Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce

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50 MIN


238 g


63 g


1830 kcal


30 g


294 mg


16 g



pork tenderloin

900 g

fennel seeds

1 tbsp, whole


2 tsp

crushed red pepper

1 tsp


1 tsp


1/2 tsp

ground black pepper

1/2 tsp, ground

minced garlic

4 cloves

olive oil ( or more )

2 tablespoon

sage ( for garnish, optional )

1 tbsp

cranberries ( fresh )

6 wt. oz

apple cider ( or apple juice )

1/4 cup


1 tbsp

pinot noir ( or other red wine (optional) )

1 tbsp

cinnamon sticks

1 stick

ground ginger

1/4 tsp


1/4 tsp

orange zest ( Zest of one small orange and its juice )

20 g

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce

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  • 5 (1)


Step 1 (Pork Tenderloin)

Roast fennel seeds and red pepper in a frying pan until just starting to brown and are very fragrant.

Step 2 (Pork Tenderloin)

Combine fennel and red pepper with all other dry spices in a mortar and pestle and crush until fairly fine.

Step 3 (Pork Tenderloin)

Add garlic and olive oil to the spice mixture to form a thick paste.

Step 4 (Pork Tenderloin)

Rub spice mixture onto pork tenderloin on all sides and let sit 30 minutes. Tenderloin can be seasoned and placed in fridge up to a day in advance if desired.

Step 5 (Pork Tenderloin)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Step 6 (Pork Tenderloin)

While the oven is preheating, sear tenderloin in a lightly greased skillet on all sides. Use an ovenproof skillet (like cast iron) if possible to save time on clean-up.

Step 7 (Pork Tenderloin)

Roast tenderloin in an ovenproof skillet or on a baking sheet until internal temp reaches 145 degrees, approx. 40 minutes.

Step 8 (Pork Tenderloin)

Take tenderloin out of the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Step 9 (Pork Tenderloin)

To serve, slice into discs, plate, and top with cranberry sauce.

Step 1 (Cranberry Sauce)

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.

Step 2 (Cranberry Sauce)

Bring to a boil and let simmer 10 min.

Step 3 (Cranberry Sauce)

Stir and smash the cranberries when they start to pop.

Step 4 (Cranberry Sauce)

Remove cinnamon stick before serving.

Step 5 (Cranberry Sauce)

Sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in the fridge or can be frozen until ready to reheat and serve.

The simple sight of fruitcake or Swedish rosettes brings me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen filled with the assortment of goodies and the scent of a holiday meal being cooked. The festive mood in the room was filled with anticipation waiting for Christmas morning. Christmas Eve holds just as much excitement for me as an adult, and I’m still grinning with pure joy on Christmas morning. We often celebrated our holiday with gifts to each other on the night of Christmas Eve, but it would always have to wait until our meal was made, eaten, and dishes were complete. My grandmother would always make us a home-cooked meal on Christmas Eve along with my aunts, and though she has passed, the tradition continues with a special feast on the night before Christmas.

There is such enjoyment that comes from creating a meal together, especially when you experience it as a family. It can, however, be stressful to bring a healthful spread to the table that still holds the nostalgia of the holidays as well as maintains your current eating goals as an athlete or health-conscious family.

For this holiday, leave the stress behind with a simple menu that will leave everyone content and able to enjoy the rest of the day or night with loved ones. Roasted pork tenderloin is both delicious and warming with a comforting porchetta style spice blend topped with a traditional cranberry sauce. The other meal components include an easy sweet potato soufflé and a festive Brussels sprouts sauté that can be put together in minutes. For dessert, we’re complementing our meal with mulled wine poached pears topped with blue cheese and walnuts. The whole meal will take you about 1.5 to 2 hours to cook if only one person is doing the cooking. I’ve included a sequence of how to manage all of the cooking at the end of the recipes. You can save time by baking the sweet potatoes and making the cranberry sauce and pears the day before as well as seasoning the tenderloin in advance. From my family to yours, I wish you the happiest and healthiest of holidays!

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