This pork tenderloin salad is SO versatile, it’s definitely quite the little over-achiever.
To start, it is a fantastic re-purposing solution for a leftover pork tenderloin roast. Next, it is a low-carb meal option if you eat it as a salad without the bread. Or, as pictured, it can be served bunched on slices of a delicious, fresh and crunchy French baguette, perfect as a party canapé. Alternately, just pile it into some bread to make a wonderful sandwich. Clearly, there are a lot of ways you can go with this.
As temperatures go down, we seem to crave comfort food in the form of roasts, creamy soups, and sauced dishes. But if we eat only those meals, by the end of the cold season, we will all need a new gym membership AND a personal trainer. Therefore, it’s important to squeeze in a salad every now and then to balance things out. This cold meat salad helps you achieve that balance in a decidedly mouth-watering way.
It’s tender, juicy, herby, meaty, citrusy with a hint of brine. It’s very Mediterranean, but otherwise hard to describe. So, you’ll just have to make it and tell me how best to describe it!
Let’s see what goes into Lori’s Pork Tenderloin Salad
What’s not to love? There are only 6 little ingredients. Not only is this a simple and easy salad to prepare, it is quite healthy as well. Pork tenderloin is a very lean source of protein, the parsley and fresh lemon juice bring a big vitamin C punch, and olive oil is touted to have many, many health benefits.
By the way, I really must recommend only sweet onion for this dish. Because onion is a major component and you do not want it to overpower the taste. Sweet onion (or Vidalia onion as an alternative) has a very reserved flavor profile compared to white or yellow onions. It’s the only large onion I buy anymore.
And one more thing. Since this recipe calls for a leftover ingredient, the measurements will tend to vary with what you have to start with. We grilled two pork tenderloins that came packaged together at 5 lbs. total. This is what is left of one cut. Seems to me to be about 1 pound of meat.
Let’s look at the steps
Since the amount of pork will determine the quantities of the other ingredients, start by slicing the meat first. That way you know how much to add of the other stuff. I just usually eyeball it so that the final salad has a blend of everything in a way that looks right to me. Therefore, use the recipe below as a proportion guide based on how much meat you use.
Be sure to slice your meat really, really thinly. You want to achieve an almost shaved look. One of the reasons this salad works so well is because pork tenderloin is such a beautifully tender and moist cut. When you slice it thinly it seems even more tender.
As you prepare your ingredients, just layer them into a large serving dish or platter.
Next, slice your sweet onion, also very thinly. I used about 1/4 of a large onion.
Notice how I cut off a chunk of onion from top to bottom short of the middle? That is my favorite way to cut an onion to make slices for a salad. By cutting perpendicular to the layers, I can get some really thin slices. Oh, and it helps to have a sharp knife, too.
Then slice your olives thinly as well. Hmmm, there seems to be a “thin” theme going on here. I used 5 very large olives for this.
Then chop up your parsley. I started with 1 1/2 cups of parsley and it chopped down to about a cup.
As I said earlier, just layer your ingredients as you work directly into your serving dish.
After adding the parsley, it’s time to dress your salad. First, drizzle the olive oil from one end of the salad to the other. Next, squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, also from one of the salad to the other. Then, take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it lightly over everything. Remember that the meat was seasoned when it was cooked the first time and that olives are very salty already, so add salt in small amounts at first.
Toss gently from top to bottom, both to distribute the seasonings and the ingredients evenly. Taste and adjust olive oil (it’s ok to err on the side of more, specially with an olive oil with good flavor), lemon juice, and salt as needed. You want a taste of citrus and not a mouthful of sour juice.
By the way, I whipped up these frozen baguettes for the picture. Rather irrelevant to the salad, but they are so beautiful, I had to let them make an appearance!
And that is it! That’s all there is to it! You are ready to serve!
You really must taste this salad to understand how six little ingredients can come together so powerfully. It is SO GOOD! You’re just going to have to make it to experience it for yourself.
And as always, when you do, let me know how it goes!
- 1 pound of leftover cooked pork tenderloin (roasted or grilled)
- ¼ large sweet onion, sliced thinly
- 5 very large pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced thinly
- 1½ cups of fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup good olive oil, or more, to taste
- Juice of ½ of a large lemon
- Begin by slicing the pork tenderloin very thinly, almost shaved. Then transfer to a large serving dish or platter and spread evenly.
- Next, top with sliced onions, olives and parsley.
- Finally, drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice and a small sprinkle of salt.
- Toss and taste, adjusting oil, lemon juice and salt as needed.
- Eat as a cold salad, serve over slices of French baguettes as a party canapé, or use as sandwich filling.