Roast Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash recipe is so delicious and easy to make! This pork tenderloin is rubbed with dried herbs and cooked to tender perfection. A lovely fall recipe made with roasted butternut squash. Ready in less than 45 minutes.
Wonderful for meal prep and makes great leftovers! Add this to your repertoire if you're following a low carb + paleo eating plan. This recipe is Whole30 if you omit the wine. A flavorful gluten-free Italian dinner recipe is really nice to make during the holidays! You could serve it with a side of these instant pot mashed potatoes.
Ok, I'm sure you're looking at the photo and thinking...this requires a lot of work! Let me tell you, it is a super flavorful dinner and it does not require a lot of effort. Really! The most time consuming part is prepping the squash.
But in the fall, I'm obsessed with any sort of squash! So I don't mind peeling and cutting them. Come by my house on any given day during the week and you'll smell squash and rosemary roasting away.
You could totally buy butternut squash that is already cut and ready to go (so convenient!). As for the pork, prep the rub, and it gets baked away in the oven. See, I told you, it's not that difficult to make!
What ingredients are in this roast pork tenderloin with butternut squash?
Here is all you need to make this recipe:
- pork tenderloins
- extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper to your taste
- sea salt
- celery stalks
- white wine (optional-omit for Whole30)
- coconut aminos
- vegetable broth or chicken
- unsalted butter (or margarine ...use more olive oil for Whole30)
- butternut squash
Does a roast pork loin need to be seared first?
I went into a big discussion regarding this topic (if you're bored, and want to read about it, you can on my roast pork loin-arrosto di maiale post from some years back) with my mom and mother-in-law, two pretty amazing home chefs some years back. It was a holiday meal and we were prepping a roast pork loin.
One nonna was saying sear the pork. The other nonna was saying you don’t need to. The stove was being set to a super high roasting temp by the nonna that doesn’t live here and understand our temperatures (or how our ovens work!).
It eventually became a bit chaotic and really hot (SUPER HIGH OVEN TEMPERATURE set by nonna). And finally I had to intervene and explain how the meat would get too dry roasting at a super high temp for too long.
Yes, it was a stressful back and forth until finally I was allowed to do it my way and get the pork in the oven!
Funny thing was that when everyone calmed down, I had a moment to conduct some research, and found some pertinent info and found the answer to my question with America's Test Kitchen people.
They discovered in their testing that yes, flavors are developed in searing, but it does not seal in the juices.
My attempts to translate this in Italian to my mother-in-law were futile, mostly for two reasons. The first reason was she doesn’t know or care about anyone from America’s Test Kitchen, or the diligent research they do.
Second reason (and most importantly), she is always right. I suppose I should have left it with there is only one reason.
I have seared roasts. Can I notice a discernible difference in searing or not searing? Honestly, not really. Either way, the pork roast turns out juicy and flavorful!
What to look for in a pork tenderloin?
Buy your tenderloins where you find the best deals. Typically they're sold with two tenderloins per package and weigh about 1-1 ½ pounds each. If I could eat about almond 1/2 of one tenderloin, you should definitely make both tenderloins (if you're cooking for 4). Even if you're cooking for two, you'll have nice leftovers!
Or you could half the recipe, and cook the other portion another time. Totally up to you!
Select pork tenderloins that are not already in a rub or a marinade. We will be seasoning it on our own. Plus, those marinades sometimes have too much sodium!
What you will need to make this easy pork tenderloin?
- Baking pan: Use a deep baking pan so the juices don't spill out. Use any sort of baking pan you prefer, but really the best choice would be a deeper one.
- Aluminum foil: To make for quick and easy clean up, line your baking pan with foil paper.
- Meat thermometer: The safest way to check if the pork is undercooked, and to make sure you don't overcook it, is to use your instant read meat thermometer.
There is one more part of this recipe I have to put together in another post. It was the most amazing Sicilian sweet and sour onions that I made.
Totally optional to make, but was really so tasty (will post that shortly!!).
What is the most tender pork roast?
Pork tenderloin is the most tender cut of pork. Perfect for rubs, spices, and any marinades (my mojo marinade is delicious for pork!).
What are the different cuts of pork?
It can get confusing, but here it is in a simple explanation. The pork shoulder (you may find it at a market called “pork butt”); pork loin (that is from the back of the pig); pork belly (which is literally, the belly); and pork leg (simply called, “ham”).
Which pork cut is used in this recipe?
Pork tenderloin is what we chose to make this nice and comforting Sunday roast. It is a smaller cut of the pork and is only about 2-inches wide (typically). Since it has little marbling, it cooks up much quicker than other cuts.
Could pork loin be substituted for a pork tenderloin?
No, pork loin is not going to cook the same way as pork tenderloin, and vice-versa. They both require different heat and timing. Technically, yes, you could sub it, but with adjustments.
Since pork tenderloin is from a muscle that is not used often, it is lean, long and super tender.
As opposed to the pork loin, which is also called rib roast and comes from the rib section. You'll find it as a large cut of pork that is boneless or even bone-in and many times it has a thick amount of fat on it.
A pork TENDERLOIN was used for this recipe.
Pork Tenderloin cooking temperature
Pork tenderloin turns out the best cooked for a shorter time in a hot oven. I like to cook the pork tenderloin at 425 degree Fahrenheit and then lower to 375F for the remaining cooking time.
When cooking pork, I always suggest using an instant-read thermometer. Take the pork out of the oven when it reaches 145 degrees Farenheit.
When is pork tenderloin done cooking?
Pork should reach 145F internal temperature. This is the recommended temperature to remove risk of any foodborne illness. Yet, it may look a light pink color (that is ok!) when you slice it.
Here are the tips for cooking the best and juiciest pork tenderloin
- For this recipe, I did not sear the pork before I placed it in the oven. It is up to you and how much time you have. Whether you sear or not, the pork will still be juicy. If you have a little bit of extra time (would be about 6 minutes total to sear), sear it before hand, keeping in mind, will be less time in oven.
- Get a hold of an instant-read meat thermometer before you start cooking pork. Trust me when I tell you, it's an inexpensive tool you will be using over and over again. It's the safest way to know that your pork has reached the right temperature and is ready.
- Most important with lean meat of any sort, do not overcook it. If it's overcooked, it will be dry. You could even take it out of the oven between 140-145F (because as it sits and rests on counter, the internal temp will still increase before you slice it).
- A little pink color is ok. When you slice it and if you see some pinkish color, do not worry. As long as it's 145F, it is safe to eat. It will be buttery soft!
- IF you sear your pork before cooking in the oven, add a little broth (any sort), wine, or even water to deglaze the pan. Then you add this to your roasting pan with the pork and the vegetables. This will enhance the flavor and keep it juicy as it's cooking along.
Some other pork recipes to try:
- Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder
- Pork Chops with Pumpkin and Apples
- Rosemary and Garlic Pork Tenderloin
- Roast Pork Loin-Arrosto di Maiale
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Roast Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash
- 2 pork tenderloins trimmed — 1-1¼ lbs each, about 2-2½ lbs total
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2-4 teaspoons sea salt I used about 4 teaspoons, use more or less to your taste
- freshly ground pepper to your taste
- 4 sprigs rosemary picked and finely chopped
- 4 sprigs sage finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons paprika (sweet or smoked, I used sweet)
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into thin chunks
- 3 celery stalks cut into thin chunks
- 1 large onion. peeled and cut into large pieces
- 1 cup dry white wine optional
- 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
- ½ cup of vegetable broth or chicken (low sodium)
- ½ stick, 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter or margarine (for dairy-free)
- FOR THE SQUASH optional
- 3½ pounds butternut squash peeled seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
- sea salt
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- Turn on oven: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425F.
- (optional) Make the butternut squash: Toss squash, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt on a foil lined baking sheet. Place the rosemary sprigs on top of the squash. Create a pocket by placing another sheet of foil paper over the squash and seal the edges together. Place on top rack and bake until light gold and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.The squash is optional, but a nice addition to the pork.
- Prep the tenderloins: Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels.
- Prep the herbs and rub on tenderloins: In a small bowl (or using a mortar and pestle), crush together the olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and sage into a paste. Rub the pork loin with the paste and place in a foil lined roasting pan or a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle on the paprika (I used sweet).
- Add the vegetables and liquids to pan: Place the carrots, celery, and onion all around the pork. Add in the wine (or water) coconut aminos (if using), and the broth around the bottom of the pan. Drizzle on a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Place the pork and veggies on middle rack of oven.
- Place in oven and cook: Cook the pork and vegetables uncovered for 25-30 minutes (until the pork begins to brown), and pork registers between 145- and 150-degrees F at the thickest part of the tenderloin. This means the pork will be juicy and slightly pink in the middle.
- Lower the temperature: Halfway through cooking, lower the temperature to 375F. Spoon the sauce all over the pork.
- If you would like medium done, it would take about 22 minutes per pound, and for well-down, about 27 minutes per pound. At halfway through the cooking time, check and see if the bottom of the pan is getting dry. If it needs, add a bit more broth or water to the pan.
- Check on your squash: (Optional-if you’re making the butternut squash) Check the roasted butternut squash, it could be ready between 20-25 minutes.
- Cooking time may vary: Your cooking time may be a bit longer depending on tenderloin size, the veggies, and your oven.
- Take out the pork and veggies: Remove the tenderloins from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes. Don't cover while it's resting.
- While the pork rest and prep the sauce: Put the sauce and vegetables (carrots, celery, onion)from the bottom of the pan in a skillet with the butter (or margarine)and heat it up on medium-high to melt the butter and make a nice sauce. Stir it together. Taste the flavor of the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
- Slice the pork: Slice against the grain and place on a serving plate. Serve immediately with the vegetables and the sauce (and squash, if you made it).
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
- Pork size: Be sure to get pork tenderloin. Pork loin is bigger and will require more cooking time.
- Check the temp: The best way to see if pork is ready is checking internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Pork chops should be 145ºF.
- Take care to not over-cook: Pork is very lean and will dry out faster than other meats. To make sure it's juicy and tender, take it out of the oven at 145ºF.
- Leave to rest: Before slicing, let the pork rest 10 minutes.