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.
If you’re interested in the Instant Pot I use, check it out here.
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:
If you’d like more recipe ideas for this combo of pulled pork and beans, my article on low cost meals like bbq pizza, nachos, and egg sandwiches may spark a few.
Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork and Beans
A super simple BBQ-style pulled pork recipe for the Instant Pot or crock pots.
- 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!
(Recipe makes 14.6 servings) Per packed 1/2 C (103g) serving: 136 Calories | 15.5P | 12.5C | 2.7F
Below you’ll find my recipe for high protein southwest coleslaw.
Healthy Southwest Coleslaw
A higher protein, lower calorie spin on traditional southwest coleslaw that's perfect for BBQ sandwiches, tacos, or as a side dish.
- 3/4 C (170g) Fat-Free Greek Yogurt plain
- 2 Tbsp (30mL) Apple Cider Vinegar any vinegar will do
- 1 Tbsp (15g) Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp (5mL) Lime Juice
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2-1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 C Stevia or 0-Cal Sweetener
- 8 oz Bagged Coleslaw or Broccoli Slaw for a drier slaw, use 12-16 ounces here
Mix all ingredients besides coleslaw in a large mixing bowl until all spices are evenly mixed and no lumps remain.
Add coleslaw and toss until fully coated. (The recipe calls for 8 ounces, and this produces a "wet" coleslaw. If you like your slaw a bit drier, you can simply add more coleslaw mix.)
Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. I've found this to taste best after refrigerating for several hours. This coleslaw should store for at least 3 days in the refrigerator but possibly longer.
Entire Recipe (462g): 180 Calories | 21P | 24C | 0F --- 1/8 Recipe (58g): 23 Calories | 2.6P | 3C | 0F
Looking for more Instant Pot recipes? Check out my Crispy Carnitas or Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice and Pan Roasted Corn and Black Beans Bowls (pictured above) recipes next.
And as always, if you try any of my recipes, I want to see your re-creations on Instagram. It lets me know you’re putting healthy recipes into action, and I love sharing your recipes to inspire others.
P.S. If you’re looking for dessert ideas, check out my free high protein cookbook for chocolate lovers. You can check it out here or simply enter your info below and I’ll send it your way.