Greek-Style Pork Tenderloin & Honey-Baked Feta Bowls

Greek-Style Pork Tenderloin & Honey-Baked Feta BowlsGreek-Style Pork Tenderloin & Honey-Baked Feta BowlsGreek-Style Pork Tenderloin & Honey-Baked Feta Bowls

I wanted to kick off this week with a recipe that almost anyone can feel good about – these Greek-Style Pork Tenderloin and Honey-Baked Feta Bowls. It’s a well-rounded one, this recipe: healthy, incredibly flavorful, and very satisfying – greater than the sum of its parts. If, however, you prefer to eat less meat, you can simply replace the pork with roasted tofu, seitan, or tempeh and it will prove equally as satisfying. The same goes for the rice, actually, If you have another simple grain on hand, feel free to sub that in. Bowl recipes such as this are more like roadmaps – guidelines – for what the meal can be, as opposed to what is has to be. You can call the shots.

While these bowls have a lot of components going on, several moving parts, I’ve written the recipe to make it as streamlined and efficient as possible. The squash, tomatoes and feta all go into the oven together and roast away, their flavors developing and intensifying with every second. Roasting is cool that way. I also happen to think this is just about the the best way to enjoy a fresh tomato in the dead of winter. Cherry and grape tomatoes transform into little sweet jewels (I call them dirt candy) in the oven, and taste wonderful with the honey-sweetened feta and the briny olives. I was going to make some sort of creamy sauce to accompany this bowl, but I found that a simple drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar (you could also use lemon) works beautifully here.

When it comes to using olive oil, I typically cook with regular olive oil – not extra virgin – as it has a higher smoke point and is more reliable for the actual cooking itself. Extra virgin is typically more expensive and works better for dressing, drizzling, and for finishing dishes – applications in which it is not really exposed to much heat. In sum, save your extra virgin for the special things!


Greek-Style Pork Tenderloin & Honey-Baked Feta Bowls

I’ve spent some time over the past week (the year’s first) thinking about resolutions and new year’s intention and goal setting, and it’s inevitable that thoughts of this nature will make their way to the dietary realm at some point. They always do. I see a lot of people jumping on the Whole 30 train and I have to admit I’m not sure that’s something I could ever do. Any diet that so severely restricts what you can and namely, what you cannot eat, seems troubling to me. It hits me as restrictive, negative, and rife with opportunities for failure and disappointment. What do I know, though? Maybe I shouldn’t knock it until I’ve tried it. Have any of you tried it? If so, did you have a positive experience? I’d love to know …

For what it’s worth, however, I have always found much deeper satisfaction when I approach food and eating from a positive, “yes” perspective. I like to concentrate on all of the good things that I’m adding to my diet, to my life – not what I’m taking away. The deprivation mindset is less joyful and satisfying than one of positivity and gain. I’m someone who has a past history of being not so kind to myself when it comes to food choices, allowing deprivation and restriction to rule my life.

Nowadays, I take a totally different approach to food and cooking – to how I feed myself and my family. It logically follows that the more goodness with which you fill your plates, your glasses – your time even – the more the not so good things will just naturally fall away. The more hearty, wholesome bowls I make for example, the less processed and not-so-good things I eat. By incorporating a calming chamomile latte into my evening routine, I’ve found that I drink quite a bit less wine, and actually have seen an improvement in my skin and energy levels as a result (I suffer from very dry skin this time of year, and wine doesn’t help). This is all because I chose to add something good to my night, not because I chose to deprive myself of the wine. It’s all about the mindset … the positive additions, not the negative restrictions. It’s a realistic and appealing approach to take, for me at least. Positivity is much more sustainable than negativity, just by design.

So, that being said, what ways do you try to incorporate more positivity into your lives? What tricks, steps or practices do you employ? I’d love to know . . .

 

Print Recipe
Greek-Style Pork Tenderloin and Honey-Baked Feta Bowls
Flavor-packed bowls of Greek-inspired goodness. These bowls are savory, briny, sweet, and herbaceous all at once.
Greek-Style Pork Tenderloin & Honey-Baked Feta Bowls
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Greek
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Greek
Servings
people
Ingredients
Greek-Style Pork Tenderloin & Honey-Baked Feta Bowls
Instructions
  1. Begin by preparing the pork. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Make sure to use a piece large enough to fully cover the pork when it’s finished roasting.
  2. Place the tenderloin on the baking sheet and coat it with 2 tsp of the olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper (about 1.5 tsp of each) and then the 2 tsp of Greek seasoning. Roast the pork for 24 minutes and then, when it’s out of the oven, wrap it up in the foil and allow it to carry-over cook for 10 minutes. Thinly slice the pork and then pour over any extra juices that snuck out while it rested (don’t throw that away!).
  3. When the pork is out, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, microwave the spaghetti squash (whole) for 5 minutes to tenderize. This will make it much easier (and safer) to cut it. After 5 minutes, slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves onto a baking sheet, drizzle each with about 1 tsp of oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the tomatoes on a separate baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Drizzle and toss them with 2 tsp of the oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter half of the thyme springs over top, as well as the fresh or dried oregano.
  5. Place the feta onto a sheet of aluminum foil and cover with the honey. Season with about ½ tsp of black pepper and the remaining thyme. Wrap the feta up into a snug bundle and place onto the baking sheet with the tomatoes.
  6. Place the baking sheets into the oven. Roast the tomatoes and feta for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slumped and visibly tender. Roast the squash for 25 to 30 minutes, or until easily scraped with a fork. When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape out all of the strands and transfer them to a bowl. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. To make the bowls: Arrange about 1 cup of mixed greens in each of 4 large bowls/deep plates. Add slices of the pork, large chunks of the baked feta, some olives, tomatoes, rice (or grain of choice) and a scoop of squash. Drizzle the bowls with some extra olive oil and some red wine vinegar. Serve with torn pita or naan.
Recipe Notes

You can roast the squash right on the oven rack, if that helps save space by not using another baking sheet.

To create a quick, creamy dressing, simply combine 1 cup of good, store-bought Greek vinaigrette with 2  to 3 tbsp of mayonnaise. Stir to combine and serve with the bowls.

 

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