Island Pork Tenderloin Salad

After some long, fun, tiring, and memorable trips to see our families in Vermont and Minnesota, my exhausted husband and I arrived at the Minneapolis airport this past week with our equally tired 7 month old, ready to go home and sleep in our own bed. (And crib.) 

Check-in woman from a certain airline that shall remain nameless (it is the opposite of Northeast) gets our luggage tags and starts weighing our bags. 

48 lbs. . . 33 lbs. . . 40 lbs. . . . The last bag gets hoisted onto the scale and it comes out at 54 lbs. I see this and think, "Surely she won't make us shuffle our luggage for four pounds. Surely she'll realize we are well below the max for our other bags and let this slide. Right?"


Thus began a stressful and embarrassing foray into packing in public. We start unzipping all our bags and reshuffling all our stuff, underwear and bras included, in front of a group of strangers waiting to check in. Part of me didn't know whether to be mad at myself for not weighing the bags ahead of time or mad at the airline employee for so strictly enforcing the rule. Let's just say I wasn't blaming myself at the time.

Fast forward to baggage claim and finding that not one, but two of our suitcases had split open in transit (Imagine watching the baggage on the carousel and thinking, "My daughter has that dress. . . Hey! That's my daughter's dress!") and you can see why I was so happy to be home from that trip. And so annoyed with the certain airline that shall remain nameless. 

If there was someone who felt like they needed a nice tropical break from life this week, it was me. I had to settle for an Island pork tenderloin salad.

I've said before that I'm a salad lover and especially salad-as-a-main-dish lover, but I think even without my bias I'd be extolling the virtues of this salad. Yes, you might be burnt on on eating/seeing/hearing about salads this time of year with all the New Year's resolutions floating around, but this is one recipe that you'll keep to make again and again, resolutions intact or not. It's that good.

One thing I love about it this recipe is that it is something different. I'm a fan of a chicken Caesar salad or a chicken/strawberry/poppyseed salad as much as the next person, but it's nice every once in a while to mix in something with different flavors/textures.With the sweet/spicy pork and and the crispy Napa cabbage, sweet/sour oranges and a great curry dressing, this definitely fits the bill. The pork on its own is fabulous, but paired with the ingredients in this salad it definitely has a "wow" factor.

Before you scroll down to the recipe, I will warn you that the ingredient list is long. Dauntingly long. But let me ease your mind by saying that it isn't nearly as labor intensive as it may seem. The rub for the pork and the vinaigrette make up the bulk of the ingredients and both come together very quickly. A lot of the prep work is done while other ingredients are cooking/resting so it is efficient. And the end result is so deliciously tasty that you won't be sad you spent the time on it.

Island Pork Tenderloin Salad

HeatOvenTo350 Published 01/04/2013
Island Pork Tenderloin Salad


For Pork:
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco
For Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
For Salad:
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (from one medium head)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 firm-ripe California avocados


  1. Prepare Pork: Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat pork with spice rub.
  2. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in skillet.
  3. Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat onto top of each tenderloin. Roast in middle of oven until thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140°F, about 20 minutes. Let pork stand in skillet at room temperature 10 minutes. (Temperature will rise to about 155°F while standing.)
  4. Make vinaigrette while pork roasts: Whisk together juices, mustard, curry powder, salt, honey, and pepper, then add oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified.
  5. Prepare salad ingredients while pork stands: Cut peel, including white pith, from oranges with a sharp knife, then cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Toss spinach, cabbage, bell pepper, and raisins in a large bowl with about 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Halve, pit, and peel avocados, then cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  6. Assemble salad: Cut pork at a 45-degree angle into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Line a large platter with dressed salad and arrange sliced pork, oranges, and avocados in rows on top. Drizzle some vinaigrette over avocados and oranges. Pour any juices from skillet over pork.
Yield: 6-8 main dish servings
Prep Time:30 min
Cook time:35 min
Recipe Source: adapted from Gourmet magazine via Epicurious.com

2 Click For Comments:

Omg, I can't believe that happened to you!!! That check-in woman was ridiculous! I would have asked to see her manager. So dumb. I would have seriously flipped if my suitcases split open. Good lord, you must have needed a vacation to relax from your trip home from vacation, hehe.

This salad sounds so flavorful and delicious. I've never thought to add curry to dressing, but sounds amazing. Happy New Year, Nicole!!

This salad looks awesome! I love pork tenderloin and having it over this salad sounds amazing!

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover