Juicy BBQ Pork Sliders topped with creamy greek yogurt kale slaw on a whole wheat bun is an easy and healthy slow cooker meal. It’s perfect for game day or just a weeknight meal.
With the Super Bowl just two weeks away, it seemed appropriate to bring you all a delicious, easy, and healthy (yes, I said healthy) game day meal.
One of my favorite things to do on Danilicious is show you how even the most indulgent, rich foods can still be lightened up by using more nutritious ingredients.
These slow cooker BBQ pork sliders are the perfect example. I used a leaner cut of meat, the pork loin, for the base of the sliders. By adding a lot of spices and cooking it low and slow, you still get a juicy, flavorful end product. I also lightened up the cole slaw by using mainly greek yogurt for the sauce and a kale slaw mix with tons of vitamin rich veggies for the base.
There is no sacrifice of flavor here though. The meat is juicy and dripping with sweet and tangy (low sugar) BBQ sauce. The slaw is fresh and vibrant and helps cut through the richness of the pork. And I prefer it on a whole wheat bun because it has a nice nutty flavor and heartier texture that holds up to the all the toppings.
Hungry yet??! Ok then….
Let’s get to cooking!
I deiced to make this dish in the crockpot because I was making it on a Sunday (when the Bears played there last game of the season…*sigh) and had all day until the game to prepare the meal. I love using my crockpot because it does all the work and makes your whole house smell fragrant and delicious with whatever is cooking away.
My mom asked why I didn’t use the instapot and it’s because I had the time to let the meat cook low and slow (which I think will ultimately lead to a juicer end product). But I think the instapot would work great if you needed to make this dish in a pinch. I haven’t tried it yet, but if you use this method, just make sure to adjust the time necessary to cook this size of meat.
Anyways… back to cooking.
I first sautéed some onions using my sauté function on my crockpot. This allow the onions to caramelize and add extra flavor to the dish. If you do not have a sauté function, you can cook them in a separate pan and then add them to the crockpot (or even throw them in raw if you are rushed for time as they will cook with the meat).
Next, season the pork with the spice mixture of brown sugar, paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt and pepper. All these spices give the meat so much flavor and kick that makes these sliders so good.
Now just put the pork in the slow cooker with some apple cider vinegar and chicken broth (to give it tang and help keep it moist) and cook for 8 hours on low.
While the slow cooker is doing its thang, you can make the cole slaw. For the dressing, combine greek yogurt, light or vegan mayo, dijon mustard, fresh orange juice, pickle juice, honey, apple cider vinegar and celery salt. I use mainly greek yogurt because it’s creamy but has little fat and is packed with protein. I do use a little mayo as I think the richness and sweetness helps bring the dish together. My secret ingredient in the slaw is the pickle juice. Its briny and tangy which helps brighten the slaw and cut through the sweetness in the mayo and honey.
Add desired amount of the dressing to the slaw mix and toss until all the slaw is evenly coated. Allow to sit up for at least an hour in the fridge (so the dressing has time to break down the slaw mix and become creamier and more flavorful).
Once the pork is finished cooking, take it out of the crockpot and shred it. Save some of the juices from the cooking process and the onions and discard the rest. Add the pork back to the crock with the onions and juices and top with your favorite BBQ sauce.
When I am picking out BBQ sauces, I am always careful to look at the ingredients and amount of sugar in them and pick something that’s made with real ingredients and not chalked full of sugar. You will be surprised at how much sugar is in some of them!
Time to assemble. Take a toasted and buttered whole wheat bun and top with the the shredded pork and creamy slaw. I also added pickles and fresh jalapeños for a briny and spicy kick!
There you have it! A healthier, but still crazy delicious BBQ Pork sliders. Enjoy!
Healthier BBQ Pork Sliders
BBQ Pork Sliders topped with creamy greek yogurt kale slaw on a whole wheat bun is an easy and healthy slow cooker meal. It’s perfect for game day or just a weeknight meal.
Slow Cooker Pork
- 2 1/2-3 pound pork loin
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne optional if you like heat
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
Creamy Kale Coleslaw
- 3 cups kale slaw mix
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup light or vegan mayo
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Juice of half an orange
- 2 teaspoons pickle juice
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- Bottle of favorite BBQ sauce
- Whole wheat buns toasted and buttered
- Jalapeño slices and pickle slices optional
Slaw. Combine all of the dressing ingredients, yogurt through pickle juice. Add the kale slaw to a bowl. Top with desired amount of dressing and toss until it is well-coated. Allow slaw to sit in fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Pork. Combine all the spices together and rub all over pork (you may have some leftover spices which you can save for later use).
Put slow cooker on sauté mode and add olive oil to pan (if you have this function; if not, you can sauté onions in a separate pan). Once olive oil is heated, add onions and cook for 8-10 minutes, until they soften and start to caramelize. Add in salt and pepper, to taste.
Put pork on top of sautéed onions and add broth and applied cider vinegar.
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove pork and shred. Drain pan of juices (savings onions and some of the juices). Add shredded pork back to the slow cooker along with onions, splash of cooking juices, and desired amount of BBQ sauce. Keep slow cooker on warming function so meat stays warm for serving.
Assemble. Toast your buns (hehe). Top with pulled pork and slow, slaw, and jalapeño and pickle slices.
Serve and enjoy!