Healthy Instant Pot Pulled Pork: Low Calorie BBQ Sandwiches and High Protein Coleslaw
One of my biggest healthy eating and weight loss tips is developing consistency through staple foods. More specifically, staple protein sources. Once you have simple, healthy protein sources that are easily prepared in bulk, you can easily put together great meals for your goals in minimal time. Removing the difficulty and decision making process is a powerful tool for adhering to any nutrition protocol or simply eating well.
One staple protein source I’ve recommended for years has been pulled pork prepared in a crock pot, and I’m excited to say this Instant Pot pulled pork recipe takes it to another level. What used to take six hours or more now takes around 30 minutes from start to finish without any sacrifice to tenderness or flavor.
Seriously, it’s great. This recipe remains simple with only four ingredients for the pork mixture itself. I’ve included a recipe for my high protein southwest slaw as well at the bottom of this piece. Be sure to check that out for a great side dish or sandwich topping for your pulled pork! And if you don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, don’t worry, I give instructions for making this in a crock pot as well.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Ingredients
Since this recipe has 4 ingredients that require zero prep on your part, I’ll use this time to talk about putting it all together and bun selection. As you’ll see in the photo below, I’ve used both traditional hamburger buns and Flatout Foldits. In all honesty, I like the Foldits better than regular buns. And the macros in the image below—275 calories—are for a 1/2 cup serving of pork and 1 serving of high protein southwest coleslaw on a Foldit.
That said, you can fix these up however you like and modify the ingredients to fit your macronutrient and calorie needs. It’s also worth mentioning, this pulled pork recipe is fantastic on its own without a bun. For barbecue sauce, there are several sugar free versions available to reduce calories, but I love Stubbs Original. It only has 50 calories for 2 tablespoons, which is a lot of sauce. The recipe’s macros were calculated with Stubbs.
Pork is a misunderstood food. While there are fatty cuts of pork, it’s possible to get lean cuts just like nearly every other animal. Looking at the graph below, you can see a pork tenderloin, which is what we’ll be using for this recipe, is one of the better meat options when it comes to protein to calorie ratios. If someone tells you pork is unhealthy or fatty, you can show them this:
All that being said, you could use chicken. Check out my Instant Pot BBQ pulled chicken for a great example. You could also use both of these recipes to make something like my loaded BBQ chicken nachos.
- 2 1/4 pounds (36oz) Pork Tenderloin, I used 2 Hormel Always Tender Apple Bourbon Tenderloins
- 1 can (15.5oz) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15.5oz) Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 C (70g) Barbecue Sauce
- Drain and rinse beans before adding to the Instant Pot or crock pot. Slice pork tenderloins into 6-8 pieces. If you'd rather leave them whole, extend cook time about 5-10 minutes.
- Add pork tenderloin slices on top of the beans (use the rack if you have it) and top with barbecue sauce. (If you're using plain pork tenderloins, you may want to add a bit of salt and other seasonings in addition to the barbecue sauce.)
- Seal Instant Pot and cook on manual for 32-35 minutes, using a natural release—about 15 minutes. If you're using a crock pot, cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Once the pork has cooked, remove tenderloins and shred with two forks. The pork should be tender and easily shredded with forks in the next step. (A meat thermometer also comes in handy here.)
- Depending on the cut of your tenderloins, you may have a bit of liquid remaining in your beans and sauce mixture. Using the saute function on the Instant Pot is a great way to remove excess liquid before adding the beans and sauce to your shredded pork.
- That's it. Refrigerate and enjoy all week long!
Optional step: If you want crispy edges, you could use a broiler like I use in my Ninja Foodi pulled pork recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 100 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Total Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 16g