Aug 19
2013

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw

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Make school night dinners a breeze with these slow cooker shredded barbecue chicken sandwiches, topped with a light kefir cilantro slaw. Thanks to Green Valley Organics for sponsoring this post and helping me to share this recipe with you.
Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw | cookincanuck.com #chicken #slowcooker

I’m going to talk about healthy school dinners because I am not emotionally equipped yet to talk about my oldest son heading off to middle school and my youngest son to grade 4 today. That will come on another day, accompanied by shameless pleas for sympathetic comments and reassurances.

Instead, I am pulling out my slow cooker and cooking up some shredded chicken, with a lower-sugar barbecue sauce, all topped off with a light kefir cilantro slaw. What’s kefir, you ask? Read on, my friends. In the meantime, I’ll tell you that my whole family loved this meal. The kids asked me to pack the leftovers of both the chicken and the slaw in their lunch boxes. Stamp of approval.

(An aside: For more healthy school night dinner recipes, check out this Pinterest board. It’s filled with all sorts of fantastic ideas from some of my favorite bloggers.

I chose to make my own barbecue sauce because I find that many of the store-bought versions are much higher in sugar. This one is healthier and, I swear, only takes 5 minutes to make. That being said, if you are really short on time (believe me, I’ve been there), use the store-bought stuff. No judgement here. This is supposed to be a quick meal for busy school nights. Do what you need to do to make that happen.

I used chicken thighs (skinless and fat trimmed) in this recipe because I find that they add more flavor and moisture than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I’m here to stand up for the lowly chicken thigh. If you don’t feel the same, feel free to substitute chicken breasts for the thighs.

Now let’s talk about the kefir.

Last summer I made Grilled Curry & Kefir Marinated Chicken with Fresh Corn Salsa and fell in love with the light, tangy taste of kefir, which is a cultured fermented milk.

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw | cookincanuck.com #chicken #slowcooker

The kefir from Green Valley Organics is gluten-free and lactose-free, so is a good option for people with dietary restrictions.

Besides the taste and health benefits of the kefir, I feel great about feeding my family Green Valley Organics, and Redwood Hill Farm (their sister farm), products for other reasons. First of all, all of the kefirs, yogurts, sour creams and cheeses are free of artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors and preservatives.

Not only that, but both the goat and cow dairies used for these products are Certified Humane. That means happy cows and goats. In addition, Green Valley Organics and Redwood Hill Farm are committed to the environment, as evidenced by their commitment to recycling and their use of solar energy. These people do things well. Really well.

Green Valley Organics and Redwood Hill Farm products can be found at Whole Food Markets and other health food and specialty stores. To learn more about the products, visit the sites or follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

The sauce:

Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw | cookincanuck.com #chicken #slowcooker

Add the ketchup, cider vinegar, molasses, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Whisk to combine. Heat the sauce until simmering.

The chicken:

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Place the chicken into the bottom of a large slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw | cookincanuck.com #chicken #slowcooker

Pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and turn to coat.

Set the slow cooker to LOW and cook until the chicken is tender, about 4 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and toss to coat with the sauce.

The slaw:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Kefir, cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw | cookincanuck.com #chicken #slowcooker

In a large bowl, toss together the green and purple cabbage, shredded carrot and cilantro. Toss to coat with the dressing.

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw | cookincanuck.com #chicken #slowcooker

Pour the dressing over the slaw mixture and toss to coat.
!Putting it together:
Place one hamburger bun half on each of 8 plates.

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken Recipe with Kefir Cilantro Slaw | cookincanuck.com #chicken #slowcooker

Top each with 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture and 1/2 cup of the slaw. Serve.

Other recipes using Redwood Hill/Green Valley Organic kefir or yogurt:

Recipes with Kefir {Lactose-Free} | cookincanuck.com
Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Curry & Kefir Marinated Chicken with Fresh Corn Salsa
Cookin’ Canuck’s Lemon, Yogurt, Berry & Ginger Whole Wheat Quick Bread
The Shiksa in the Kitchen’s Mushroom, Harissa & Goat Cheese Frittata
Oh Sweet Basil’s Grilled Kefir Chicken
Nancy Creative’s Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with Kefir

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken with Kefir Cilantro Slaw
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
Serves: Serves 8
Ingredients
The sauce:
  • ½ tsp canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ chipotle pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce
The chicken:
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed (about 6 thighs)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp canola oil
The slaw:
  • ⅓ cup Green Valley Organics (Redwood Hill) plain kefir
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground pepper
  • ¼ small green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)
  • ¼ small purple cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
Instructions
The sauce:
  1. Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the ketchup, cider vinegar, molasses, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Whisk to combine. Heat the sauce until simmering.
The chicken:
  1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Place the chicken into the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  4. Pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and turn to coat.
  5. Set the slow cooker to LOW and cook until the chicken is tender, about 4 hours.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and toss to coat with the sauce.
The slaw:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Kefir, cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the green and purple cabbage, shredded carrot and cilantro. Toss to coat with the dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the slaw mixture and toss to coat.
Putting it together:
  1. Place one hamburger bun half on each of 8 plates. Top each with ½ cup of the chicken mixture and ½ cup of the slaw. Serve.
Notes
Calories 248.6 / Total Fat 4.8g / Saturated Fat 0.9g / Cholesterol 43.4mg / Sodium 835.1mg / Total Carbohydrates 33.9g / Fiber 4.3g / Sugars 16.1g / Protein 15.8g / WW (Old Points) 5 / WW (Points+) 6
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ hamburger bun, ½ c chicken mixture, ½ c sl Calories: 249 cal Fat: Total Fat 4.8g / Saturated Fat 0.9g

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 19, 2013 at 6:25 am

I’ve never heard of certified humane but I love it. Kefir is so good for us.

I always hated first day of school too. A dinner from the slow cooker on that day would have been very welcome. Your sandwich looks smashing.

Reply

2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) August 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

Maureen, certified humane is a special certification here in the U.S. Here’s more information: http://www.greenerchoices.org/eco-labels/label.cfm?LabelID=272

I’m definitely looking forward to making these meal on future school days!

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3 Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective August 19, 2013 at 7:09 am

Great weeknight recipe, Dara! Thanks for sharing!

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4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) August 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

Thanks, Sommer. It was a winner in our house, for certain.

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5 Tieghan August 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

This is so yummy! I love that you used kefir! I have yet to try it, but now I cannot wait!

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6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) August 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thanks, Tieghan. The kefir has a fantastic flavor and is very versatile with cooking. The flavored versions are great for both cooking and drinking!

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7 carrian August 19, 2013 at 7:33 am

that sounds amazing!!!

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8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) August 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thanks, Carrian. Thankfully, my kids approved.

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9 Liz @ The Lemon Bowl August 19, 2013 at 7:41 am

Love chipotle peppers!! And I’m digging this slaw and kefir…my husband drinks blueberry flavored but I love the idea of getting plain for cooking. YUM!

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10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) August 19, 2013 at 10:00 am

Thanks, Liz. I’ll have to try the blueberry one. The kefir really is so versatile for cooking, and I’m determined to keep it stocked in my fridge from now on.

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11 Nutmeg Nanny August 19, 2013 at 9:07 am

Oh goodness, I am drooling over here this looks so full of flavor!! What a perfect recipe!

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12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) August 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

Thanks, Brandy! We loved the smoky, sweet flavors of the chicken with the light slaw.

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13 Holly August 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

This is our first school night tonight, I just returned from dropping off my 3rd grader. I still have one more year at home with my 4 year old and can’t believe kindergarten is looming around the corner! This recipe is just what the chicken thighs in my freezer are meant to be– will thaw them and make this shredded chicken this week. Thanks!

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14 cassie August 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

What a clever slaw, Dara. I love the sound of this meal!

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15 Liz August 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Nice recipe. Thank you.

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16 Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg August 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Oh this looks good! I don’t have kids but me and my husband will enjoy this!

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17 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel August 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

In love with this!! So perfect for the busy back to school days.

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18 Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 19, 2013 at 11:09 pm

This looks like such a great weeknight meal and I love how fresh and vibrant your slaw is!

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19 Amanda August 20, 2013 at 6:31 am

I have never heard of keifer in shredded BBQ and I have to tell you… I am FASCINATED by the idea of it!!! Since I have never been able to stomach the taste, this is such a fabulous way to get it! You. Rock. :)

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20 Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper August 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

This sounds really tasty. I love kefir!

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21 Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness August 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

This looks so yummy! Thanks for a quick weeknight dinner recipe!! :)

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22 Liren August 23, 2013 at 9:54 am

Delicious! The use of kefir is fantastic – I must try that (I’ve never tried, can you believe?). And don’t get me started on the little ones starting, sob! I’m also coping with having a 5th and 2nd grader. When the heck did that happen??

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23 Jess S. @ Floptimism August 24, 2013 at 10:20 am

I like that you stand up for the “lowly” chicken thigh – I’m big into boring white meat most of the time but every so often I really enjoy a good thigh. If we eat red meat and cheese and other forms of saturated fat every once in a while, why crucify a little bit of dark meat chicken now and then?

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24 Danica September 17, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Chicken recipes should be really included on my lists since it is easier to prepare and healthy as well. I would love to try this one for my family and friends as well.

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