I don't always have a solid plan going into dinner. I do a lot of meal planning and prepping on the weekends. I peruse the internet for new ideas, I do a whole lot of chopping, and I stand over a stove for a majority of my Saturday & Sunday to make sure there's plenty to grab during the week. It's great, but it makes cooking entire meals for dinner a little harder during the week. More often than not, we're eating leftovers or mostly leftovers with one or two fresh cooked additions. Believe me, there's nothing wrong with that, it gets the job done, it gets the people fed, but every once in a while you need a whole meal where none of the parts have been reheated.
Last night was one of those nights and the bowls I made turned out to be one of my new favorite things to eat, for reals. There were tender bites of kale and quinoa, crisp refreshing apple sticks, smoky sweet potato chunks, sweet chili pork, some crunch from toasted pepitas, and smooth avocado sauce to really bring the whole bowl together! Everything just meshed so perfectly.
What's even better, most of the salad components could be great on their own. Make too much avocado sauce? That's okay, it goes great on EVERYTHING. Make too many sweet potatoes? Use them in breakfast the next morning. Have too much of all of it? Well that's not a problem at all because now you can have another bowl for lunch tomorrow!
This bowl packs a nutritional punch and is sure to brighten up your week :)
Sweet Chili Pork, Kale, & Sweet Potato Bowls
For the Pork Tenderloin:
- 2 lbs pork tenderloin
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional, but SO GOOD)
- 1/4 teaspoon course salt
- course ground black pepper
- Note: this will make more than enough for 4 people! You'll have leftovers so if for some reason you don't want leftovers, buying 1 pound of pork tenderloin and halving the marinade is totally do-able!
For the Potatoes:
- 2-3 medium sweet potatoes (I always cook more because I like leftovers), peeled & chopped into small cubes
- olive oil spray
- chipotle chili powder (optional)
For the Avocado Sauce:
- 2 avocados, pit & skin removed, sliced into strips
- juice of 1 lime
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- salt & pepper to taste
For the Rest of the Salad:
- 1 large bunch of kale, washed, pat dry, destemmed, & cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1 apple, cut into thin match sticks
- olive oil spray
- course salt
- Marinate the Pork (needs to be done ahead of time): In a small bowl mix together all of your ingredients except your pork tenderloin until well incorporated. Place pork in a large ziplock bag and pour mixture over top. Massage the marinade into the pork and place it in the fridge to marinate for at least 3 hours.
- Make your Avocado Sauce (can be done up to an hour ahead of time): Place all your ingredients in a blender or food processor (you could even use a shaker bottle & an immersion blender like I did because I was too lazy to take our & then have to clean the food processor ;D). Blend until smooth & creamy, season with salt & pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Get Started: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lay your chopped potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray with some olive oil spray & sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, & a pinch or two of that chipotle chili powder. Pop them in the oven and cook, flipping every 5-10 minutes until they begin to caramelize and are cooked through.
- Cook the Pork: In a large pan over medium high heat or an oven proof skillet greased with olive oil spray, sear the pork on all sides for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Then, transfer the pork tenderloins to the 425 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until a meat thermometer comes out reading 145-155 degrees F. Let rest for 5 minutes & slice thin.
- Toast the Pepitas: place the pepitas in a small pan over medium heat. Watch these carefully and stir or flip almost constantly to make sure they don't burn! Keep them on just until golden & fragrant. Remove & set aside.
- Dress the Kale: While everything is cooking in the oven, place your kale in a large bowl. Hit it with a quick spray of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Massage the salt & oil into the kale leaves (it makes them taste better). You'll know it's working because the kale will turn a darker green & smell fragrant. Squeeze over the juice of 1/2 lime & you're kale is dressed!
- Assemble your salads: In 4 bowls, place about a cup of kale, 1/2 cup of quinoa, 1 tablespoon pepitas, 1/4 of the apple matchsticks, 3-4 oz pork, roughly 150 grams of potatoes, and a large dollop of avocado sauce in each!
- Eat the Salad: you read that right, eat & enjoy!
Salad recipe adapted from Cookie & Kate's Southwestern Kale Power Salad | Pork marinade adapted from Aggie's Kitchen
Nutrition Facts for 1 Bowl:
597 Cal / 64g Carb / 26g Fat / 33g Protein / 384mg Sodium / 12g Sugar