This easy pistachio crusted pork tenderloin has a beautiful combination of flavors and wonderful texture from the nuts. Roasted sweet potatoes make the perfect side, and the whole recipe cooks in one-skillet, so you can even make this on a busy weeknight!
Disclosure: I received free samples of Wonderful Pistachios mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Pork tenderloin is a favorite at our house. It's a lean meat that cooks quickly and and is super tender and juicy when it's not over-cooked. It took me a long time to learn how to cook this cut of meat without drying it out, but now I've got it down with a simple method that produces the perfect tenderloin every time! And for this recipe, I used pistachios blended with a few simple spices to make an amazing, crunchy crust that was a huge hit with my family!
Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts because they have a distinct, slightly sweet flavor, beautiful green and purple coloring coming from their antioxidants, and can be used in a variety of ways for both sweet and savory dishes when cooking. And did you know they are actually known as "The Skinny Nut" because they're one of the lowest calorie and lowest fat nut options?
They're also one of the highest in protein and fiber content for nuts, and when it comes to finding healthy snacks, in-shell pistachios are a great option I often recommend to clients because they may help you "fool yourself full" because the leftover shells help provide a visual cue for portions, helping you stop sooner than if you ate shelled pistachios or other nuts.
For this recipe, I used shelled pistachios. The pistachios become the crust by being pulsed in the food processor with some salt, pepper, dried mustard, and sage, which is one of my favorite pairings for pork. A touch of orange marmalade provides the sticky and sweet "glue" to keep the pistachios on the pork, and the slight sweetness from it blends beautifully with the flavor from the nuts and pork.
Here's the method for getting the perfectly cooked pork and the potatoes:
While the oven is preheats to 450 degrees, the cast iron skillet or roasting pan goes into the oven with a teaspoon of oil so it gets hot enough to sear the bottom of the meat and sweet potatoes. Once the pork is coated with the pistachio crust and the sweet potatoes are coated with the oil mixture, carefully place the meat into the hot pan with the potatoes all around it, and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
At that point, reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook the tenderloin for about 15 more minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees on a meat thermometer (the temperature will continue to rise to the perfect 145-150 degree range after removing it from the oven). I highly recommend using a meat thermometer for pork tenderloin. It takes that guessing element out of the picture and prevents you from having a dry, chewy piece of pork.
The sweet potatoes should be just about done when the pork is finished, but if for any reason they're still a little under done, the pork can be removed from the pan and the potatoes can go back into the oven for a few more minutes until they're tender.
And while you might be tempted to cut into the pork and start eating right away, it really needs to sit and rest for about 10 minutes so it stays nice and juicy on the inside. Then slice the pork and serve alongside the potatoes for the perfect, delicious dinner!
One-Skillet Pistachio Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Makes about 6 servings
- 1 pork tenderloin, about 2 pounds
- 4 ounces shelled Wonderful Pistachios (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil, plus one teaspoon for the pan
- salt and pepper to taste for the sweet potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is preheating place a large cast iron skillet or roasting pan in the oven with 1 teaspoon of the oil.
- Place the pistachios, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, dried sage, and ground mustard in a food processor and pulse until the pistachios are a small course texture. Alternately, you can place the ingredients in a sealed plastic bag and use a rolling pin or heavy skillet to crush the pistachios.
- Pour the pistachio mixture onto a large plate.
- Coat the outside of the pork tenderloin with the orange marmalade, then roll the meat in the pistachio mixture, making sure to press the pistachios into the meat, and coat it on all sides.
- In a small bowl, combine sweet potatoes, remaining tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
- Once the oven has preheated, remove the pan and place the pork tenderloin in the center, with the potatoes around it. Cook for 10 minutes, give the potatoes a slight stir, and reduce the heat to 400 degrees.
- Bake for about 15 more minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 140-145 degrees. Remove the tenderloin from the pan and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. The potatoes should be tender, but if they aren't completely done, put them back in the oven until they are tender.
- Slice the pork tenderloin just before serving. If the meat is cooked to 140-145 degrees, there will be a very slight pink color in the middle. Serve with the sweet potatoes on the side.
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