sides for pulled pork

23 Healthy Sides for Pulled Pork

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Pulled pork is one of those meat dishes that goes well with so many different sides, and while this is great, it does make it difficult to choose which one to serve!

If you have a pulled pork meal planned and are looking for ideas on healthy sides to serve, then you have come to the right place!

What are the best healthy sides for pulled pork?

The best healthy sides for pulled pork will be made with vegetables and other healthy ingredients, and will also depend on what your family or guests enjoy eating! It could be a healthy potato salad, slaw, or even a broccoli salad.

To help you find the perfect healthy side to serve with your pulled pork, read on for our top 23 recommendations!

Healthy Sides for Pulled Pork

If you are a fan of pulled pork, but you don’t want to pack on calories with sides for it, check our top picks for the healthy sides below!

Air Fryer Broccoli

Not only does broccoli pair so well with pulled pork, but it is incredibly healthy and nutritious too! When cooking broccoli, you want it to keep its nutrients, flavor, and crunch, and one of the best ways to do this is to pop it into the air fryer.

broccoli

For air fryer broccoli, you could use frozen or fresh broccoli florets, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper, and place them into the air fryer for up to 8 minutes.

The broccoli will have a beautiful crunch on the outside and have a great flavor from the lemon and pepper seasoning.

Cauliflower Tots

Tater tots are perfect to serve with pulled pork, but the problem is that they are not all that healthy. 

If you want to subdue your cravings for tater tots but not introduce an unhealthy side to your meal, you could make cauliflower tots instead.

Cauliflower tots are easy to make, and you can season them how you prefer. Cooked cauliflower is blended with spices, cheese, an egg, and some almond flour, before being shaped into small balls and cooked either in the oven or the air fryer.

These taste just as good as the real thing and being cooked in the air fryer and made from cauliflower, they are much healthier!

Asian Slaw

The fresh flavors and the delightful crunch of slaw are always such a great pairing with the rich, tender pulled pork, but slaw can be made unhealthy if packed with high-fat dairy.

asian slaw

Asian slaw is therefore a great healthy side to serve with pulled pork. It has the crunch that you would want, but none of the mayo, to make it a healthier option.

Instead, Asian slaw is made with sesame oil and soy sauce, which adds a kick of flavor and depth. Other ingredients in the sauce include maple syrup, finely grated ginger, lime juice, and sesame seeds.

You can purchase the slaw already cut, which makes it so much easier to prepare, or you can prepare it from scratch at home.

Air Fryer Peppers

If you are looking for a spicier side, then air fryer shishito peppers are a great option! This is a really healthy side as all you need to prepare it are shishito peppers, salt, and olive oil.

Shishito peppers are also quite an exciting side – as around 1 in 10 is spicy, so you never know what you might be biting into.

The peppers need to be seasoned with salt and olive oil and then placed into the air fryer. The air fryer will give them a char on the outside, but still, keep them juicy on the inside. The spice and flavor are ideal to pair with the rich, tender pulled pork.

Healthy Baked Beans

One of the most classic sides, baked beans, is something that always deserves to be served with some pulled pork. The problem, however, is that there are certain ingredients added to baked beans that make them unhealthy.

baked beans

You can buy light baked beans or low-sodium, or you can make the baked beans from scratch using dry beans, and healthier liquids.

To flavor the baked beans, you can add in some pineapple, and maple syrup, to give it a whole lot more flavor to pair with the rich BBQ sauce of the pulled pork.

Sauteed Green Beans With Garlic

Green beans are a healthy vegetable with great nutritional value, but many people write them off because they just do not know how to cook them properly.

green beans with garlic

The truth is that green beans are actually really easy to cook, and done right, they can taste amazing, and be the perfect healthy side for pulled pork!

To prepare this side, you simply need to saute green beans with chopped garlic and lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper. The green beans can be cooked until tender but still with a crunch, and some lemon juice can be drizzled onto them to finish them off.

Healthy Potato Salad

Everyone loves a side of potato salad, but the added mayonnaise can make it slightly unhealthy, and unsuitable, for various diets.

To get to enjoy potato salad but without the added fats, you could make a creamy vegan potato salad instead. This is made using a Dijon mustard dressing, with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, vegetable oil, and salt and pepper.

Potatoes, shallots, capers, and parsley are tossed into this Dijon mustard dressing, which creates a super creamy, light, and tangy potato salad that is wonderfully healthy, and a great fresh side to serve with pulled pork.

Corn Ribs

If you have never made corn ribs before, then this is the sign you needed to try them out! Corn on the cob is great, but corn ribs are easier to eat and just a fun side overall. The sweetness of the corn also pairs so well with the pulled pork.

corn ribs

You can buy corn ribs already prepared, but you can also just slice them off the corn cob, season them with your favorite seasonings, and grill them until cooked perfectly!

Broccoli Salad

For something light and full of crunch, a broccoli salad makes for a great side to serve with rich, tender pulled pork, and the two opposites complement each other perfectly.

You can add pretty much anything you want into a broccoli salad, but to keep it healthy, add in some sunflower seeds, cranberries, and if you want a kick of flavor, then a small amount of bacon.

The flavors and textures in the broccoli are all pulled together with a light mayonnaise dressing.

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Oven-roasted vegetables are a great dish to make when you have a few bits and pieces of leftover vegetables left to use in the fridge. Not only are you stopping any fresh vegetables from going to waste, but it makes a really delicious side too.

oven roasted vegetables

Cut the vegetables down, roast them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and top with some parmesan cheese when fully cooked for some extra flavor.

Some great vegetables to include are zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and squash.

Sweet Potatoes With Cinnamon

The air fryer offers up a quick and healthy way to prepare so many different meals and vegetables, and air fryer sweet potatoes with cinnamon are no exception!

The sweet potato needs to be cut down into fry-size pieces and seasoned with cinnamon and salt. They can then be cooked in the air fryer for 15 minutes until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

The cinnamon and salt are great when served with the rich BBQ sauce of the pulled pork.

Sweetcorn, Tomato, and Avo Salad

If you want a lighter side to serve in the summer months, then classic sweetcorn, tomato, and avocado salad is a great option.

sweetcorn, tomato and avo salad

The salad can be made with canned or frozen corn, sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion slices, and avocado pieces. A simple dressing of lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder, cilantro, salt, and pepper can be used to mix all the ingredients together.

Air Fryer Cauliflower

Another air fryer recipe, air fryer cauliflower is a wonderful winter side for pulled pork, full of warm spices such as smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne.

To make this recipe even easier, you can use frozen cauliflower too, and flavor it with a rub made from the above spices. The air fryer cooks the cauliflower till brown and crisp on the outside, but still, tender on the inside.

The meatiness of the cauliflower florets holds up well to the meatiness of the pulled pork.

Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are the ultimate side dish to serve with pulled pork, to help enjoy the rich BBQ sauce from the pulled pork and the tender meat.

yogurt mashed potatoes

However, you might be looking for something a little healthier than mashed potatoes made with butter, milk, and cream, and to do this, you could make yogurt mashed potatoes instead.

Yogurt mashed potatoes taste just as light and creamy and give you a healthier alternative to your favorite side.

Crispy Potato Wedges

Instead of oily fries, you could make some crispy potato wedges instead, either in the air fryer as the healthiest option, or roasted in the oven with a small amount of oil.

Potato wedges cooked in the air fryer or oven are healthier than French fries, and they are perfect for scooping up extra pulled pork BBQ sauce.

They can be seasoned with salt and pepper, and even topped with some parmesan cheese too.

Cucumber Salad

Make a light and crunchy cucumber salad using Greek yogurt, sliced cucumber, and pickled onions for a kick of flavor.

cucumber salad

This summer salad is made healthier with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, and the pickled red onions add a zing which helps the cucumber salad stand up to the stronger flavors of the pulled pork.

Boiled Potatoes

Boiled potatoes might seem like a bland side, but with a few simple ingredients, they can be made wonderfully tasty.

It is best to boil baby potatoes, as these are bite-size and they cook easily, as well as have a creamy texture.

Once the baby potatoes have cooked through, you can drizzle some olive oil on top, or use light butter, and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Chives also help to add some flavor to the boiled potatoes.

Sweet Potato Fries

Fries can be made that much healthier by using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, and sweet potato fries really are just as delicious.

sweet potato fries

You can cook sweet potato fries in the oven or the air fryer, and they will become beautifully crisp and caramelized on the outside, but stay soft and tender on the inside.

A pinch of salt and pepper is all that is needed to flavor these!

Couscous Cucumber Salad

Couscous is one of those healthy side options that is often ignored, but it definitely deserves some attention, especially when looking for a side to serve with pulled pork.

You can make a refreshing couscous cucumber salad using some cucumber, tomato, parsley, and spring onion. These ingredients make the couscous salad fragrant, flavorful, and textured. It is a good idea to use pearl couscous which has a nuttier flavor, and pairs with the pork better.

Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Rice Salad

Rice is a great side dish for almost every type of meal, but if you want something healthier, and more suited to pulled pork, then this black bean, corn, and avocado rice salad is worth a try.

black bean, corn salad

The rice salad, made with black beans, corn, and avocado, with a dressing made from olive oil, lime juice, honey, and garlic powder, has a slightly sweet flavor to it which balances out perfectly with the richness of the pulled pork, and the sweetness that the BBQ sauce will have too.

Roasted Carrots With Honey and Feta

If you have some carrots sitting in your fridge waiting to be used, then you should definitely try to make roasted carrots with honey and feta.

It is such an easy dish to make, but it is packed with flavor and texture, which compliments pulled pork perfectly.

The carrots can be sliced or roasted whole, until caramelized on the outside and buttery on the inside, and topped with a drizzle of honey and a crumbling of feta cheese.

Zucchini Fritters

When you have some spare time on your hands, preferably while the pulled pork cooks, then you could make zucchini fritters to serve as a side.

zucchini fritters

Zucchini fritters are made with grated zucchini, parmesan cheese, eggs, flour, and seasoning, and then fried in some light olive oil until crisp on the outside.

These fritters are a great way to get the whole family to eat some green vegetables!

Butternut Squash Fries

Butternut squash fries have a bright orange color and a sweet flavor which is balanced beautifully with a pinch of salt and pepper.

The sugar found naturally in butternut squash allows the fries to caramelize on the outside while staying soft on the inside.

These squash fries are so much healthier than regular fries, and they are great for the whole family to enjoy.

The sweet, mellow, and earthy flavors of the butternut squash fries go well with the sweet, rich, and savory pulled pork.

Related Questions

Which Is the Best Liquid to Cook Pulled Pork in?

The best liquid to cook pulled pork in is chicken stock. This adds a savory, salty flavor to the meat while keeping it tender, and without overpowering it.

Beef stock can be used, but it might have too much flavor.

Is It Possible to Overcook Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork can be overcooked, and this could cause the pork to be dry and chewy.

sides for pulled pork

23 Healthy Sides for Pulled Pork

Ingredients

  • Air Fryer Broccoli
  • Cauliflower Tots
  • Asian Slaw
  • Air Fryer Peppers
  • Healthy Baked Beans
  • Sauteed Green Beans With Garlic
  • Healthy Potato Salad
  • Corn Ribs
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Oven Roasted Vegetables
  • Sweet Potatoes With Cinnamon
  • Sweetcorn, Tomato, and Avo Salad
  • Air Fryer Cauliflower
  • Yogurt Mashed Potatoes
  • Crispy Potato Wedges
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Couscous Cucumber Salad
  • Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Rice Salad
  • Roasted Carrots With Honey and Feta
  • Zucchini Fritters
  • Butternut Squash Fries

Instructions

  1. Pick one of your favorite sides from the list.
  2. Gather all of the essential ingredients that are required for the dish you choose.
  3. Prepare your side dish for pulled pork according to the instructions we provided above.
  4. Enjoy and try to change your sides in order to get a completely new dish every time!

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