Dietitian’s Choice: Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin
Here is an easy on the road recipe for any truck driver that wants a healthy and hearty meal that is easy to prep and cook. All it takes is a crockpot! When it comes to meats, the words “round” and “loin” indicate that the cut of meat is lean. So, a round roast and a tenderloin, for example, are both lean cuts, meaning they don’t have much fat. These cuts are a great source of protein and nutrients, but they’re also known for lacking the flavor and tenderness of more fatty cuts. Enter: the slow cooker!
The use of a slow cooker in this recipe for a pork tenderloin ensures ease, simplicity, and a tender and juicy result. Onions, apples, and cabbage combine to create a nutrient-dense dish (see Benefits below!) with a well-rounded flavor, and the combination of apple cider vinegar and honey leads to a mildly sweet-and-sour bite.
Slow cooker creations seem to have the ability to warm body and soul, and this one is no exception. Pair it with some wild rice or whole grain sourdough bread for an extra hearty meal. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for a few months.
Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin
1 yellow or sweet onion
1/2 medium green cabbage (feel free to use a whole cabbage)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/4 lbs. pork tenderloin (a little more or less is fine)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf (optional)
Cut onion in half from top to roots. Remove peel and slice each half horizontally, into thin half-moons. Spread evenly in the slow cooker.
Remove core from the apple, and either slice or chop into desired pieces. Thin slices are preferred for consistency, but chopping may be easier than slicing thin, and the shape won’t affect the taste. Place apple in slow cooker on top of the onion.
Thinly slice or chop cabbage. Again, thin slices are preferred for consistency, but size and shape will not affect the taste, so prepare to your ease and desire. If using packaged cabbage, you’ll need about 4 cups. Add cabbage to slow cooker on top of apples.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine apple cider vinegar, water, and honey. Stir with a fork to combine, and pour mixture over ingredients in the slow cooker.
Place tenderloin on top, and spread salt and pepper over all ingredients. Place bay leaf on top of the tenderloin, cover, and cook on low. If the tenderloin is fresh, cooking will take about 4 hours. If frozen, cook time will be about 8 hours.
When the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145-160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove and discard the bay leaf. Remove tenderloin from the slow cooker and let cool for several minutes. Slice pork crosswise, into slices about 1/2 inch in thickness. Place the pork back into the slow cooker with other ingredients, and serve immediately.
Warming spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg pair well with all ingredients in this recipe. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg to the apple cider vinegar, honey, and water mixture for additional flavor.
Pork tenderloin is a great source of lean protein and B vitamins, specifically thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. It contains various minerals and is a good source of selenium, which is important for antioxidant activity in the body. A serving of pork, as well as cabbage, is a good source of vitamin choline, which supports the body’s most basic and important processes. Cabbage, apples, and onions are each full of unique phytochemicals, and together they support decreased inflammation, balanced hormones, and detoxification processes.