Pork is an extremely versatile type of meat and can be especially good for creating an arsenal of healthier meals. This is because it’s still full of healthy proteins, all while being minimally processed and lean. And best of all, there are so many different recipes to choose from that you will never get bored! If you aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will guide you through some of our favorite recipes and offer some tips and tricks for making the perfect health-conscious meal, starring pork.
How does lean pork compare to other meats?
Sure, there are many other meat options you could choose from to add a little bit of protein to your diet. And maybe we’re biased, but pork is one of the best choices if you’re trying to be health-conscious with your food. But what makes lean pork such a superstar? Let’s break it down.
Increase your protein intake
Lean pork is still full of protein, something that’s absolutely necessary for most people’s diets. According to Healthline, “protein is the building block of your muscles” so it’s especially important if you like to workout or have a job that requires physical labor. While other meat has protein, sometimes it comes with dangerous fats that aren’t as good for you, unlike lean pork. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, lean pork can have as much protein content as 89%.
Dietary vitamins and minerals
Lean pork has tons of vitamin B, including thiamine, vitamin b12 and vitamin b6. This is usually not the case with red meat like beef or lamb. Other types of vitamins that pork contains are:
When cooked correctly, lean pork can be one of the best options when looking for a type of meat to add to your meals. The Washington Post reports that even just three ounces of cooked lean pork will “cover you for more than a third of the daily requirement for thiamin, niacin, selenium and vitamin B6.”
A good source of energy
According to Healthline, pork contains bioactive substances that can increase your energy levels and benefit your health in other ways. One great example is the presence of creatine, which has been found to increase musculoskeletal health and make you feel more energetic.
Other health benefits
Pork also has taurine, which is an antioxidant amino acid that is good for your heart. On the other hand, red meat can have a negative impact on your heart health if consumed too much. Remember that the more lean the pork you are consuming is, the more healthy it’s likely to be. Cooking pork in butter or oil might be tasty, but it’s not the most healthy option, so be mindful of the cooking method as well.
Nutritious and delicious pulled pork ideas
Okay, so now you know some of the nutritional value that lean pork can bring to your meals, it’s time to actually get into that kitchen and get started. Here’s a short selection of our favorite creative lean pork recipes to help you get started (but first, head to the store to pick up your Hatfield® meats):
Asian Pork Noodle Soup
- 2 tsp vegetable oil.
- 4 cloves garlic – chopped.
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger – grated or minced.
- 4 cups chicken broth.
- 3 tbsp soy sauce.
- 1 tsp Gochugaru flakes (or other chili flakes).
- 1 tsp lime juice.
- 3 cups bok choy – cleaned and chopped.
- 8 oz linguine rice noodles – cooked.
- 1 cup carrot – shredded.
- 4 green onions – chopped.
- salt & pepper – to taste.
- cilantro and lime wedges for garnish – if desired.
It’s time to prepare these ingredients. To make your noodle soup:
- Heat the oil in a large stockpot and brown the sliced pork. Once browned, move the pork to a plate and keep it warm.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, chili flakes, cooked pork, bok choy lime juice, cooked noodles, carrots and green onion.
- Cook over high heat for 5 – 7 minutes, until veggies are crisp-tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with additional green onion, lime wedges and cilantro, if desired.
Sage & Sweet Potato Hasselback Pork Tenderloin
Keep in mind that you can substitute a pork tenderloin with a loin filet depending on your preference. In addition, you can either use your regular oven or your Instant Pot, whichever is best for your lifestyle.
This recipe uses our delicious 1 Hatfield® Tuscan Herb Dry Rub Seasoned Pork Tenderloin. The seasoning that you use for your pork tenderloins will help bring out the flavor and savory goodness, and Hatfield® has taken this stress away from you by preseasoning the pork for you. In order to make this recipe you will need:
- 1 Hatfield® Tuscan Herb Dry Rub Seasoned Pork Tenderloin.
- 1 – 2 small sweet potatoes – sliced 1/4-inch thickness.
- 3 tbsp fresh sage – roughly chopped.
- 6 slices Hatfield® Bacon – chopped.
- 1/4 cup apricot preserves.
- 1-1/2 tbsp sherry or sherry cooking wine.
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard.
This recipe might take a little bit longer, but the hour is definitely worth it. To prepare:
- Preheat oven to 375º F.
- Fry the bacon until crispy, adding the sage during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Remove to a paper-lined plate to drain.
- Create thin slices down the length of the pork tenderloin (approx 3/4 inch apart) without cutting all the way through. Tip – place two chopsticks on each side of the pork and allow them to be the stop for the knife as you slice down.
- Push the cooked bacon and sage mixture down into each of the slits in the pork.
- Slide the sliced sweet potatoes down into the slits with the bacon mixture.
- Place the stuffed pork on a baking sheet and bake at 375º F for 30 minutes.
- While the pork cooks, add the apricot marmalade, sherry and dijon mustard to a small saucepan and stir. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove from heat and set aside.
- After the pork has cooked for 30 minutes, pour the glaze over the top and return to the oven to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven, slice and serve.
These are just a few options, but don’t worry there is more to come. Remember that you can customize any recipe to your needs or cooking requirements. Feel free to be creative when it comes to these high-protein pork meals.
More healthy recipes — and great sides for your pork dish
There are plenty of recipes that incorporate pork into your meals, and we have another great one to add to your list of go-tos.
Apricot Ginger Glaze
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves.
- 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger.
- 2 tbsp lime juice or juice of one lime.
- 1/4 cup water.
- 1 dash Cayenne pepper (optional).
- Dash of black pepper.
- 3/4 tbsp fresh thyme leaves.
Pork is a great main course, but pairing it with the right side dish can really enhance any meal. Here are some great options:
- Roasted brussel sprouts.
- Homemade applesauce.
- Baked potatoes.
- Caesar salad.
- Carrots with glaze sauce.
- Garlic mashed potatoes.
- Steamed vegetables.
- Lemon-roasted asparagus.
- Green beans with pickled shallots.
Choosing lean pork as your protein for dinner is yummier than you could imagine right? If you’re interested in going through some of our other recipes, check out the options on our page. For example, you might enjoy our Asian pork meatballs or our ham and cheese cauliflower fritters. The options really are endless!
Are you ready to add lean pork to your shopping list? Find a local retailer near you!