Thai Pork Tenderloin Salad with Napa Cabbage

I received the most beautiful Napa cabbage in my CSA share this week. The leaves are so tender, and yet crunchy, they are absolutely perfect for a salad. This dish caught my eye because it was so colorful, bright with flavor, healthy, and a little bit “out of the box” for me.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I am bringing it to share at Fiesta Friday #88, co-hosted by Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, & Spoons. Happy October!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


For the Marinade & Dressing:

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
  • ⅔ cup minced shallots (about 4 shallots)
  • ⅔ cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar, separated
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced in a garlic press
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
  • Juice and zest of 4 limes
  • 3-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1 to 2 Thai bird, serrano or jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and minced


For the Salad:

  • 8 cups Napa or regular cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a large head)
  • 5 whole scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 small Kirby or Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups cilantro leaves
  • 1 ½ cups mint leaves (I omitted the mint)
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 ¼ cups roasted cashews or peanuts, toasted and chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut chips or large flakes, toasted, optional

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine shallot, cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, garlic, soy sauce, peanut or grapeseed oil, lime zest and juice, grated ginger, fish sauce, salt and chile. Pulse to mince the shallots, cilantro, garlic, and chiles- as well as to combine the mixture.
  2. Remove three-quarters of the mixture; reserve to use as the dressing. Add the remaining 3 T sugar and purée until a smooth, loose paste forms. This is the marinade.
  3. Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Place tenderloin in a large bowl and spread the paste all over pork. Marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours; turn the tenderloin occasionally. (I marinated the meat for 12 hours in the refrigerator.)
  4. Light the grill or heat the broiler and arrange a rack at least 4 inches from the heat. (Mine was about 6 inches away.) Grill or broil pork, turning occasionally, until well browned and meat reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees, 4 to 10 minutes per side depending upon the heat of your broiler or grill. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook. Let meat rest while you prepare the salad. (Or, cook the pork 1 or 2 hours ahead and serve it at room temperature.)
  5. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients, reserving the herbs, cashews and coconut. (I omitted the coconut.)
  6. Whisk the dressing and use just enough to dress the salad, tossing to combine. Let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to meld, then right before serving, add herbs and toss again.
  7. To serve, slice the pork. Arrange salad on a platter or serving plates and top with sliced pork. Scatter cashews and coconut on top, drizzle with a little more of the remaining dressing, to taste, if desired.

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Palestinian Chicken

As much as I love trying new recipes, we made a gold standard summer meal for friends the other night. Palestinian chicken with Israeli couscous– we make it at least once a summer.

The whole milk Greek yogurt based marinade really makes the entire dish. It’s moist, tangy, and very flavorful with the addition of many spices. I have made it in the past with plain whole milk yogurt and with low-fat Greek yogurt but I was not as pleased with the results  – whole milk Greek yogurt is perfect. Simple and tasty- the kids enjoyed it too.

This recipe was adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen. I recommend doubling the recipe. 🙂

  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  1. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, and cloves in a non-reactive baking dish.  (I use glass.) Whisk to blend.
  2. Add the chicken breasts or thighs, coat each completely with marinade, and arrange in one layer.
  3. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator, 4 hours to overnight. (The longer the better.)
  4. Preheat the grill. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Remove the chicken from the baking dish and grill until cooked through.

Filipino Adobo Grilled Chicken

IMG_4564

We served this dish to friends for dinner and everyone– INCLUDING all of the KIDS- enjoyed it. 🙂 The adobo marinade is salty from the soy sauce and fish sauce; it’s tangy from the apple cider vinegar. It also has a little sweetness and a little spiciness. The original recipe called for two 3 1/2-pound chickens, cut into pieces. I substituted 20 boneless, skinless chicken thighs- so much easier. I marinaded the chicken for 24 hours. This was my first experience with star anise– it’s so pretty! This dish was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe.

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 5 whole star anise pods
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 20 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Canola oil, for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large, sturdy resealable plastic bag, combine all of the ingredients except the oil, salt and pepper. Shake to evenly distribute the chicken and adobo marinade; seal the bag, pressing out the air. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Pat the chicken dry and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, light a grill. Brush the chicken with oil and season with salt and black pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
IMG_4587

Apple Cider Barbecue Sauce

IMG_4209

Last summer I made North Carolina-Style pulled pork sandwiches with this apple cider barbecue sauce. I made TONS of sauce and we used the leftovers on grilled chicken thighs for the Fourth of July. They were so great that I made the barbecue sauce just for the Fourth of July chicken thighs this year! 🙂

This recipe is adapted from Martha’s American Food: A Celebration of Our Nation’s Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast by Martha Stewart. The chicken marinates in the sauce overnight. This recipe makes enough sauce to use on at least two occasions, and it keeps for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Makes 5 cups

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  1. In a small stockpot, bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.
  3. Sauce can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; let cool completely before transferring to airtight containers, and reheat over low before serving.

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