete you can fill a bowl to the brim and feel satisfied about a healthy meal. Watch out Chipotle!

Good luck, enjoy, and happy, healthy eating, everyone! 

Pork Verde Ingredients:

Serves 6

Salsa verde:

2 pounds tomatillos, peeled and halved
4 poblano peppers, seeded and halved lengthwise
3 jalapeños, seeded and halved lengthwise
½ yellow onion
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 4-oz cans diced green chiles
2 cups cilantro with stems
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 ½ tablespoons kosher sea salt, plus more for seasoning pork

Pork:

2 tablespoon olive oil
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into three-inch pieces

Pork Verde Instructions:

To make the salsa verde:

Turn broiler to high and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place tomatillos, peppers, jalapeños, onion, and garlic face down on the sheet broil until they start to blister and char in places, 5-8 minutes. Place the blistered peppers and jalapeños in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel to steam for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile put the tomatillos and their juices, onion, peeled garlic, green chiles, cilantro and spices in a blender along with the cilantro. Set aside.

Once the peppers have steamed a bit, their skins should peel or slip off quite easily. Add peeled peppers and jalapeños to the blender, and blend until well combined. Season with 1 ½ tablespoons of salt. You should have about 4.5 cups of salsa verde. 

Athlete-Friendly Shortcut

If you’re not up for the challenge of making your own salsa verde, you can purchase store bought green salsa, but check out the label. Look for no sugar and no added “mystery” ingredients. You’ll need approximately 1 cup of salsa to one pound of meat.

To make the pork verde:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Season the pork well with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Cook without moving until the pork takes on a nice brown crust, about 4 minutes, and then turn to brown the other sides. Remove the pork and drain off any fat that remains in the pan. Turn the heat to low and pour the salsa verde into the pot, scraping up all of the delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the pork back to the pot, stir to coat, and cover with a lid. Braise in the oven for about 2 hours until the pork is so tender that it easily shreds with a fork.

Remove pork from the salsa verde and shred with two forks before adding it back to the pot. Stir once more to coat and serve in enchiladas, tacos, with eggs, or on salad.

 Pork Verde
The ultimate taco salad can be healthy and filling. Photo: Corbin Brands

Assembling the ultimate taco-salad bowl:

Start with a base of mixed greens, salad greens, spinach or combo of them all.

Veggie topping options:

Cabbage slaw
Sliced cabbage
Sliced radishes
Diced tomatoes
Diced mango or pineapple (okay, not a veggie, but a great addition!)
Sliced avocado
Diced onions (these can also be roasted beforehand)
Bell peppers (these can also be roasted beforehand)

Add for flavor:

Salsa
Guacamole
Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
Grated cheese

Garnishes:

Cilantro
Jalapeno
Squeeze of fresh lime
Pepitas or pumpkin seeds

The secrets to a healthy and athlete friendly taco salad bowl:

  • Please don’t feel glued to the ingredient list above—add something fun or subtract whatever, and know that these are just ideas. Have fun and get creative with this meal.
  • I love spicy foods and fresh flavors. I don’t use a dressing for this dish as I use plenty of salsa and a squeeze of lime, but you could definitely add dressing if you wanted.
  • Crunchy veggies such as cabbage and radishes make great additions.
  • To keep this on the healthy side, I skip the sour cream, easy on the cheese and load it up with healthy fats (sliced avocado or guacamole).