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The DX Exclusive Recipe: Diabetes-Friendlier Pulled Pork

Carolina-style pulled pork with cabbage-apple slaw

North Carolina barbecue is typically made with pork shoulder cooked in a sauce flavored with generous amounts of cider vinegar and brown sugar. This diabetes-friendlier – and quicker –  version uses super-lean pork tenderloin, simmered in a vinegary tomato sauce that’s softened with just a touch of honey. Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team if you are considering making changes to your meal plan.

(Learn more about eating and diabetes, including tips for a balanced diet.)


1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon cayenne

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey


2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded

1 small Gala or other red apple, cored and cut into thin strips

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1½ teaspoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon celery seeds

Pinch of black pepper

  1. To make the pork, stir together the paprika, chili powder, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl.
  1. Cut the pork across the grain into 2-inch slices. Sprinkle the pork all over with half of the paprika mixture.
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
  1. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add the onion, and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining paprika mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  1. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar, and honey to the skillet and stir to mix well. Add the pork and any accumulated juices, reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender, about 25 minutes.
  1. Remove the skillet from the heat. Using 2 forks, shred the pork apart into chunks in the skillet. Stir to combine with the sauce.
  1. Meanwhile, to make the slaw, toss together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 hour. Serve the pork with the slaw.

Serves 4

Each serving (about ⅔ cup pork and about 1 cup slaw): 251 calories, 19 g carbohydrate, 13 g sugars, 8 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 74 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 26 g protein, 397 mg sodium

Get more about tips here about keeping track of the food you eat, whether at home or dining out, and your total nutrition throughout the day.

Jackie Mills is a registered dietitian who develops recipes for such national magazines as Cooking Light and Family Circle, as well as for books such as the American Medical Association Type 2 Diabetes Cookbook. She was formerly the food editor at Redbook magazine. Mills is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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