When it comes to busy weeks, you basically have two choices: Roll with the punches and let the week’s activities dictate what you’ll throw together for dinner or have a (flexible) plan in place that allows you to call the punches. After years of the former, I’m not a firm believer in the latter.
The herbed-mustard rub can be prepped up to 3 days in advance as can the veggies so when it’s time to make dinner magic, everything just needs to be assembled on a sheet pan and popped into the oven to roast while you take care of more pressing issues. Or just stop for a big in-breath.
Lean protein for the win.
Since bacon comes from pigs, many people assume that all cuts of pork are high in fat which just isn’t true. In fact, certain cuts of pork are quite lean and are a great alternative to chicken when you want to change things up a bit. Pork is so flavorful on its own but when combined with an herbed-mustard rub, earthy Brussels and sweet apples it’s the perfect dish for fall and winter (and spring…and summer!)
So if it’s lean, versatile protein that you’re after, look for these cuts the next time you’re at the store:
- Sirloin pork chop
- Bone-in rib pork chop
- Bone-in center pork chop (Porterhouse chop)
- Boneless top loin hop (New York pork chop)
- Boneless top loin roast (New York pork roast)
- Pork tenderloin
Keep in mind that lean, whole cuts of pork like those listed are best when cooked to an internal temperature of 145℉. So get yourself an inexpensive instant-read thermometer for perfectly-cooked pork every time.
One-Pan Pork Loin with Brussels and Apples
- 1 – 1 ¼ lb. pork loin*, patted dry (It works best to use a loin that isn’t super thick – about 3 inches in diameter works best to get meat and veggies done at the same time)
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon or spicy brown mustard
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (may substitute 1 tsp. dried rosemary, lightly crushed)
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (may substitute ¾ tsp. dried thyme leaves)
- ¾ tsp. salt, divided
- ¾ tsp. black pepper, divided
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half if large
- 2 medium apples (such as Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Pink Lady/Cripps), cut into ¾-inch chunks
- 1 small red onion, cut into ½-inch thick slices
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- To make the rub, combine mustard, 1 Tbsp. oil, maple syrup (if using), garlic, rosemary, thyme, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper in a small bowl.
- Place the pork loin in the center of the baking sheet and rub with the mustard mixture, coating all sides.
- Add Brussels, apples, and onions to the baking sheet around the pork loin. Drizzle vegetables with 1 Tbsp. oil, sprinkle with ¼ tsp. each of salt and pepper and toss well to coat.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, tossing vegetables halfway through cooking time. Pork loin is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 145℉ when inserted into the thickest part.
- When pork is done, remove the baking sheet from the oven, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing pork and serving with roasted veggies.
*A thick pork tenderloin may also be used in place of a pork loin though it may cook faster and you may need to remove it from the pan and return the vegetables to the oven to finish cooking depending on the size of the tenderloin.