This is Your Mouth on P90X: Island Pork Tenderloin Salad


Island Pork Tenderloin Salad from the P90X Cookbook.

If you like pork, this recipe is ridiculously good.  I made it for Sal on Saturday night and he spent the whole dinner moaning in delight.  There’s nothing better than making a Sicilian man moan over food. :)  The crunchiness of the cabbage and red peppers in the salad contrasted nicely with the tender pork.  The dressing was delicious and bright.


The Pork:

16 oz Lean Pork Tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 brown sugar, packed
1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon tabasco sauce

Serves 4

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chile powder, and cinnamon, then coat pork with the spice rub.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over moderately high heat and brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes
  4. Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat onto top of tenderloin.  Place pork in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

The Salad:

For one salad:
1/2 orange, peeled and cut
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
1 tablespoon golden raisins
1 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
6 ounces Island Pork Tenderloin
2 tablespoons cumin vinaigrette (see below)

  1. Peel and cut oranges crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices and set aside.
  2. Toss spinach, cabbage, bell pepper, and raisins in a large bowl.
  3. Prepare the dressing (below)
  4. Mound salad mixture on a large plate.  Arrange pork and orange slices on top and drizzle with dressing.

Salad Stats per serving (this includes the dressing that is added)

556 calories
13g total fat
39g protein
51g carbohydrates

The Dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Serves 2.

Whisk together until emulsified.

Individual stats for dressing alone:
69 calories
7g total fat
0 protein
2 carbs

The Lowdown:

Doesn’t look exactly like diet food, does it?  This is the kind of dish that counts as two mini-meals for me so one of my every-three-hour snacks would be majorly scaled down (to an ounce of almonds or soynuts, for example).  On a weekend, however, when I feel like something special – this is a big winner.  It was fun to make, smelled great as it was cooking, and pleased the masses.

I’m impressed that this recipe came out of a workout-program menu.  P90X workouts are so incredibly hard that you really get to eat up – this is one thing that I love about the program.  The nutrition component may be fairly strict, but you certainly don’t go hungry.  In fact, the point is to feed your muscle so that it can grow.  P90X is designed to develop athletic fitness: agility, balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance.  It’s not a get-skinny plan.  It’s a lean muscle-building plan.  It’s a performance plan. 

If anyone is confused or worried about the fact that I am doing some "crazy" program, don’t be.  The plan is challenging, but balanced.  It’s based mostly on good-old-fashioned hard work and dedication, and a truckload of discipline.  And I’m eating like a freaking king.

My modifications to the recipe:

  • I didn’t have an orange, so I cut limes and used them in the plating.  Sal and I squeezed these over the dish as we ate – it was fantastic and bright. 
  • I also added more pepper than recommended and pan-seared for 8 minutes instead of 4, just based on instinct. 
  • I cranked up the spinach, too, because its so damn good for you, Popeye loves it, and it doesn’t add significant calories to increase the leafy-greenage. 
  • I didn’t shred the cabbage because I didn’t feel like doing it by hand or pulling out my food processor. Instead, I cut it into fine strips with a good knife. 

What I might do in the future:
I’m tempted to experiment with sugar-substitutes, but it’s risky.  The harmony of pork and brown sugar is second-to-none and I can’t think of a substitute right off the bat that would satisfy me.  I’d be interested to see what an agave-syrup mod would do.

I made an amazing Roasted Red-Pepper Soup last night that was also from the P90X cookbook.  I’ll be posting that recipe later in the week.

Bon Appetit!


Vitamin World



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    On another note: I made the chicken-squash-apple casserole from Precision Nutrition again. I’ve been futzing with the liquid/solids ratio and times in baking because–like you–I don’t like over-cooked chicken–and because I found the liquid amounts to be a bit too much. What I wound up with was a significantly less liquidy casserole pan and not-dry-chicken. My adjustments to Berardi’s recipe and your cooking instructions:

    1. liquid–I am more into the shoot from the hip method myself instead of perfectly measuring out. I think all in all I wound up with 2/3 (max) cooking liquids.
    2. steam bath–I basically created a steam bath environment for the first 15-20 minutes of cooking by tin foiling the top of my casserole dish. Doing this helps the solids stay moist and still gives the liquids plenty of time to evaporate when I remove the tin foil.
    3. chicken–I waited until 10 minutes into the oven to add in the chicken. If the casserole dish already had the onions (which, sauteed in a pan with the chicken already carried some of the flavor) and the broth (which carries chicken flavor), then I knew it would not be a big loss. I DID add a small dash of cumin to the sautee pan as I was cooking the chicken just to add a bit of a prominent flavor so that when the chicken was added to the casserole, it already had some of the flavors in the dish.
    4. cooking time–reduced to approx. 35-40 minutes overall. I also upped the heat to a bit above 400 degrees. Upping heat and creating a steam bath environment early on helped the squash cook more quickly and stay tender.
    5. cheese–added low fat sharp cheddar instead of havarti, but that’s a personal preference. Big time love for me when cheddar and apples are combined.

    Results: Amazing, batman!

    I need to try this pork tenderloin recipe. It looks entirely too good. I might have a recipe to shoot back to you, but I need to sparkpeople it first and see what the breakdown is like. It’s just some simple, rustic old-school Greek food that, for its simplicity, will have your mouth watering and your fridge happy. :)

  2. Love the chicken casserole mods, Steph! I’m going to try it!

  3. i’d love to know how you compare the boot camp workouts to P90X.

  4. Interesting question, Sara. I’d say it’s worth a blog post unto itself (ding ding ding, on it!) but off the bat I’ll say this:

    -They’re comparable, but I’d rate p90X harder simply because of the p90x workouts are intended to develop extreme athletic aptitude and boot camp is geared more toward general fitness and “sculpting”. That said, boot camp could be hard as shit if you’re pulling 20 pound dumbbells like Vicki does :)

    P90x focuses much more on upper body development as well, which was a big draw for me. It’s recommended that as a woman you are able to do 1-2 pullups before you start the program, so they’re assuming people doing this program are already fit and looking to go from good to great.

    Just like boot camp workouts, p90x workouts can be as challenging as you’re willing to make them.

    The other main difference is that P90x has a weekly plyometrics workout which is really amazing for increasing athletic performance. Unfortunately, due to liability (plyometrics are very high impact, so injury is a concern for people who try them when they aren’t ready) boot camp does not contain very many plyometric-based workouts.

    More on this in a post this week!

  5. Damundai

    Sara, Just wondering where you located the P90X cookbook that you mentioned. I just bought the P90X 13DVD set w/ pull up bar and was wondering if the cookbook comes w/ it or was it a seperate purchase?

  6. Hey Snarkypants.

    We’re blogging about P90X as well, and I’m doing some food posts. Your photos look a million times better than mine. What kind of camera are you using?


  7. Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  8. I just tried this recipe for the first time last night and it was amazing!
    You mentioned trying a sugar-substitute, and I wanted to let you know that I bought the new Splenda brown sugar blend and used that and it worked great… it has the same consistency as regular brown sugar and the pork tasted great… i probably could have used even less brown sugar than the recipe called for!

  9. I am not doing sugar, either, and I’d like to try this recipe with agave or stevia instead. I just can’t do Splenda or other such substitutes.

    I, too, am eating for balance and muscle, not for weight loss. And I have never felt better.

    Spinach is like the PERFECT food. And walnuts. I might add some walnuts to the salad for fun and extra nutrition.

    Thanks for the recipe. Totally bookmarking it!

  10. Ah! Swine Flu!

  11. Swine flu be damned; I will make this soon. Yum!

  12. doxilady

    I’m on the P90X system and I keep hearing about a P90X cookbook. I was asked to purchase it when I bought the system but I opted out. Now I regret it because no one can help me locate it. Have any of you heard about it? Thanks

  13. That looks delicious!!

  14. This Recipe is amazing!!! a party in my mouth

  15. Another Great write up, I will bookmark this in my Furl account. Have a great day.

  16. This recipe looks almost the same as the island pork tenderloin recipe found on which was originally in Gourmet magazine 2003. A great recipe and a great website for recipe searches.

  17. I make the Island salad too but I substitute 6 oz of grilled chicken instead of the pork. Absolutely fantastic. I chop up a lot of all the ingredients and have them on had and make a quick salad easily when I want it. Also you should try it again with a sweet orange it is amazing.

    You can also use all of the ingredients to make a quick corn torilla (not fried) taco. (approved by p90x for occasional quick’s noted in the back of the nutrional guide) Thanks for sharing.

  18. I modified this modestly by substituting pork roast in place of the pork loin. I trimmed the roast down to 2″x2″x6″ cuts. I prepare more than the usual preparation, about 3 pounds, to make this worth my while. The roast is cheaper and when trimmed still very healthy.

    First off, double the spices of the dry rub portion. A personal substitution is cayenne pepper for the chili pepper. Once applied let it sit in the fridge over night.

    With the heated olive oil sear all 4 sides to a *dark* brown (the term “blackened” would apply here). Do this on high heat and don’t let the sizzle scare you.

    When roasting the sections you want them to rest on a rack which stands just over a drip pan. This is important as you will use those drippings later. Double the brown sugar, pepper sauce, garlic. Wait to apply the brown sugar glaze until half way through, approx 15 mins, then spread evenly over all the exposed sections of the roasts. Once the roasting is done and the pork and drip pan are removed, remove the pork to the side to cool.

    *personally I use a cooling rack placed on top of a raised-edge baking sheet for these roasting purposes*

    The drippings will be darkly caramelized spots. Put these pan drippings over heat then add *apple cider vinegar* until they are just covered. The vinegar is the deglazer. Under heat mix the dark spots into the vinegar until dissolved (never mind the bits of garlic). Add a pinch of salt and pepper. This blend will need to be further reduced (boiled off to reduce moisture and acetic acid) bringing to it a fruition, that being, a very dark slightly syrupy cocktail. Going too far will burn the sugars, under-cooking it will leave a mild vinegar taste.

    Slice the roast into 1/4 medallions, then pour the rendered gravy over the top. Mix and let steep for 10 mins then serve.

    This ends with a perfect mix of spice with the precise dose of sweet.

    What you do with the meat is entirely up to you at this point.

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