Robin's Healthy Take: Pork Tenderloin 3 Ways

Robin Miller's 3 favorite healthy weeknight pork recipes.

Chicken, chicken, chicken. Is that all we think about during the week? Poor pork. Especially super-lean pork tenderloin. It’s probably the most underutilized piece of meat on the shelf. Pork tenderloin is a fabulous blank canvas that couldn’t be easier to work with. No slicing, dicing or butterflying. Roast the whole tenderloin and you’ve got a delectable dinner in less than 30 minutes. Nutrient-dense pork is an excellent source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, and a good source of zinc and potassium. And check this out: pork tenderloin provides more vitamins and minerals than chicken and is as lean as skinless chicken breast. In fact, it actually meets the government guidelines for “extra lean.” And because the flavor of pork is mild, it works with spices from all over the globe. Check out my three favorite recipes for busy weeknight pork.

Note: Pork tenderloin often has a silverskin – a tough, shiny membrane layer on top – but that’s easily removed with a sharp knife.

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin (above)

I added a little brown sugar to this glaze to create a sweet, caramelized crust on the pork.

Cooking spray
1 pound pork tenderloin (1 large or 2 small tenderloins)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.

Season pork all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place in prepared pan. Set aside.

Whisk together Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, brown sugar and cumin. Spread mixture all over top and sides of pork.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 155º F (the temperature will continue to rise 5º F once the pork is removed from the oven). Let pork stand 5 minutes before slicing crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Top with parsley just before serving.

Serves 4
Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Hoisin Sauce

Make sure you buy pineapple canned in juice, not syrup, or the sauce will be too sweet.

Cooking spray
1 pound pork tenderloin (1 large or 2 small tenderloins)
8-ounce can pineapple tidbits in juice, drained
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.

Season pork all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place in prepared pan. Set aside.

Combine pineapple tidbits, hoisin sauce and sesame oil. Pour mixture all over pork. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 155º F (the temperature will continue to rise 5º F once the pork is removed from the oven). Let pork stand 5 minutes before slicing crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Top with cilantro just before serving.

Serves 4
Cranberry Barbecued Pork Tenderloin

These flavors also work well with turkey tenderloin.

Cooking spray
1 pound pork tenderloin (1 large or 2 small tenderloins)
14-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 cup chopped scallions

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.

Season pork all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place in prepared pan. Set aside.

Combine cranberry sauce, mustard and liquid smoke and mix well. Spoon mixture all over pork. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 155º F (the temperature will continue to rise 5º F once the pork is removed from the oven). Let pork stand 5 minutes before slicing crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Top with scallions just before serving.

Serves 4

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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