Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Warm Cajun Grain Salad

We love the plump and tender grains of spelt (a member of the wheat family) in this warm Cajun-inspired salad. The dish goes great with pork chops, but also try it with grilled chicken or blackened fish.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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3/4 cup spelt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small green bell pepper, cut into thin 1-inch strips 

4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces, white and green parts separated

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley

Kosher salt

4 bone-in pork chops, each about 3/4-inch-thick and 8 ounces

Lemon wedges and Louisiana-style hot sauce for serving, optional


  1. Combine the spelt with 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until most of the water is absorbed and the grains are tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. (The spelt can be cooked up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, scallion whites, celery and Canadian bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the ham is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the spelt, tomatoes, scallion greens, parsley and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until the spelt and tomatoes are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a medium bowl and cover to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet.
  3. Sprinkle the pork chops all over with the remaining 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the empty skillet over medium-high heat. Nestle the pork chops in the skillet snuggly. Cook until nicely browned on both sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each registers 140 degrees F, about 4 minutes per side.
  4. Divide the pork chops among four plates. Serve with the warm grain salad, and with wedges of lemon and hot sauce on the side if using.
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