Juicy, tender Stuffed Pork Tenderloin is filled with a Mediterranean spinach and feta cheese blend and then covered in a tangy balsamic and rosemary sauce. Any home cook can make this gorgeous pork tenderloin recipe with restaurant-worthy results!
Pork Tenderloin: A Misunderstood Cut
Poor pork tenderloin. Can you imagine living under the shadow of bacon your whole life? Talk about feeling like the ugly duckling. While bacon has entire fan clubs dedicated to celebrating its goodness, pork tenderloin has faced a myriad of insults–too dry, too tough, too flavorless.
Here’s the deal. This stigma that we’ve given pork, it’s not the pork’s fault! Pork was never meant to be cooked to the dull, gray, lifeless color we’ve subjected it to for years.
So today, we stand up against this injustice. Why, you ask? Because, Pork tenderloin deserves better. That is why today I’m joining the Ohio Pork Council to shine a light on an under-appreciated cut of pork and show you how to treat a tenderloin right.
What’s the Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin?
First, a quick distinction. In today’s recipe we’ll be using a pork tenderloin, which is a long, narrow cut of pork taken from the muscle that runs along the backbone.
The pork tenderloin is a tender cut of meat that benefits from higher heat cooking for a short amount of time. Pork tenderloin is often sold in packages of two. Since this recipe only uses one pork tenderloin, I recommend freezing the second one or doubling the filling and glaze amounts to make two!
Pork loin (also known as a pork loin roast or center cut pork roast), on the other hand, is a wider cut of meat taken from the animal’s back. It benefits from a low and slow cooking time and is often used for Slow Cooker BBQ Pork.
Because of their different textures, I don’t recommend subbing pork loin for tenderloin or vice versa.
A Quick Rundown Of My Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Recipe
Alright, let’s get to the good stuff! This Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin packs a BIG flavor punch. If you’re feeling intimidated by stuffing the tenderloin, don’t fret! It’s easier than you think!
How To Stuff A Pork Tenderloin
There are a few ways to stuff a pork tenderloin, but I find the easiest way is:
- Slice the tenderloin in half lengthwise.
- Spread the filling down the center.
- Fold the meat over your filling and use some butcher string to tie the tenderloin together.
You can ask your butcher for string, but if you forget, just leave it off. The filling might pop out a bit more when you slice it, but it will still be absolutely delicious!
How to Make Mediterranean Pork
Once you’ve split the tenderloin, make the filling:
- Heat olive oil in a skillet along with some red pepper flakes and garlic.
- Add spinach and allow it to cook until wilted.
- Use paper towels to remove any excess moisture from the spinach.
- Combine the cooked spinach with feta, garlic, and sundried tomatoes for a filling that’s creamy, tangy, and subtly sweet.
Place the filling inside the split tenderloin, tie it up, then whisk together the ingredients for the glaze:
- Balsamic vineger
- Lemon Zest
- Dijon Mustard
- Salt and pepper
Spread the glaze on top, place your tenderloin in a baking pan, and you’re ready to roast!
I prefer to bake the pork at high heat for 15 minutes, then lower to 350 for the remaining cooking time. This results in an outrageously tender and juicy pork tenderloin that’s full of bright Mediterranean flavors.
Can Pork Tenderloin Be Pink? What Should Pork Tenderloin Look Like When It’s Done?
Don’t be afraid of pink pork! A pork tenderloin’s flavor and texture shines the brightest when its cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit and left with a gorgeous rosy blush of pink.
Because pork tenderloin is a lean cut, it’s important not to overcook it. When cooked properly, a pork tenderloin will be tender and very juicy–a showstopper worthy of a dinner party or holiday but easy enough for a weeknight family meal.
Other Tips That Can Save Your Bacon (…or Tenderloin)
If you haven’t picked up a meat thermometer yet, I highly recommend adding it to your wish list. It makes all the difference in cooking juicy pork, exactly medium steaks, and even the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.
Every oven and cut of meat is different, so a meat thermometer is the most reliable, consistent tool you have to cook your meats. And remember, you can always place a piece of meat back in the oven (or the skillet), but you can never bring it back from it’s gray, lifeless grave once it’s overcooked!
What to Serve with Pork Tenderloin
Pork Like The Pros
To find out more about the Ohio Hog Farmers, you can like their Facebook page where they post tips and recipes using all your favorite pork products (yes, there’s bacon. Lots of bacon).
I hope you’ll try this Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, or at the very least, give pork a starring role at your next family gathering and help spread the word about #PinkPork. Together, we can stop pork bullying, leave dry overcooked pork in the past, and be on our way to a juicier, more flavorful future!
This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council and Ohio Soybean Council. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
- 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
For the filling:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 5 cups packed baby spinach
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 a 7 ounce container sundried tomatoes packed in oil (About 6 tomato pieces), chopped
- 3 ounces feta cheese
For the coating:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
For the filling:
- Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes and grate the 3 cloves of garlic into the oil. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and allow it to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt then remove the mixture from heat. Place the spinach mixture in a paper towel and squeeze gently (be careful, it's hot!) to release any excess moisture. Place the spinach in a small bowl and stir in chopped tomatoes and feta cheese. Set aside.
For the topping:
- Combine balsamic, oil, mustard, rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Slice the tenderloin down the middle lengthwise, leaving just about a 1/2 inch intact on one side. Open the top half and lay it flat. Spread the spinach mixture evenly down the center of the loin. Fold the top half back in place and use butcher's string to tie it together in 3-4 places. Place the pork loin in a roasting pan then smear all sides with the topping.
- Roast the tenderloin for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and roast an additional 20-30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the loin reads at least 145 degrees. Allow the pork to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 463 Total Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 143mg Carbohydrates: 13g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 50g