Sweet Pork Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Good Wednesday morning!

So, this is what we decided to have for our Mother’s Day Lunch at my sister’s Sunday afternoon. I was in charge of the pork which started off as a complete disaster. My mom bought a picnic roast and apparently I haven’t cooked with this particular type of pork before because to my surprise I spent over a half an hour carving the pig’s skin off. I was practically dry heaving doing it. Note to self, never buy a picnic roast again!! See pics below of me carving, my husband snapped the photo. He was so grossed out too.

Even though I was completely turned off by the pig skin and swore I wouldn’t eat it when it was cooked, the pork turned out beautifully and I did change my mind.I put it in the crockpot overnight and out came a tender, beautiful pork roast in the morning.The cola makes it so tender and tasty.

I know there are a ton of these sweet pork salad recipes going around right now, but I think it’s because they are so good. If you’ve been to Costa Vida in Gilbert, this salad is kind of my copycat version of the one I order there. You won’t be disappointed in this one! We’ve used this recipe for so many family gatherings and it’s always a hit!

Where do I vomit. Really disgusting. Poor little piggy.

Here’s my beautiful little sis Kimmy, me and my cutest Mom on our Pre-Mother’s Day Lunch outing. On Friday’s we try to go to lunch with just the ladies and this was great right before Mother’s day. I am so lucky to have these ladies in my life!

Sweet Pork Salad with Cilantro Dressing

2-4 lb pork roast
1 ½ Cups Coca Cola
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Seasoning Salt

1 Cup Coca Cola
1 Cup ketchup

1 jar Herdez Salsa Verde (mild tomatillo salsa, I get it at Walmart, any size)
Equal amount of prepared ranch dressing (Hidden Valley)
1 Bunch Cilantro

10 inch wheat or flour tortillas
Shredded green leaf lettuce
Black beans, I just used canned
Cilantro lime rice (steamed rice with chopped cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice, as much as desired)
Diced tomatoes, cheese, guacamole….etc
Crispy Tortilla Strips (flour tortillas cut into thin strips and fried in vegetable oil until browned)

  1. Place roast in crockpot with Coke; season with salt, pepper and garlic seasoning.Cook on low overnight, until tender.Remove roast from crockpot, discard juices.Shred pork into bite size pieces and place back into pot on low.
  2. Place Cola and ketchup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Heat to a low boil. Pour over shredded roast. Cook on low until ready to serve.
  3. For dressing, place equal parts salsa verde and ranch dressing into food processor or blender. Add Cilantro leaves and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. To serve: Place tortilla onto a large bowl or plate. Layer with lettuce, beans, rice, pork, dressing and tomatoes, cheese and guacamole. Cheese, guacamole and crispy tortilla strips not pictured, but really good in it!

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38 Responses
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  4. Yakbook

    Yum! I made this for my dad for father’s day and it was excellent. Thanks so much for sharing. You blog is wonderful!

  5. Kim

    The recipe was great and I am going to try it. The recipe says in step one to cook it overnight. Then to shredded the pork and put back into the crockpot and cook on low. Next, in step two it says to cook on low until ready to serve. How long does the pork roast need to cook? I am little confused.

  6. Anonymous

    Hey! Just searched sticky pork salad cos it sounded sooo good & found yours – looking at the pics I'm trying it tomorrow! – but I'm an Aussie & I've never seen a roast that doesnt look like that (thats what all roast cuts of meat are)- I'm thinking what do they do to yours that you are all so shocked? & a tip..male pigs smell – ask for female porkers if you have butchers?

  7. Jaime

    i’ve made a similar recipe, using root beer instead of coke.

    please tell your mom she is adorable! she looks so young, she could be your sister!

  8. Lori

    I just love prok cooked in cola. I have done one from Sarah Moultons show. It had orange juice as well.

    I have never had Sweet Pork Salad but it looks like something I would love.

  9. Jenny

    Hi Dopp Family,
    This serves about 12 or so people. I used a larger crockpot, had to borrow it, mine is pretty small too. You can always cut the recipe in half and use your small one if you’d prefer.

  10. The Dopp Family

    How many people does this recipe serve? And how big of a crockpot do you need? I only have a small one.

  11. Jenny

    HI Kameron,
    Make sure you make a separate sauce once the pork is shredded, you don’t want it to be too juicy. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  12. Kameron

    In my crockpot right now, simmering in the coke & ketchup… I’ve tried a few bites already, and it’s delish! Never been to Costa Vida, but I may have to try!

  13. Katie

    Yummy! Tomatillos do give the dressing a little more excitement. I’m glad to hear that you love the Costa down there because my brothers-in-law actually run it! It’s my favorite Costa ever and I actually live in Utah. When we go down to visit all we eat is Costa and In-n-out.

  14. Kim A

    Ok, here’s try number 2 to post a comment….I LOVED our lunch together, we always have so much fun! And that pork skin about made me vomit and I’m just thankful I didn’t see that picture before I ate our dinner, because I don’t know if I could’ve eaten it w/ that mental picture of the skin!

  15. Proud Italian Cook

    Jenny, first of all the 3 of you are gorgeous! Mom looks like an older sister! Your salad looks great, but the pig skin is gross, I agree!

  16. Tracy

    Your family is gorgeous, Jenny! It runs in the family!

    I don’t know what a picnic roast is, but I know I’ve never used it and I think I’ll stay away!

  17. Veronica

    The salad looks yummy, Jenny…could you, your sister and your mom be any cuter? Nice picture of all of you! Pig skin…yuck.

  18. Kevin

    That pork salad looks really good! Cooking the pork in Coke sounds interesting!! I will have to try it.

  19. heidikins

    Love love LOVE it! I use Dr. Pepper instead of Cola (a la Cafe Rio) and am convinced this is the picture of culinary perfection. (Minus the pig skin, obviously).


  20. Jenny

    Thanks everyone, I can’t believe I posted that pic of the pig skin, I get grossed out everytime I log on here.

    Thanks for commenting, it’s nice to know that people are enjoying my recipes, so thanks for your feedback! Hope you’ll find some more goodies!

    I’ve missed you!!

  21. Catherine Wilkinson

    Miss Jenny!
    Now that’s what I call..pulled pork!
    Happy Mother’s Day to a great Mommy. I’m back, more ridiculous than ever, and trying to catch up.

  22. Maureen


    I’ve come to your blog too many times to not leave a message. I have tried so many of your recipes and LOVED all of them. Thank you for being so creative and willing to share.

    Your amazing chocolate ganache brownies are going to be perfect for our “Narnia” party tonight (Our family has been reading the Chronicles of Narnia in preparation for the Prince Caspian movie coming out tomorrow). Homemade pizza, yummy salad and brownies – what could be better than that!

    Your recipes make me happy!


  23. emily

    This looks yummy. I have tried some “copy cat” recipes of Cafe Rio and been bit disappointed. I will have to try this one! Thanks!

  24. nicole

    I love how you are holding the pigs skin. Just the tips of your fingers are holding it. haha:) Looks good!

  25. Emiline

    That is so gross about the pork skin. I would feel sick, too.
    I need help when it comes to cooking meat. If I could just throw it in a crockpot, that would be great.

    Nice salad!

  26. giz

    Isn’t the slow cooker just the best thing since sliced bread. Fill it in the morning and come home early evening to a house that smells divine. The salad is also nicely finished off with the pork -so cold crunch and warm pork together – yup, works for me.

  27. Steph

    Yum, this is my favorite at Costa Vida here in Utah too! I love a sweet salad! My favorite! What a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day!!!

  28. RecipeGirl

    I’ve heard about that slow roasted coca cola pork, but I’ve never done it. This sounds like a great quick and easy dish!

  29. Bonnie

    Jenny, this really looks like a delish version of the Cafe Rio/Costa Vida pork. It’s so easy too. I have a green sauce made with cilantro, jalapenos, yogurt and some other spices that we like as well. I think they’re all yummy. thanks for this recipe. Definitely will go in my file!!

  30. Kameron

    Oh wow. That totally takes me back to 8th grade and fetal pigs… Ugh! Yes, I’ll make certain to buy the “correct” kind of pork roast before I make this (which I WILL)!!

  31. KacieFlake

    Oh Jenny, that is so sick about the pig skin! Who new the word picnic could mean such a thing! This salad is so good though. I absolutely love it!

  32. Hillary

    Have you ever tried putting tomatillos in the dressing? Here in Salt Lake we have Cafe Rio, which is where Costa Vida got its ideas from. To make the dressing, you buy a dry ranch dressing packet, and prepare it according to the directions. Then in a blender combine it with cilantro, green salsa, and 3-4 husked tomatillos. It’s really good!

  33. Leah

    Eeew. Eeeeew. Eeeeeeeeeeew. I’ve begun to realize that for however much I love to cook, I could never be a real chef, because handling raw meat (boning, cutting apart, peeling off fat) makes me want to dry heave too!

    However, with you had me at hello with that cilantro dressing! Pretty salad, and pretty family!

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