Sunday, January 22, 2012

California Pizza Kitchen's Carnitas Pizza with Habanero Salsa

This pizza was inspired by the California Pizza Kitchen's -Carnitas Pizza with Habanero Salsa .  Many of you know that when I go out to eat I can be somewhat of an embarrassment and always ask the server "what's in this?".  Usually they will tell me, I have even had the chef come out and tell me what is in dishes and how he made it......or I have them tell me it was a "secret". I usually get the "secret" line when the restaurant is trying to sell their own sauce, salsa and cookbooks. Nevertheless I will still try to re-create the dish at home.

Last month Bill and I went to CPK and had this new menu addition. It was amazing with a great blend of cilantro pesto and the Mexican spiced pork....with sweet hot salsa.

Here is the recipe and tutorial :

Pizza Details: Base: Cilantro pesto  fixings: Slow roasted Mexican style pork on a bed of mozzarella  and jack cheese garnished with red onions and cilantro.  Served with Habanero Salsa  

Final product was amazing!  I can't wait to hear what you think when you try it.


1 pkg of pre-made dough or make your own ( I used Trader Joe's $1.69 can't beat the price)

1-1 1/2 cup shredded pork- (Mexican spiced pork any kind will do butt/top round /shoulder see recipe below)
2 bunches cilantro
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup roasted chopped almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbls white vinegar
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup jack cheese
1/2 red onion sliced
garnish with cilantro

1 seeded Habenero finely chopped ( use gloves)
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbls white vinegar
dash salt
finely chopped cilantro


Preheat Oven to 400

1. Roll pizza crust out to desired shape and size - I use cornmeal as my base instead of flour it gives the crust more of a crunch.  Bake on corn meal dusted cookie sheet, pizza stone or silpat for 10 mins until softly cooked.

2. While pizza crust is cooking assemble your cilantro pesto. Using your food processor or blender.  Combine 1 whole bunch cilantro stems removed and washed and roughly chopped, 3-4 rough chopped cloves of fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, roasted almonds ( or any nut you want) a few shakes slat and pepper, cup olive oil, vinegar. Blend until pesto consistency.

3. Spread pesto on crust:

*you might have extra pesto - save for pasta or sandwiches*

4.  Add jack cheese, then onions, then pork.
Pork See Recipe below * I use this pork for pork tacos too and the meat freezes well so you can have tacos on Monday and this pizza on Wednesday*

5. Finish with mozzarella it locks everything in.

6. Bake at 400 for aprox 20 mins.  ( check at 15 and gauge from there)

7. While cooking make salsa:
Dice as fine as you can possibly dice with your knife. habanero, red onion, cilantro and orange juice. Should like something like this...... don't blend it or it will turn grey.
 8. Final Product

Pork Recipe :

In your crock pot take a 2-3 lb pork roast and rub with taco seasoning and a chopped onion. Set 6 hr setting and check when pork can fall off the bone or shed with fork.  This can be made in advance and used for tacos, enchiladas, taco salad, nachos and other Mexican dishes.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! No CPK locally so I can't try it there but it sounds so delicious that I've been trying to figure out how to make it ever since I first heard of it. Can't wait to give your recipe a taste!! :-)

    1. I hope it turned out? We have been making it about once a month even though we do have a CPK about 10 mins from us. Sometimes it's better and you can modify it how you want. Please follow me, I am a newer blogger and would love to get more feedback. Thanks.

  2. This was awesome!! Just as good as my CPK favorite!

    1. Natalie- Thanks so much for letting me know you made it! I love CPK and I hope I can create some more. Please follow me and I will not disappoint.

  3. I'm going to try a version of your recipe tomorrow! I'm going to make a few differences, the biggest one being most habanero salsas are combined with carrot juice. Carrot juice is less acidic than orange juice and is actually sweeter; sweetness cuts down on the heat. Also, from pictures of the actual salsa taken at the restaurant the seeds are left in the salsa, a small amount of sugar is most likely added, and there is less red onion! Can't wait to try it though! I appreciate you asking the waitstaff what is in the dish. :)

    1. Kendra- I hope it turned out! Carrot juice is such a good idea - thanks for the tip. We made a few trials of the salsa before having the right consistency and texture. My sister and I on our first attempted used the food processor with everything and there was way too much pureed green onion we had onion breath until the next morning - No good. Thanks for posting!

  4. Smoked a picnic cut this weekend and pulled it. After some great sandwiches, it was time to do something a bit different the next night. Thought about the great Carnitas pizza at CPK. Decided to look up a recipe and your page popped up. I did use the Jack and Moz, did my own cillantro pesto (but very similar), and used jalapeno instead of habanero because I had one sitting around.

    Turned out great! I really loaded up the pizza with pork..awesome. Loved your idea to top with mozzarella, browned so nicely. The salsa was good, but jalapeno is a poor substitute. Did do a little blend, no grey, but just didn't have the needed heat. Really need that habanero and I think a bit less onion would be more to the actual product...but I like onion.

    Regardless, great recipe! I went with a grocery store dough as I got out of work late, but it still turned out so great. Thanks again and great job!

  5. I made the salsa with 1/2 cup of fresh mango instead of OJ and used two habaneros (seeded) from my garden. Awesome and very orange/yellow color. Goes great with pulled pork. I even made an omelette with pulled pork, shredded cheddar cheese and fresh diced tomatoes and put the salsa on top. Yum!