Pork Tenderloin with Five Spices and a Simple Salad


I’m always impressed with the versatility of pork. With so many ways to cook it, I never tire of it. I like cooking Pork Tenderloin because it cooks relatively quick and is generally more moist and tender than the center cut of pork loin. This time, I used a dry rub of Five Spice Powder. This spice mix can be easily found at your local Asian grocery store. However, I prefer to make my own as I can be sure of the quality of the individual spices.

I like simple salads. I do love to add color but I don’t necessarily want an edible rainbow either. This salad is simple, elegant, and has a pop of color coming from the pomegranate seeds. Here, the only dressing you need is olive oil and lemon juice.




I like eating something soft and creamy with pork so these Yukon Gold mashed potatoes definitely fit the bill. I plated them on a bed of sauteéd swiss chard. Swiss chard isn’t as commonly used as spinach, but its taste is very similar to me. Like spinach, it’s also chock full of vitamins and nutrients. And in the world of vegetables, it’s quite the looker with it’s sexy, red stem and lush, green leaves.





INGREDIENTS: (6 servings)

  • Pork Tenderloin (approx. 2.5 lbs)
  • 1 Tbl. five spice powder*
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 Tbl. butter
  • S & P
  • 1 large bundle of swiss chard, cut into thin strips
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • S & P
  • 1 med. head of butter or bibb lettuce, washed and drained
  • 2-3 Asian pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
  • salad dressing (3 parts olive oil + 1 part lemon juice + S & P)


  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Rub the pork tenderloin with the spices, salt and pepper.
  • Place it in a shallow pan or casserole and tent with foil.
  • Roast the pork for about 35-30 min – or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160F (medium-done).
  • Before slicing and serving, let the pork rest for at least 15 minutes.
  • Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water until tender – when a knife can be inserted into the potato’s center with little resistance.
  • Drain the potatoes and mash them with crème fraîche, butter and S & P.
  • In a skillet or large frying pan set on med-high heat, add the oil, garlic and swiss chard and S & P. Cook and stir until the swiss chard is tender, but not mushy.
  • To make the salad, place the lettuce, pears and pomegranate seeds in a bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss until lightly coated.


*To make your own Five Spice Powder, lightly toast until fragrant equal amounts of these whole spices:

  • red Sichuan peppercorn
  • star anise
  • Vietnamese cassia
  • cloves
  • fennel

Once they become fragrant, remove from heat and let cool. Once cooled, grind the spices using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Keep in an airtight container.

Bon Appétit!


12 Responses to “Pork Tenderloin with Five Spices and a Simple Salad”

  1. maria~ Says:

    Simply beautiful and it looks delish!

  2. Jen Says:

    You are braver than I at mixing and matching Asian with Western. That looks really good. Pork is wonderful, isn’t it? Could you do me a huge favor and email me a list of your favorites places to eat in Ann Arbor? My friend is moving there soon, so I thought your recommendations are ones I can trust 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Hillary Says:

    Hot damn, that’s a gorgeous-looking salad!

  4. holybasil Says:

    Hi Maria,

    Hi Jen,
    Thanks for your comments! Yes, pork is King around here. I will email you shortly for the restaurant recs.

    Hi Hillary,

  5. Anh Says:

    Interesting recipe. With the five-spiced pork, this must be lovely.

    HB, I will send you the bitter melon recipe shortly. Please gimme some time to organise myself. 🙂

  6. Terry B Says:

    I totally agree about the versatility of pork. And this sounds like a delicious use of pork tenderloin. Regarding the potatoes, I enjoy adding chopped garlic to the potatoes as they’re boiling and then mash them with buttermilk.

  7. Anya Says:

    This looks fantastic! I cant wait to make it for my husband whose favorite food is pork!

  8. holybasil Says:

    Hi Anh – Thanks for thinking of me – no hurry on the bitter melon recipe. While I find it like it to some degree – I don’t exactly crave it, ya know??

    Hi Terry,
    Thanks for the tip on adding garlic to the boiling potatoes. I often add garlic cloves when I boil peas. It’s great.

    Hi Anya,
    Thanks! Let me know how yours turns out.


  9. Wendy Says:

    A beautiful looking dish. Looking forward to trying this.

  10. chocolateshavings Says:

    I love using pork, I used to think it was just a dry piece of meat, but now I realize how it can be used and how versatile it is. The spices sound lovely, and I totally agree on trying to make your own if you can.
    A nice touch I found for mash patatoes is indeed to used garlic – but I roast the garlic for about 10-15 minutes in the oven so the cloves become mushy and realease all their natural sugars. I then press the soft cloves into the mash patatoes with some coarse salt and pepper and its delicious!
    How spicy would you say your 5 spice is though? I want to try it but want to make sure that I can handle it!

  11. holybasil Says:

    Hi Wendy and chocolate shavings –
    Thanks for your kind comments 🙂

    Chocolateshavings –

    I love roasted garlic & mashed potatoes. Yum!
    The spice mix I use is not spicy (hot) at all. Although Red Sichuan peppercorns are supposed to be “numbing’ – once ground and mixed with the other spices, I find little heat or numbing sensation from them.

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