Pork Chops with Pumpkin and Apples features comforting fall flavors and a pop of color from fresh cranberries. The thin bone-in pork chips grill up in minutes and go perfectly with the side dish of roasted pumpkin, apples, cranberries and sage. A quick and healthy weeknight dinner that is elegant enough for the holidays!
We are loving this flavorful and easy to make pork dinner. A lovely vinaigrette that takes minutes to put together is drizzled on the veggies (and the pork, too…it’s that good!). Paleo, totally gluten and dairy-free, and most importantly, ready in 30 minutes!
I love cooking at home every night, but I tend to rely on different chicken recipes. That’s when I try different pork recipes to mix it up. If you can find thin bone-in pork chops, they are an affordable cut, a source of lean protein and really versatile!
With the holidays around the corner, I’ve been adding in more healthy meals with protein and veggies. The warm pumpkin and touch of spice with a burst of color from cranberries makes this dish not only delicious, but so beautiful! It’s so simple to make that you could make it for guests.
They’ll never know it didn’t take you hours to make! The natural sweetness of the pumpkins and apples , the tart cranberries, and a touch of warm cinnamon makes the side dish irresistible!
For your vegan/vegetarian friends: make just the pumpkin side dish and add in some greens and even some lentils.
The secret to making tender pork chops an overnight marinade! You begin by seasoning them well. Make a flavorful marinade and place the pork chops in the marinade (I use a zipped lock freezer bag)and let it sit in the marinade overnight in the refrigerator, or at least for 1-2 hours before making them.
This is one of those recipes, that I didn’t really follow a recipe. SO I’ll break it down to how I made it from beginning to end. It’s really easy to play with the flavoring of the pork marinade and also the incredible side dish. I chose pumpkin and it is so very lovely for fall!
The 3 parts of the recipe are the pork, the pumpkin and the super easy to make dressing. While the pumpkin/apples roast up, you prep the pork chops and the quick dressing. In 30 minutes, dinner is ready! And it is so, so good!!!
What ingredients are in this grilled pork recipe?
Here is what you need to put together this flavorful fall dinner:
- Bone-In Pork Chops- I used thin pork chops, but you could use thick bone-in pork chops(about ¾ to 1 inch thick). Keep in mind the cook time will increase.
- Pumpkin- A pumpkin is considered a gourd and a squash. So if you can’t find a small pumpkin to use, you could use a butternut squash (pre-cut makes it so much easier!). I had a couple of small pumpkins on hand and cut and peeled them. Delicata squash also works great!
- Apples- Select your favorite apple. I really like Golden Delicious or even Pink Lady for this recipe. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or Jonagold also will be delicious.
- Cranberries- Fresh cranberries are found in every market now (in the States). If you live somewhere that you can’t find fresh cranberries, you’ll most likely be able to find dried. Dried cranberries also work fine in this fall recipe. The cranberries add this unique tart flavor and the gorgeous color that makes the whole recipe come together. If using dried, be sure to use unsweetened.
- Herbs-Fresh sage or rosemary is wonderful for this recipe. You could use dried sage or rosemary to marinade the pork. For the vegetables, I used fresh sage and the flavor just pops!
- Seasonings- Salt and freshly ground pepper is what is part of the pork marinade. I sprinkled on some ground cinnamon on the vegetables. Smells heavenly while it’s cooking up!
- Dressing-The dressing is a base of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup (omit for Whole30)and your seasoning.
Marinade pork chops
The first thing I did to make this recipe is to season the pork chops with salt and pepper and some rosemary chopped up from my herb garden (you could use dried rosemary). I add the seasoned chops into a zipped lock bag (you could also marinade it in a plastic or glass container).
In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lime juice, maple syrup, and coconut aminos. Pour the mixture over the pork chops and seal the bag. Squeeze the bag on all sides to get the mixture to completely cover the pork chops.
How do you cook roasted pumpkin with cranberries
To make this side dish of roasted pumpkin with apples and cranberries, roast the pumpkin and apples in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 25 minutes of roasting, remove the pan, add the cranberries and then return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes until the cranberries soften and start to pop (the cranberries should take about 5-8 minutes to be juicy and popped).
Once the butternut squash is done, combine everything in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing using olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and cinnamon.
Pour the dressing over the pumpkin mixture. Gently stir until combined. Drizzle the dressing also on the pork chops…it’s delicious!
Can cranberries be roasted?
Yes, definitely! The fresh cranberries get roasted along side the apples and pumpkin. It’s an amazing cooking method for the cranberries. You could even roast them on their own. In case you wanted to make the cranberries roasted alone, line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Add the cranberries and drizzle on oil. Use your hands to toss it with the oil (and this will prevent it from sticking to the paper). Roast for 10 minute son 400 F, or until they’ve popped and released some juice. Fuss-free and just delicious!
What temperature to cook pork to eat safely?
For as long as I can remember, the safest way to cook pork was until it was completely well done (and so dry!). But that cooking rule has now been updated, which means more tender pork!
The USDA updated its guidelines and says that pork is totally safe to eat when it’s cooked medium rare. I still can’t get used to it being pink, but I check the internal temp. As long as you cook the pork to an internal temperature of 140°F and just a touch pink inside, let the pork rest for another 5 minutes and it will still cook on a little bit. If you cover it, it will stay warm and all the
For thin cut (which is what I used for this recipe), bone-in pork chops about 1/4 inch thick, cook either in a grill pan or a even a skillet (or cast iron skillet) over direct medium-high to high heat for a total of 3-5 minutes. Keep a lid on the pork closed, and turn once. Let it rest covered on a plate for 5 more minutes.
For 1-inch thick boneless pork chops, the time increases to about 8-12 minutes, and you turn the pork every few minutes. Keep a lid on the pork after you turn it and until it gets the nice grill marks. Let it rest on a plate covered for another 5 minutes. Juice will release while it rests (which is a sign of a nice and juicy pork chop).
How to store grilled pork chops?
These bone-in thin grilled pork chops will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to store leftover pumpkin and apple side dish?
One it’s cooled down, store in an airtight plastic or glass container (or even a large zipped lock bag). Could be served the next day with a salad, some quinoa or enjoy it as it is.
Some other pork recipes to try:
Pork Chops with Pumpkin and Apples
- 4 bone-in pork chops about 1/2-¾ thick
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped very fine (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), could also use sage
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- PUMPKIN + APPLES
- 1 2-3 pound pumpkin, peeled & chopped into one inch pieces (or use butternut squash)
- 1 medium apple peeled, cored and cubed
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, don't thaw if frozen
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup omit for Whole30
- 2 tablespoons fresh herbs finely minced (sage, thyme, rosemary)*use just one or combo of all
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- PORK CHOPS
- Pat the pork chops dry on both sides. Add the rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic. Rub it all in with your fingers. Place the pork chops in a zipped lock bag or plastic (or glass) storage container.
- Refrigerate and marinade for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Let come to room temperature prior to grilling. While the pork chops are coming to room temperature, begin the pumpkin side dish.
- PUMPKIN + APPLES
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the pumpkin and apples in the center of the sheet. Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Use your hands or a spoon to toss and coat evenly. Spread out the pumpkin and apples in an even layer. Add on some fresh sage leaves and the ground cinnamon. When oven is heated, place the baking tray on center rack of oven.
- Roast for 20 minutes, turning once. Add in the cranberries and use a spoon to combine and toss with the squash and apples. Roast 10 more minutes. It won’t take long for them to split open and release their juice, so may be ready even sooner.
- While the pumpkin mixture cooks up, prep the pork chops.
- When ready to grill, add some oil to the grill pan (or a skillet) over medium high heat. If you are using a grill pan, you will need to cook the pork in batches (if the chops are too crowded in the pan, the chops will steam and not sear properly). Place the pork chops on the grill. Cook on the first side for 3-4 minutes, until the pork chop easily releases from the grill.
- Flip and cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes (the cooking time will vary based upon your grill pan temperature and the thickness of your pork), until the pork reaches 135 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (the pork does continue to cook and the temperature will keep rising as it rests).
- Pork chops are ready when the juices are a little pink, the pork is just firm to touch, and the center is a little rosy.
- Place the pork chops on a platter, cover with foil paper, and leave it to rest for 8-10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and cinnamon to make vinaigrette. Set aside. You could also make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a mason jar. Shake well until all combined.
- Remove pumpkin baking sheet from the oven and set aside.
- Serve on the side with the pork chops. Serve the pumpkin side dish warm or room temperature.
- Drizzle on the dressing as soon as you are ready to serve it. Add some fresh sage leaves or rosemary spring to serving platter. Enjoy!
TO REHEAT. Any leftovers could be warmed up on a skillet on the stove, or in oven at 350F (or your microwave).