Pork Black and Bean Stew (Frijol Con Puerco)

If you’re looking for something different from the usual, try this Pork Black and Bean Stew! It’s spicy, comforting, and definitely hits the spot when it’s cold outside.

Not only is the stew pretty easy to make - the pork almost does the braising itself, but it’s a great way to get in your serving of beans for the week! Beans pack in tons of folate and have a bunch of fiber to boot! Not a bad way to balance out a meat stew.

I like my Mexican food spicy - so I used Spiceology’s sweet and spicy habanero blend. It’s super yummy and builds flavor that is different, and in my opinion, more rich than just using cayenne. You can make this stew as spicy or as mild as you like it. It’s going to turn out good no matter what.

Pork Black and Bean Stew (Frijol Con Puerco)

Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Serves 6-8
Adapted from Saveur

2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2" cubes
1⁄2 cup canola oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Spiceology habanero powder, or more to taste
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
1 lb. dried black beans, soaked overnight
4 sprigs epazote or cilantro
1 lb. plum tomatoes, cored
1 medium jalapeño
2 baby radishes, very thinly sliced, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, to garnish
Cooked white rice, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Season pork on all sides salt and pepper.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add pork to the pan, and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a plate. Cover and set aside.

Add two-thirds of the garlic, the habanero powder, and one-quarter of the onions to pan, and cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes.

Return pork to pot along with beans, epazote, and 8 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans and pork are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and jalapeño, and cook, turning as needed, until blackened all over, about 12 minutes. Allow jalapeño to cool. Stem and remove seeds if desired.

Transfer tomatoes and jalapeño to a blender along with remaining garlic and onions, and purée until sauce is smooth.

Return skillet to heat and add remaining oil; when the oil is hot, add sauce, and fry, stirring constantly, until sauce is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and keep tomato sauce warm.

To serve, transfer beans and pork to a large, deep serving platter and drizzle with tomato sauce. Top with radishes and cilantro leaves, and serve with rice and lime wedges.



Indonesian-Flavored Pork Lettuce Cups

When I look at my garden for recipe ideas, my thoughts often gravitate toward Southeast Asian food. We grow so many different aromatics, herbs, chilies, and even spices (Yup! We collect our own coriander seeds), that it makes it so easy to make our favorite stir-fry recipes almost on the spot. To make these dishes even easier to make, we always keep Southeast Asian ingredients in our pantry as well - like candlenuts, tamarind paste, and coconut milk. 

Thankfully, even though it's the end of October, we still have a handful of birdseye chilis growing on our 4-year-old chili tree, habaneros and jalapeños growing like weeds, and basil plants that continue to thrive.  With this abundance, great weather, and cloudless skies, I couldn't love October more in Coastal California. My only regret is not growing pumpkins this year. Then we could have made some pumpkin curry on the spot!

Whether or not you grow these aromatics in your garden or your local market carries them, know that they can all easily be ordered online, and you have no excuse not to make it! This is especially true because this Indonesian stir-fry recipe is ready in 20 minutes or less, and is insanely delicious. The spicy pork melts in your mouth with the sweetness of the tamarind and the creaminess of the coconut milk, and the romaine lettuce cups provide a wonderful crunch! Are you drooling yet? I am and I just had some.

Indonesian-Flavored Pork Lettuce Cups

Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4

1 lb ground pork
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 candlenuts, grated
6 birdseye chilies, seeded, finely chopped
1 large jalapeño and/or 1 small habanero, seeded (can substitute with bell pepper for mild flavor)
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp galangal
1 tsp lemongrass
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup coconut milk
4 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 Indonesian bay leaf (optional)
1 small bunch lemon basil (optional)

To Serve
1 head romaine lettuce cleaves

In a medium bowl, combine pork with onion, candlenuts, chilies, garlic, cumin, coriander, galangal, lemongrass, and salt. 

Heat canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture, breaking up with a spoon, and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in tamarind juice, coconut milk, and Indonesian bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the coconut milk is mostly absorbed into the pork, about 5 more minutes. Add in the basil leaves and do a few quick stirs until the basil leaves are wilted. Adjust seasonings if desired and remove from heat.

Divide pork, arranging over romaine lettuce leaves, and serve immediately!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you will also enjoy my recipes for Thai Basil PorkPork Belly Stir-Fry with Snow Peas and Mixed Mushrooms, and Szechuan Beef Lettuce Wraps



Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Quick gourmet meals in the middle of the week are my favorite! This one is done in as little as 35 minutes. Excited? I'll get you more excited! These vegetables are not only off the hook delicious, they also help to pack in 7g of fiber, and make the meal look pretty, wouldn't you say? At 500 calories, this won't break your calorie bank either.

Recipe credits go to Curtis Stone, but I did make a few adjustments in oil and the portion of the meat to bring the calories down from 650 per serving. I was also more realistic with the cooking time, because I'm nice like that.

Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4 


4 boneless pork loin chops (each about 5 ounces, and 1-inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons unsalted butter

Vegetables and Apples
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 Pink Lady or Fuji apples, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into eighths
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and place in the oven until very hot.

To cook the vegetables and apples: In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, apples, fennel, and rosemary with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables and apples on it. Roast, turning the ingredients over halfway through, for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the chops to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and barely pink when pierced in the center with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a platter (reserving the oil in the skillet) and let stand for 5 minutes.

Return the pan to medium-low heat, add the apple cider, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mustard and simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter to lightly thicken the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the sweet potato mixture among four dinner plates. Place a pork chop alongside the vegetables on each plate. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve.



Roasted Pork Tenderloin Salad with Braised Fennel and Radicchio

I’ve been making the most delicious fennel-rubbed pork tenderloin thanks to Ian Knauer for several years now. I usually serve it over a lemony orzo risotto, but this time I decided to adapt the recipe into a salad when I had a little radicchio on hand from an impulse buy at the grocery store. 

Okay, so it wasn’t really an impulse buy. While I didn’t know exactly what I would do with the radicchio when I bought it, I knew something would come to me.  And that it did! Amazingly, our annual fennel plant we planted last year rebounded, and produced several more delicious bulbs this year. We also had some pomegranates sitting in the fridge from a friend’s tree. It made perfect sense that these sweet flavors would make a delicious pairing with the bitter radicchio, and could also be a good lesson in food history for all of you.

Believe it or not, I actually love radicchio for its bitter flavors. Full disclosure: I had my DNA analyzed a couple years ago and my genes did give me away as a person who likes bitter foods, which explains why I like black coffee and IPA! But you know what? People who like bitter foods tend to be healthier overall. This is because there are more phytonutrients in bitter produce than mild produce, which is due to the fact that modern agriculture bred these phytonutrients out in favor of sweeter produce with even less fiber. 

So what does this mean for us in the modern era? It means that it’s beneficial to test our palate, and even if we don’t like the flavors the first or second time, we can become accustomed to them, or even pair them with other ingredients to balance the flavors. So the next time you bite into a bitter vegetable, like radicchio or arugula, instead of turning up your nose, maybe think how you can make it yummy! Pro tip: Look for vegetables rich in deep colors like purple, green, red, orange, and blue. These pigments are full of antioxidants that can fight cancer and prevent heart disease. For more reading on this, check out this interesting article in the New York Times.

Below is the recipe. I hope you make it and enjoy it! It’s not too bitter in the end. I promise.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin Salad with Braised Fennel and Radicchio

Adapted from Ian Knauer
Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 4


Pork Tenderloin
1 tsp fennel seeds
Kosher Salt
1 lb pork tenderloin
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch wedges (reserve 1/4 cup fronds)
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicen broth
2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice

Radicchio Salad
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 small head radicchio, trimmed, leaves torn
1 small bunch chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
Seeds from 1 small pomegranate
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the middle.

In a small skillet, toast fennel seeds over medium heat, bout 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool. Roughly grind seeds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Pat pork dry, then sprinkle with crushed fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. 

Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-proof heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on all sides, about 6 minutes total, then transfer to a plate. Sauté garlic and fennel wedges in skillet until fennel is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add wine, stirring and scraping up brown bits, then stir in broth and butter. Nestle pork top of fennel and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145 to 150°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer skillet to stovetop (handle will be hot) and boil, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in lemon juice and reserved fennel fronds. Remove from heat.

In a large serving bowl, prepare dressing by whisking olive oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add 2 tbsp of the braising liquid from the skillet and torn radicchio. Toss to combine and let sit 5 minutes to soften. Add braised fennel wedges, chives, pomegranate seeds, and toss again to combine. 

Thinly slice pork and serve over radicchio salad. Garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy!



Pork Belly Stir-Fry with Snow Peas and Mixed Mushrooms


Seeing this recipe, you might ask, is pork belly stir-fry a healthy option? It depends! As a dietitian, I know that it’s totally fine to indulge on occasion. While I wouldn’t recommend eating large portions of this delicious meal below every day, I will say that it can be a part of a healthy diet, especially because it’s packed with so many vegetables. So while I’ll try to keep other meals I eat this week on the lower sodium side, I will allow this on my plate.

Overall, I think that it’s important to allow yourself to eat the foods you enjoy on occasion as long as you keep moderation in mind, and try to be creative by incorporating healthy ingredients as much as possible. That way you can stick to your plan to meet your health goals, but not become discouraged on your journey to getting there!


Pork Belly Stir-Fry with Snow Peas and Mixed Mushrooms

Adapted from Bon Appetit Test Kitchen
Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

1 lb pork belly, cut into 2-inch-long by ¼-inch-thich slices
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp ginger, minced
16 oz mixed Asian mushrooms, such as oyster, enoki, shiitake
8 oz snow peas, trimmed
1 bunch green onions, sliced, divided
12 birdseye chilis (optional)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, divided
3-5 tbsp hoisin sauce (to taste)
2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce
¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Steamed rice, to serve

Sprinkle pork belly with salt and pepper. Heat a large wok or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and mushrooms; stir-fry until mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Add pork belly to skillet; stir fry for 1-2 minutes, until pork has browned, but is not cooked through. Add snow peas, half of the green onions, birdseye chilis (if using), and half of the cilantro; stir-fry for one minute. Stir in hoisin, chili-garlic sauce, and five-spice powder. Sauté until peas are crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates with steamed rice and sprinkle with remaining green onions and cilantro.

Thai Basil Pork


Adrian and I have been obsessed with Thai Basil Pork ever since we visited Thailand in 2012. I have a fuzzy memory about how we actually discovered the dish there – I think one of our Thai friends recommended it, but couldn’t quite explain what it was. We thought the name was funny enough that we set out to learn its true components and master them when we got home. And that we did! It’s jam packed with flavor and quick to make, which means that we make it at least once a month!

Below is our recipe that we’ve adapted from several different variations online. I’ve tried to make notes where you can adjust ingredients if you don’t have access to them. But if you’re not sure what they are (maybe you’ve never heard of holy basil), do Google them! They’re worth learning about and even trying.


Thai Basil Pork

Time: 25 Minutes
Serves: 4

3 Limes, juice of, divided
1.25 lb ground pork, chicken, turkey, or beef
4 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 green onions, sliced thin
10 bird’s eye chilies, minced (less for mild, more for Thai spicy)
3 tbsp toasted rice, divided
2.5 tablespoons fish sauce
1.75 teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 bunches holy basil, stems removed (sweet basil and Thai basil work well)
¼ tsp ground white pepper + more for garnish
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
4 Fried Eggs

While prepping above ingredients, marinate pork with juice of one lime.

Add oil into a heated wok. Add chopped garlic, shallots, and green onions. Stir fry until aromatic, then add the pork. Use the spatula to quickly stir-fry and break the pork into small lumps.

When the pork changes color, toss in the chilies, 2 tbsp toasted rice, and the seasonings (fish sauce, palm sugar, and sweet soy sauce) and continue to stir-fry.

Add in the basil leaves and do a few quick stirs until the basil leaves are wilted. Sprinkle in ground white pepper powder, do a final stir, and and serve immediately over steamed jasmine rice, garnished with toasted rice, a dash of ground white pepper, and topped with a fried egg.



Taste the Rainbow! Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Vegetables and Lemon-Garlic Rosemary Sauce


Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4

Eating an array of colors ensures that you are optimizing the nutrients that will reduce your risk for cancer and boost your immune system. Will eating a Big Mac do that? It sure won’t. So look for variety and color the next time you eat out or plan your meals for the week! Or, why not just make this little recipe? It’s delicious.

3 parsnips, peeled, wide ends halved, cut into 0.5 x 1.5 inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled, wide ends halved, cut into 0.5 x 1.5 inch pieces
1 medium turnip, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 small sweet potato, peeled, halved, cut into 0.5 x 1.51.5 inch pieces
4 medium shallots, whole, peeled
2 spring onions, whole, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1 head garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic (purple if available), finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large baking dish, add parsnips, carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, shallots, and spring onions. Toss with oil and salt and roast for 25 minutes. Toss again, adding rosemary and garlic. Roast vegetables until cooked through and browned.

Meanwhile, sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until well-browned on each side (about 2-3 minutes) and your thermometer’s temperature registers at 145 degrees F. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Heat pan to medium and add 1 tsp oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. Add wine and broth. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring up the brow bits on the bottom for about 5 minutes, until liquid reduces to a sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice, zest, and rosemary.

When the vegetables are done, add to a serving dish with pork medallions. Adjust seasonings and drizzle with sauce. Serve with warmed whole grain bread.