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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 27, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto

By Worker Bee
60 Comments

What drew us in to the pork recipe submitted by Susan Rosenberg (for the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest) was not the pork itself, although any meal involving pork tenderloin is bound to be good. The pork preparation is simple and straightforward, involving nothing more than searing medallions in a pan. It is what Susan serves with the tenderloin, a creamy variation of pesto with flavors ranging from slightly spicy and sweet to cool and pungent, that makes us swoon.

As much as we like this pesto with pork, we immediately started thinking about all the other foods we might pair it with. This led to mixing some pesto in with a little shredded cabbage that happened to be in the fridge, and the result was a killer coleslaw. It’s just as easy to imagine serving the pesto over steak or seafood. What, exactly, makes it so versatile? First of all, you’ve got to love cilantro, an aromatic herb that people tend to have very strong feelings about.

From a distance, cilantro can easily be mistaken for parsley, but when you look at cilantro closely, the leaves are flatter and more feathery. Cilantro has a perfumed (some might say soapy) aroma and fresh, clean flavor. Those who love it will put it on just about anything, although the cool flavor makes cilantro especially delicious with Asian, Indian and Mexican dishes. Those who hate cilantro won’t even let it come near their kitchen. If you fall into this category, try the pesto with a different herb, like mint or parsley. You might also consider joining the Facebook group “I Hate Cilantro,” where you can get moral support from more than 700 members.

But if you love cilantro, you’re not going to be able to get enough of this pesto. Although Susan’s right, a little bit goes a long way, so you can make one batch and save half for another meal. The rich texture and bold flavor add an addictive flavor to the pork tenderloin or whatever you choose to serve it with. While the flavor mostly comes from the cilantro and ginger, the almond butter and coconut milk add just the right amount of creaminess.

Marinade Ingredients:


  • 2 pounds of pork tenderloin
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Instructions:

Slice the tenderloin into rounds of 1-inch thickness. Mix oils and vinegar, add garlic and ginger.

Marinate the pork slices in a non-reactive glass container for at least 2 hours or overnight, turning at intervals to marinate both sides of the slices. When the pork is ready to cook, prepare the pesto below:

Pesto Ingredients:


  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or less, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 1/2 -1 cup coconut milk
  • sea salt to taste

Blend sauce ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth, adding coconut milk until preferred consistency is reached.

To cook the pork, heat some coconut oil, lard, or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly sear the slices, turning once, until just cooked through. Do not crowd the pan, cook in batches as needed so they sear and don’t steam.

Keep each batch warm in a warm oven or covered in foil wrap.

To serve: Put a few slices of pork on a plate with a little bit of pesto on each slice, or serve pesto on the side. (A little pesto goes a long way, flavor-wise.)

Serve with cooked greens with sesame seeds and sliced red peppers for a nice color combo.


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60 Comments on "Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto"

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XFitGuy82
XFitGuy82
6 years 7 months ago

FIRST! (sorry, I had to)

Also- I can’t take it, I’m making it tonight; it sounds too delicious to not enjoy right away!

Tara tootie
6 years 7 months ago

LOVE cilantro! Will be trying the pesto!

sb
sb
6 years 7 months ago

Newbie question – How long per side for the pork slices to cook through?

Mike
Mike
6 years 7 months ago

I like to do mine about 3.5-4 mins on each side on med-high heat. This works for about 1 inch thick cuts. The thicker the cut the lower the temp and longer the cook time.

And just to add to the recipie a little, not only should you only flip once but also, don’t move the meat around the pan a whole bunch. The crisp outer layer will give that awesome look and great flavor.

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[…] Original post by Mark Sisson […]

Sterling
6 years 7 months ago

Holy crap that looks good. I’m gonna make this soon, but may instead make regular pesto substituting the basil with the cilantro. Might also be good over chicken or a ribeye.

Jo
Jo
6 years 7 months ago

I hear coriander pesto is used for chelation, any thoughts?

Todd
6 years 7 months ago

So many awesome recipes here at marks daily apple. I can not wait to try this out. Need to buy some pork to make it true! Yummy 🙂

Suzanne
Suzanne
6 years 7 months ago

Looks yummy – but what could I substitute for the almond butter? (we’ve got assorted nut allergies in the house.)

sb
sb
6 years 7 months ago

you could try sunflower seed butter. i get mine at trader joes.

Hugh
6 years 7 months ago

Wow that looks awesome. I love cilantro, but not too keen on coconut milk, so I will try this w/o the milk and make a more basic pesto.

Alan M
Alan M
6 years 7 months ago

I think I did the right thing by buying your book AND a food processor. 🙂

Marisa
Marisa
6 years 7 months ago
In re: the almond butter substitution, you could omit it altogether and I think the dip/sauce would be just as tastey. Are you allergic to seeds? I am sure pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sesame seeds, and/or sunflower seeds (or any comination of those) would be a great substitution. Traditional pesto is made with pine nut-butter (pine nuts ground up with basil leaves, parmesan, garlic and olive oil). I prefer crispy pistachio nuts (soaked and dehydrated) in my pesto – 2 c. basil, 1/2 c. crispy (pistachio) nuts, 2-4 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, and 1/2-3/4 c. olive oil. I never… Read more »
Deanna
Deanna
6 years 7 months ago

I might try this the traditional pesto way, omitting the coconut milk. Depends on how I’m feeling when I finally make it. I don’t imagine it’ll be that long, though, given the pork in my freezer that’s still waiting for a recipe…

Now, the suggestion for a cilantro alternative mentioned mint. So there is part of me that is thinking this recipe, with mint instead of cilantro, and some lamb. Mmmmm… haven’t had lamb in too long!

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[…] Sunday – Rest Day! Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto […]

mick
mick
6 years 7 months ago

sounds great! I just discovered coconut milk again after years of following the low fat high carb western dogma!

I drink the stuff before working out! Cant wait to try this out.

mallory
6 years 7 months ago

i have been SEARCHING for uses of ginger….finallllllly found one! this looooks so yummy. i dnt have all the ingredients but ill make it work!

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[…] Pork with Cilantro Pesto […]

Christine
Christine
6 years 6 months ago

Thanks Susie for a great recipe. Didn’t have any pork on hand, but I made the pesto and added it to shredded cabbage with some cashews, a few raisins and sesame seeds. Yummy!

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[…] Pork tenderloin with cilantro pesto? Sounds delicious and […]

Melissa
Melissa
6 years 6 months ago
Made this last night and drizzled it over some pan seared pork chops and broiled asparagus – AMAZING! We added a little balalmic vinegar for a little something extra. My husband and I found this webiste a few weeks back and read the book this weekend. We’ve been living almost primal on and off for about a year now, but we recommitted ourselves this weekend. It was interesting that once we changed the way we looked at things, how big a difference it made in our mindset: We’ve been eating only locally raised and slaughtered meat for over 4 years… Read more »
s rice
s rice
4 years 1 month ago

I love how you think! 🙂

Adrienne Larocque
Adrienne Larocque
6 years 6 months ago

This looks so yummy – I can’t wait to try it!

Would love to have you share more recipes on the Nutrition and Metabolism Society facebook group. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=app_2373072738&gid=276354325431#!/topic.php?uid=276354325431&topic=14011 and post a link to your blog.

Thanks Mark!

Melissa
Melissa
6 years 6 months ago

I just made the pesto in preparation for tonight. I could literally eat it by the spoonful! So delicious! I can’t wait to put it on everything else in my fridge! THANK YOU!

Chaohinon
6 years 6 months ago

Maybe it’s already been mentioned, but I’ve found you can use the drippings of the meat as a base for the pesto sauce.

IE: finish the tenderloins, then de-glaze the leftover pan drippings with some wine (I use rice wine, it’s super cheap if you live near an asian market) and heavy cream, then add that back in to the pesto when you go to puree it.

Theresa
6 years 6 months ago

This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try this on the family!

andrew
andrew
6 years 6 months ago

for a slightly different take on cilantro sauce, i like chimichurri. it goes well on pork tenderloin as well:

1 cup packed parsley leaves
1.25 cups packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
3 serrano chiles (coarsely chopped)
5 cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup red wine or sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

put all ingredients in the order listed in a food processor or blender and puree; adjust seasonings if necessary to suit taste

PrimalWannabeGirl
PrimalWannabeGirl
6 years 6 months ago

Wow….I am really gratified to see how many people are enjoying this recipe!

I like to make a big batch of this pesto and use the extra as a dressing for cole slaw. Sprinkled with some sesame seeds, it’s like Asian cole slaw without the sweet restaurant dressing.

You don’t have to use almond butter, it’s a very forgiving recipe. Walnuts or pine nuts work just as well.

Bon appetit!
Susie

Jason
6 years 6 months ago

This was amazing! Thanks

Noah
Noah
6 years 6 months ago

Just a note on pork. It is not as dangerous as many are led to think if it is not cooked well done. Get a good fresh tenderloin and try cooking it Medium and you will find an amazing world of juicy flavor.

Todd
6 years 6 months ago

I made this last Sunday. Well, I made the pesto sauce with Chicken.

It is the best sauce I have ever had! I strongly recommend! Cilantro and coconut milk is awesome 🙂

alan
alan
6 years 6 months ago

I just made this last night and served it with cod- fantastic recipe. This stuff is so versatile I love it as a vegetable dip too, very versatile.

Jessica
6 years 6 months ago

I made this tonight and it was great! We didn’t use much of the pesto sauce as a little goes a long way, so I froze the extra in an ice cube tray. I do this whenever I make a sauce of any kind — it really helps cut down on meal prep times when all I have to do is cook the meat/fish/veggies and defrost a few cubes of whatever sauce we’re in the mood for.

Melisa
6 years 6 months ago

I haven’t read the book, so I maybe be speaking out of turn, but my only concern is the use of lard. (I don’t even know where I would find that…due to it’s bad rap I think it’s an illegal food product! LOL) Does everyone use lard as a good base? I prefer to use olive oil.

Erin Ely
6 years 6 months ago

wow, I made this the other night and it was delicious and the cilantro pesto is yummy.. I have been putting it on steamed veggies to. great dinner.

KikiSan
KikiSan
6 years 6 months ago

Ate this on Sunday. Fantastic! And easy! And did I mention fantastic?

We’re using the leftover pesto on anything we can find. Last night it was roasted asparagus. Tonight will probably be the final installation (sigh!) on roast green beans.

Definitely a keeper. Thanks for this!

Dineen
6 years 6 months ago

Made this pork dish on the weekend for my momsie and it was AH-MAH-ZING (and looked like a great cook)!

Could really taste the coconut and almond butter in the pesto. yum!

High recommendation!

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[…] cilantro pesto from Mark Sisson’s recipe […]

Mickey
Mickey
6 years 5 months ago

Any chance we can get nutritional information breakdown on this meal? Cals, fat grams, fiber, protein, etc?

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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple Pesto Sauce […]

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[…] Unlike the original homemade pesto can be anything you want them to be. After reading a recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple, I was inspired to try this cilantro pesto but I didn’t have many of the required […]

sarah
6 years 1 month ago

hmmm..

I’ve never heard of cilantro but it looks suspiciously like coriander? Is this another trans-atlantic language difference?

cool recipe though and loving the site..getting preparing and organising to hit this diet once I get paid!

Lena
Lena
6 years 15 days ago

This was amazing! and yes cilantro is coriander… 🙂

Vitamin
5 years 10 months ago

Ate this on Sunday. Fantastic! And easy! And did I mention fantastic?

We’re using the leftover pesto on anything we can find. Last night it was roasted asparagus. Tonight will probably be the final installation (sigh!) on roast green beans.

Definitely a keeper. Thanks for this!

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[…] 1, 2011 by The Foodee Pork Tenderloin w/Cilantro Pesto Marks Daily […]

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5 years 8 months ago

[…] Recipe of the Day: Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto – Marks Daily Apple […]

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[…] Recipe of the Day: Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto – Marks Daily Apple […]

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[…] From Mark’s Daily Apple. […]

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[…] Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto: Recipe Pork and the marinade were yummy. I liked the basil walnut pesto I made a few weeks back better […]

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[…] was subtle, so you could dress this up all sorts of ways. We drizzled ours with a little leftover cilantro pesto, and served it over some oven-roasted […]

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[…] basil. Pesto uses it. Thai cooks will sometimes stir-fry it. I like nibbling on raw leaves, from time to time. […]

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[…] with cooked greens with sesame seeds and sliced red peppers for a nice color combo. (Source: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/pork-tenderloin-with-cilantro-pesto/) Incoming search terms:asian coriander pesto recipe (3)Pork tenderloin with cilantro pesto […]

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[…] basil. Pesto uses it. Thai cooks will sometimes stir-fry it. I like nibbling on raw leaves, from time to time. […]

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