Tell me that this dish doesn’t sound ooh la la. Trust me, it’s one that will make your guests want to eat with their pinkies up while you smile and know that it took like no effort whatsoever. I’ll keep your secret. I promise. 😉
I used to make pork chops and I was always disappointed because they were low in fat and calories but they tended to turn out pretty dry and tough. I’ve learned a few tricks now to make them better, but in the meantime I discovered the joys of pork tenderloin. Sheesh, it’s rare that I bother with a chop now after finding this well kept secret.
One pound of tenderloin gives you 4 quick and great tasting meals. This recipe tasted amazing and took the amount of effort of tossing some spices, chopping some herbs, and rubbing it on the tenderloin. Once it’s cooked, you can slice it into rounds, use it in wraps, toss it on salads, make tacos with it. Or you can eat leftovers cold with your fingers like I just did. Don’t judge. 🙂
Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herb Crust
- 16 oz pork tenderloin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp coarse salt, like kosher salt or Himalayan sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil. In a small dish or bowl, mix the paprika, cinnamon, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Rub the tenderloin with the spice mixture to coat well on all sides. Place the tenderloin in the baking dish and roast at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove tenderloin from the oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes so that you can handle it without burning yourself. Once the tenderloin has cooled slightly, press the chopped basil over the outside to coat well. Slice into rounds and serve.
Makes 4 servings at approximately 124 calories – 21g protein, 1g carbs, 3g fat.
Experiment with the fresh herbs if you don’t like basil. Thyme, cilantro, or a mixture of herbs would be perfect. You can use plain paprika here if that’s what you have, or you can get fancy with your paprika if you like. I have bourbon smoked paprika that I used. Between that and the smell of cinnamon while the tenderloin baked, I kept thinking about Ikea and their cinnamon rolls. It smelled a lot like that wafting through the kitchen.
Since I’m a multitasker while I cook, I cut an eggplant into cubes and put them in the pan around the tenderloin as it cooked. The pan juices added flavor to the eggplant, and everything was done at the same time. Feel free to layer some veggies around it to save yourself a bit of time. I also had a sense of satisfaction. The eggplant and the basil were grown in my very own garden. I have to say it was pretty cool to walk outside and pick part of dinner.
Next up on my backyard bucket list, chickens for fresh eggs. Now that would be cool.