Healthy Recipes




13 Healthy Sides for Pulled Pork – From Beans to Pasta

Home made pulled pork ready to be eaten

13 Healthy Sides for Pulled Pork – From Beans to Pasta

Pulled pork is the unofficial “star” of traditional barbecue. Don't get us wrong—bring on the brisket, chicken wings, and ribs, too. We're here for all of it. But there's something about the tender, tangy taste of pulled pork that elicits nostalgic childhood memories of backyard gatherings and family picnics. Of course, pulled pork is nothing without its sidekicks! From baked beans and macaroni salads to homemade pickles and “cowboy caviar,” here are thirteen tasty options to turn to when you're looking for all the flavor without all the fat content (or in some cases, without excessive sodium and sugar!).

Pulled Pork
A beautiful pulled pork deserves equally beautiful sides. And it doesn't hurt if they're healthy, too! Image: Dar1930, Shutterstock



Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic

Easy preparation and simple flavors prevail here. This side dish only consists of six ingredients! Fresh rosemary and garlic add just the right amount of flavor and seasoning to offset the delicate taste of roasted cauliflower.

Homemade Pickles

You can't go wrong with these simple, sugar-free refrigerator pickles. Great for using up those end-of-summer cucumbers that are threatening to overstay their welcome in your vegetable drawer, they are great for layering on pulled pork sandwiches or serving alongside them. With plenty of fresh dill, garlic cloves, whole peppercorns, onion, and vinegar, this recipe isn't complicated … and it's certainly tasty.


Fresh Asparagus and Avocado Salad

Though it may initially sound like an unlikely pair, asparagus and avocado combine to create the perfect creamy and crunchy side dish. There are plenty of other healthy ingredients in this salad, too, including tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and a tangy Dijon dressing.

Broccoli Salad

There's something alluring about a broccoli salad — the way it balances salty and sweet components along with creamy and crunchy ones. This salad's preparation isn't labor-intensive, and ingredients like broccoli and sunflower seeds will up your daily vitamin consumption (with a little bacon thrown in for good measure!). Additionally, the yogurt dressing adds a creamy element that blends it together.

Kale Salad

This simple kale salad is a massive dose of vitamins and fiber with the tang of lemon and a touch of sweetness, thanks to golden raisins (or dried cranberries, depending on your preference!). And not that it doesn't add that extra “je ne sais quoi,” but you can certainly skip the parmesan cheese if you're looking to go dairy-free or remove a calorie-enhancing ingredient.

Potato Salad

The standout feature of this particular potato salad might just be its greenery. Quite literally. The dish offers everything from chives, parsley, and dill to celery and green bell peppers. Throw in some Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, and spices, and you've got yourself a great accompaniment.

BBQ smoked pulled pork sandwich with pickles and barbeque sauce
Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned Southern pulled pork sandwich? While the classic accompaniments are often carb-heavy or chock full of calories, there are healthy options out there, too! Image: Elena Veselova, Shutterstock

©Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.com


Cowboy Caviar

It's true, this side dish is brimming with many other wonderful ingredients aside from beans, including avocado (“good” fats), red pepper, corn, jalapeño, and cilantro. But the reality is that the black beans in “cowboy caviar” (or “Texas Caviar” as it is sometimes referred to) offer up the protein you need to feel satiated.

Lemon-Basil Three-Bean Salad

This plant-based dish offers up a beautiful mixture of chickpeas, white beans, black beans, lemon, cherry tomatoes, basil, and so much more. It's just hearty enough to work in the fall, and just fresh enough to be the perfect side for summer, too!

Home made pulled pork ready to be eaten
Pulled pork is a versatile main dish, lending itself to pairing well with many different types of side dishes! Image: KarepaStock, Shutterstock



Vegan and Gluten-Free Pesto Pasta

Pesto is one of those savory pasta sauces that always wows — whether on its own or accompanying the main dish. This particular recipe includes vegan pesto, gluten- or grain-free pasta, and cherry tomatoes for an acidic element.

One-Pot Healthy Orzo

This fabulous side dish is chock full of veggies — essentially, it's delivering one giant dose of vitamins to your system. From chickpeas and spinach to zucchini and fresh parsley, it's a great way to take in some vegetables and also fill up.


Healthy Stuffed Potatoes

Subbing lower calorie ingredients such as low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat milk, and margarine for the standard butter, cream, and sour cream additions, this stuffed potato dish offers a filling, delicious way to enjoy potatoes without the extra fluff. It even has a bit of hot sauce for a tasty kick!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

While a brown sugar-and-marshmallow-topped casserole or butter-filled mashed sweet potatoes might be delicious, it's not the healthiest approach. This sweet potato recipe offers a lighter take by tossing the sweet potatoes in some olive oil and seasoning, then roasting them.

Classic Coleslaw

This Whole30-friendly coleslaw is a great way to enjoy a classic pulled pork side without overdoing it. It also happens to be low-carb and Paleo-friendly! Made with a homemade dressing, it's perfectly creamy while still offering a healthy alternative!

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