This melt in your mouth pork tenderloin recipe with tart apples, sweet carrots, anise scented fennel bulbs and charred onions requires an oven, a sheet pan and a cast iron, and little else. Prep the meal in 15 minutes and let the oven do the heavy lifting! Bright mustard infused with Herbes de Provence and a quick pan gravy tie the whole dish together for a fast, hearty weeknight meal.
I know it seems impossible at this point, but we are still working our way through the apples from our anniversary apple picking adventure. This super easy and deliciously satisfying dinner helped me use a bit more of the bounty by pairing up with one of my favorite inexpensive cuts of meat - pork tenderloin.
Technically, this is a two pan meal. I prefer to roast my apples and vegetables on a sheet pan, but keep the pork separate so as to make a quick pan gravy. Trust me, the cleanup is still exceptionally easy thanks to parchment paper and deglazing the pork pan.
Table of Contents
- The beauty of an oven roasted meal
- How to make roasted pork tenderloin in the oven
- How to prep the apples and root vegetables
- What to do while the veggies are roasting
- Put in the pork
- Making pan gravy
- Plating the pork tenderloin with apples and root vegetables
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Want more weeknight dinner ideas? Check out these other simple recipes:
The beauty of an oven roasted meal
Y'all, I am LOVING this fall weather and am digging any opportunity to turn my oven on. I swear, the house smells the best this time of year because I get to do what I love best - cook! and bake! - without feeling guilty about blasting the AC while the oven is on. Instead, with our trusty Nest set to Eco mode, the house gets a little warmer and cozier from my exploits.
In true weeknight dinner fashion, the oven turns a little bit of prep into something delicious without any extra effort on my part. This roasted pork tenderloin with apples and fall veggies literally requires just 10-15 minutes worth of active work depending on how fast you are with a knife, and the rest is taken care of by my favorite household appliance.
While the meal was cooking, I had plenty of time to pour a glass of wine, smooch my handsome husband, dish out some fancy dinner scoops for the pups, and set up tomorrow's coffee to brew before the alarm goes off. (I don't know about y'all, but I'm preverbal before a mug or two. Waking up in the dark when the house is chilly feels a little more doable when I can smell the hope that is coffee percolating through the air.)
How to make roasted pork tenderloin in the oven
First up, pull out your pork tenderloin. If there's any silver skin or excess fat on it, simply trim it off. Liberally season all sides of the tenderloin with kosher salt and pepper, then nestle it in an oven safe pan, preferably cast iron.
Next, whip out your best dijon mustard and a single spice jar: Herbes de Provence. Take a few tablespoons of mustard and stir in a few teaspoons of the Herbes, and voila! You have all the flavor you need to make this dinner totally over the top.
Using a pastry brush (or the back of a spoon), slather your seasoned pork tenderloin with the mustard mixture and let it hang out while you prep your veggies. The mustard will tenderize the meat, resulting in a pork tenderloin I could literally cut with my fork.
How to prep the apples and root vegetables
Now that your pork is sorted, time to prepare the veg. Pull out a sheet pan and line it with parchment.
TIP: While this step is technically optional, just trust me and do it. Once the veggies are all cooked and caramelized, all you have to do for cleanup is toss the parchment in the compost.
Peel and vertically slice the onion into ½" thick slices. Core and slice the apple into similar sized pieces. To clear your cutting board, just toss the slices onto your sheet pan.
If necessary, trim your fennel down to the bulb. If you have some of the frilly parts of the frond leftover, plunge them into some cold water to garnish the dish at the end. If you don't have any, don't fret. Turn the bulb on its side, remove the root base, then slice into ½" pieces.
Next up, cut your carrots. If you feel fancy, you can totally peel them, but you don't have to. I happen to like doing a roll cut on the carrots for a little texture, but you can absolutely just cut them on the diagonal if you prefer. Watch this video to learn about the roll cut. Just shoot for roughly ½" pieces.
Now, strip your rosemary. Using your non-dominant hand, pinch the top of a sprig. Using your dominant hand, lightly pinch right under your fingers, then slide them down to pull off the leaves. If you need a visual, check this out.
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves on the veggies, drizzle a few glugs of olive oil over the sheet pan, season with kosher salt and pepper, then toss with your hands to coat everything evenly. Spread the veggies out in a single layer, then pop them in the oven for 30 minutes.
What to do while the veggies are roasting
Strangely enough, the vegetables take longer to cook than the pork. While the veggies are getting their first pass in the oven, feel free to do a quick clean up by washing your knife and cutting board and wiping down your work surface.
If you're planning on serving this dish with mashed potatoes (which I strongly recommend), now is the time to bring them to a boil. And if you happen to want garlic mashed potatoes (which I also strongly recommend), throw a few cloves of peeled garlic in with your potatoes as they boil.
Now pour yourself a glass of something tasty, squish on your pups, flip through a magazine or lay out tomorrow's clothes. You have a full 30 minutes at your disposal (or 28, if you did clean up). Use it however it best suits you!
Put in the pork
Ok, the 30 minutes have flown by. Time to crank the oven to broil at 500F, then toss in your pork pan on the top rack. Set the timer for about 10 minutes.
If your potatoes have been boiling, check them with a fork now. If they are easily pierced by the fork, it's time to drain them. Toss in your butter to give it time to melt, then cover with a lid. Don't mash until the pork is resting.
At 10 minutes, pull the pork out and check the temperature. If it hits about 142F in the thickest spot, you can pull it out. The pork will continue to cook as it rests, and we are looking for 145F for food safety. In an ideal world, we want it to be exactly 145, no higher, for the most tender and juicy pork around.
If necessary, toss the pork back in for another 3-5 minutes to finish cooking. Once done, switch off your oven. The apples and veggies can stay on the sheet pan in the oven to keep warm. Just crack the oven door for em. Move the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil for 5-7 minutes.
Making pan gravy
Pan gravy is synonymous with "awesome sauce." It uses all the fond (those yummy brown bits leftover from roasting the pork) and leftover juices with added liquid (in this case, wine) and a touch of butter for a supremely velvety finish for this quick weeknight meal.
After the pork is out of the pan, move the pan to your burner over medium heat.
TIP: Be careful of the handle here! I know it's instinct to reach for it, but that sucker was just in a 500 degree oven.
Add in the wine, and using a spatula or spoon, scrape up all the fond at the bottom of the pan. Bring the wine to a simmer and let cook for 2-3 minutes, until the scent of alcohol has burned off. Remove the pan from heat, then stir in the butter. Gravy = done!
If you're making mashed potatoes, the time is upon you. Mash those suckers up with an ample amount of cream and butter. If you used garlic, make sure you mash very well to break up the cloves. A potato ricer is great for this, and results in exquisitely fluffy potatoes. Just sayin'.
Plating the pork tenderloin with apples and root vegetables
Now that the pork has rested, slice on the bias into ½ - ¾" pieces. If using, plate the mashed potatoes first, then heap a scoop of apples and veggies on the side. Top with a few slices of pork down the middle. Finally, give a hefty drizzle of the pan gravy. If you have any wispy strands of fennel waiting, scatter a few over the top for a pop of color.
That's the whole dinner! You just made something healthy, delicious, hearty and filling with almost no effort. Look at you go! You're a dang weeknight hero. Pour yourself another and tuck into that delicious plate. Don't forget to look at the delighted faces of your family between bites, because that's the real win.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don't have Herbes de Provence?
Don't you fret. While I love Herbes de Provence for packing a ton of flavor into a single jar, you have a few options here. 1.) You can make your own Herbes de Provence. Check out this recipe. Or, 2.) You can substitute Italian Seasoning.
Can I make the pan gravy without wine?
Sure thing! The wine does do an excellent job at bringing out the flavor of the dijon mustard, I totally support having a dry house. If this is the case, I'd recommend using some chicken or vegetable stock. And if you're feeling like really driving the "fall" component home, apple cider would also make a delicious, albeit sweeter, gravy.
I thought pork wasn't supposed to be pink?
As long as your pork is 145F, it is safe to eat. A little bit of pink in the center isn't bad at all! It just means the pork is nice and juicy. If you don't believe me, check out this NPR article titled "A Little Pink is OK."
What other sides would go well with this dish?
I'm a sucker for potatoes, but soft polenta, savory grits, mashed cauliflower or mashed parsnip would all be perfectly delightful here. You can also just eat as is, without anything else. There's a whole lot of flavor happening as is!
Want more weeknight dinner ideas? Check out these other simple recipes:
- Sheet Pan Sausage with Root Vegetables and Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette
- Sheet Pan Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Bowls
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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Herbed Mustard & Roasted Apples and Fall Vegetables
- Move one oven rack to the upper third of the oven and one at about the middle. Preheat oven to 450F. Line a sheet pan with parchment for easy clean up.
- Trim pork tenderloin of all silver skin and excess fat. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper on all sides. Place in a cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet).
- In a small bowl, mix mustard and herbes de provence together. Using a pastry brush, evenly brush the top and sides of the tenderloin with the mustard mix and allow to marinate while you prepare the vegetables.
- Remove root bottom of fennel, then thinly slice into ½" slices. Peel and slice onion into ½" vertical slices. Core apple and cut into ½" slices. Peel (optional) and roll cut carrots into ½" pieces. Strip rosemary leaves from stems.
- Put all veggies and rosemary on a parchment lined sheet pan and drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Spread vegetables out evenly and place in 450F oven on middle rack for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn oven broiler on high (500F). Place pork tenderloin on top rack for 10-15 minutes, or until mustard crust is golden brown and the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145F. Remove pork and vegetables from oven. Place pork on a cutting board and tent with foil for 5 minutes to rest.
- Place cast iron pan on burner over medium heat, being careful of the handle. It's still very hot from the oven! Pour in white wine and use a spatula to loosen up the fond (browned bits) stuck to the bottom. Bring to a simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until alcohol has burned off. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring constantly to keep the pan gravy from breaking.
- Slice pork tenderloin on the bias into ½" thick pieces. Serve a few slices with a hefty spoonful of veggies and a drizzle of pan gravy. Enjoy!
- We served ours with garlic mashed potatoes and weren't sorry about it. To make garlic mashies, simply add a few cloves of garlic to the potato boiling water. Strain the water, add cream, butter, salt and pepper to taste and mash the garlic right in! If you want to be extra fancy about it, a potato ricer will yield the fluffiest potatoes.