When someone isn’t sure what to first do with their Mesa de Vida healthy cooking sauce I suggest using our jars packed full of goodness in the slow cooker or oven with the meat of your choice. You’ll create the most tender, succulent and flavorful beef barbacoa, carnitas or pulled pork or chicken you’ll ever have! (This is what I hear often when out doing demos for the sauces!) Bonus: if you eat all/mostly Paleo or are a meal-prep pro (or just want to be)? Well, our sauce and this post will be your new best friend.


In fact, these recipes are on the menu at my house at least a few times every week. Having these ready to go means I always have a hot meal to serve to my family. Wrapped up in tacos, served over beans, hot pasta, couscous or rice, for taco salad or piled on a whole grain bun, we always have a delicious meal to sit down to with great leftovers for lunches through the week also.


Ready to have a taco party, any night of the week? Let’s get started!


Our sauces are made with pureed vegetables, naturally sweetened for balance with plums, along with spices and herbs. They also have lime or lemon juice along with a bit of vinegar. What does that mean? This means that the brightness these components bring not only help you use less salt, but their ability to help break down meat to become so tender and succulent is really key to what they bring to the flavor party.

The “recipe” couldn’t be easier – your favorite meat + a jar of Mesa de Vida healthy cooking sauce!

Add salt and hot sauce to taste. Use about 1 1/2 lb of meat per jar of sauce. If you like very mild flavors (our sauces are LOADED with flavor) cut back on the sauce a bit and add a little bit of water. Best of all, some of the most inexpensive cuts of meat work best for these recipes. Beef chuck, pork shoulder or sirloin roast and chicken thighs make the most succulent and flavorful meat. For extremely low fat recipes go ahead and use chicken breasts, flank steak or pork tenderloin, just make sure you remove the meat a little earlier so it doesn’t dry out.

Slow cooker

– just pour, toss to coat and cook on low until fall-apart-tender.

Oven roasting

– well, pretty much the same technique as the slow cooker. Since the oven concentrates the flavors a bit more as a dry cooking method, cover your baking dish with foil. If you have a large piece of meat that will take a long time, add a bit of water along with the sauce.

Stove-top braising

– This is my favorite method for chicken thighs, bone-in breasts, pork tenderloin and beef cuts such as London Broil. In a stock pot or large skillet with high sides and a lid sear the meat on all sides. Pour in your Mesa de Vida Healthy cooking sauce and a bit of water or broth just to come up the sides of the meat about 1/2 way. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer until tender. Remove the meat and raise the heat up a bit to reduce the sauce to a thick, luscious gravy to pour over the meat. Yum!

Instant Pot

– The electric pressure cooker is a huge hit for a reason. It cuts your cooking time significantly and allows you to walk away  while your appliance does all of the work and creates the most tender, fall-off-the-bone meats. Because there are variances in models, results will vary. Follow any recipe for pulled pork or saucy chicken that work with your model of Instant Pot, substituting Mesa de Vida healthy cooking sauce for the sauce recipe.


Beef Barbacoa

Beef chuck steak + Mesa de Vida Smoky Latin Inspired Cooking Sauce + Salt & hot sauce to taste.

Pulled Pork or Chicken

Pork sirloin roast, pork shoulder roast, pork tenderloin, chicken thighs, chicken breast, (pick your favorite) + Mesa de Vida cooking sauce of your choice (our Smoky Latin inspired sauce gives a Latin flair, our North African Harissa inspired sauce gives a savory, unique flavor perfect for serving over rice or couscous, or scooped up in flatbread) + Salt & hot sauce to taste. Want to give a sweeter flavor? Mix in about 1 cup of all-natural apricot jam or orange marmalade with your Mesa de Vida cooking sauce before adding to the meat. Yum! See our recipe for Chicken Tinga tacos here.


Pork Carnitas

Pork sirloin or pork shoulder roast + Mesa de Vida Smoky Latin Inspired Cooking Sauce + Juice from 1 orange and 1 lime + Salt & hot sauce to taste. Tips for great carnitas: Sear the meat on all sides first before cooking, after cooking and shredding place under the broiler to get a little more browned and crispy.

Pork al Pastor style

You can get similar flavor to the famed pork al pastor that is expertly shaved from giant, juicy stacks of roasted layered pork with pineapple available at taco trucks and road side stands all over Mexico. Follow the same directions for Pork Carnitas, above, but add some fresh sliced pineapple alongside your pork roast in the broiler. See our tips for making authentic pork al pastor here


Tamale corn cakes

Serve any of your favorite recipes from above on these simple and delicious corn tamale cakes to create incredible appetizers or just a fun dinner option if you’re ever sick of tacos. (As if that is possible.)
1 cup corn masa flour
2 Tb olive oil or melted butter
1 cup defrosted frozen or fresh corn
2 green onions, chopped
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
About 3/4 cup water
Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon then work with your hands for about 1 minute. You want a thick dough, not too dry, not to wet that is easy to work with your hands, but doesn’t stick to your fingers. Add a little bit more water or flour if necessary. Form into small flat disks, about 2 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick. Cook on an oiled skillet or griddle, just as you would pancakes. Cook until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Enjoy!

Do you have leftover meat? Make these incredible taquitos and have quick snacks on hand for the week! They also freeze great. Simply roll the leftover shredded meat up in corn or flour tortillas. Spray well, or roll around in oil, bake at 400 degrees until crispy and browned. Also, see our recipe for enchiladas here


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