The best keto pork belly recipe has got to be this keto pork belly adobo, which is deliciously bold and savory with a hint of sweetness.
Adobo is a classic Filipino dish that's typically made with chicken or pork and abundance of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and black pepper. It bursts with bold, savory flavor and is delicious when served with riced cauliflower (low-carb and keto-style, of course!).
Our favorite adobo recipe is made with pork belly. Not that we don't love chicken adobo or even adobo made with pork shoulder — we just have a soft spot for pork belly. However, we try not to overindulge since it's high in fat and calories.
This pork belly adobo recipe is adapted from chef Sheldon Simeon's cookbook, Cook Real Hawaii, which is one of our favorite cookbooks. We love his pork belly adobo recipe and have made just a few alterations to it.
You'll find that keto pork belly adobo is rather simple to make. Most of the work involves searing and browning the pork belly in hot oil for about 6 to 10 minutes. After that, the pork belly adobe simmers for about 45 to 50 minutes, which is hands-off time.
We recommend serving with steamed riced cauliflower, which absorbs all the yummy flavors of the sauce. For a nice, balanced meal, you can serve the pork adobo with a simple green salad and sliced grape tomatoes.
What is Filipino Adobo?
Adobo is a classic Filipino dish usually made with meat (like chicken or pork) that is seared in oil and simmered in a sauce, typically made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black pepper and bay leaves. Most often it is served with white rice.
However, there are many variations of Filipino adobo. It's been said that every Filipino family has their own version of adobo, which may or may not be an exaggeration! When you search for adobo recipes online, you'll find that some include coconut milk, sugar, oyster sauce or other ingredients. And, of course, the amount of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and black pepper varies from recipe to recipe. Regardless of the variations, it's a delicious and savory dish that is full of flavor!
Pork belly: Although more and more supermarkets are carrying pork belly, not all do. If you don't see it in the pork section, be sure to ask about it at the meat counter of your market, as some markets sell it in different areas of the store, like the freezer section. We buy pork belly from a specialty grocery store, similar to Whole Foods. Many butcher shops or Asian grocers also carry pork belly.
Vinegar: Vinegar is a must in adobo. We use white vinegar in this recipe, which has zero carbs. But you could also use apple cider vinegar, which has minimal carbs. Rice vinegar and cane vinegar have slightly more carbs, but they're still relatively low in carbs.
Garlic: Adobo uses A LOT of garlic, which is one of the reasons it's so yummy. This recipe calls for 10 minced garlic cloves. Each garlic clove is roughly 1 net carb, so if you're looking to reduce carbs, you can reduce the garlic to 7 or 8 cloves.
Bay leaves: Bay leaves are another must in adobo. This recipe calls for 3 bay leaves.
Soy sauce: Soy sauce is another must. We use Tamari, but you could use coconut aminos or even regular soy sauce if you prefer.
Black pepper: Black pepper is also a must in adobo. The recipe uses ½ teaspoon but you could use more, like a full teaspoon, if you like.
Brown erythritol: Although brown erythritol is optional, it adds a hint of sweetness to the adobo and balances the vinegar. We use Swerve Brown Sweetener in this recipe.
How to Make
STEP 1: Thaw pork belly as necessary. Remove tough, outer skin from top of pork belly with a sharp knife. Cut into 2-inch chunks and pat dry with paper towels.
STEP 2: In a large Dutch oven or skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons avocado oil. When hot, add pork belly chunks, ensuring a little space between each (Note: You many need to sear pork in batches.) Cook until browned on all sides, roughly 6 minutes per batch. If cooking in batches, remove first batch and place on plate before searing second batch.
STEP 3: Return seared pork to pan and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and briefly saute for 30 seconds.
STEP 4: Add remaining ingredients to pan and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 to 50 minutes, until just tender.
STEP 5: When done, remove pork from pan with slotted spoon and place on plate. Increase heat to medium and cook remaining sauce for 5 or so minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened.
STEP 6: Serve pork adobo with steamed riced cauliflower and spoon thickened sauce over pork and riced cauliflower. For a balanced meal, serve with a simple green salad and/or sliced grape tomatoes.
Yes, you would follow the same process of cutting the pork into smaller chunks and searing in hot oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer in a covered pot for 50 minutes. At that point, you'll remove the lid and continue to simmer on low for 30 minutes to help thicken the sauce. When done, the pork should be just tender.
Yes, soy sauce is low in carbs at .7 gram of net carbs per tablespoon. However, it's best to check the nutritional information before purchasing as some soy sauces contain more carbs than others. Soy sauce is typically made with soybeans, water, wheat, and salt. Because of the that, regular soy sauce is not gluten-free. If you're looking for gluten-free soy sauce, then you'll want to purchase Tamari or coconut aminos.
Yes, garlic is keto-friendly and rather low in carbs. Each garlic clove is about 1 gram of carbs. If you're making a recipe that calls for a lot of garlic, like adobo, you may want to to slightly adjust the amount garlic to balance the level of carbs.
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag @lowcarbsimplified on your photo of this recipe on Instagram or Facebook. We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
Keto Pork Belly Adobo
- 2 pounds pork belly, thawed, skin removed, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup soy sauce or Tamari or coconut aminos
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons brown erythritol (we use Swerve Brown Sweetener)
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ teapsoon freshly ground pepper
- Get started: Thaw pork belly as necessary. Remove tough, outer skin from top of pork belly with sharp knife. Cut into 2-inch chunks and pat dry with paper towels.
- Sear pork: In a large Dutch oven or skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons avocado oil. When hot, add pork belly chunks, ensuring a little space between each (Note: You many need to sear pork in batches.) Cook until browned on all sides, roughly 6 minutes per batch. If cooking in batches, remove first batch and place on plate before searing second batch.
- Simmer: Return seared pork to pan and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and briefly saute for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 to 50 minutes, until tender.
- Thicken sauce: When done, remove pork from pan with slotted spoon and place on plate. Increase heat to medium and cook remaining sauce for 5 or so minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened.
- Serve: Serve pork belly with steamed riced cauliflower. Spoon thickened sauce over pork and riced cauliflower. For a balanced meal, serve with a simple green salad and/or sliced grape tomatoes
- Nutrition estimate assumes approximately 6 oz of fat and skin is removed during preparation.