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Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad

The bright fresh taste of a watermelon and cucumber salad makes a sensational counterpoint to the fiery spice crust on this succulent pork tenderloin. It’s important to brown the meat before roasting, since this cut cooks too quickly for the surface to brown and caramelize in the oven. Grill enthusiasts may omit the stovetop browning (Step 3) and grill the tenderloins over medium heat, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes.


6 servings

Prep Time

35 minutes

Total Time

45 minutes


Pork Tenderloin

  • 2teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2teaspoons chile-garlic sauce
  • 2teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed

Watermelon Salad

  • 2tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2teaspoons sugar
  • 2cups diced seeded watermelon
  • 2cups diced cucumber
  • 1/2cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped


  1. To prepare pork: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Mix sugar, coriander, cumin, salt, chile-garlic sauce and 1 teaspoon oil in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Rub the paste over the pork.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  4. Roast the pork until just cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 145°F), 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare salad: Stir vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar almost dissolves. Add watermelon, cucumber and cilantro; toss gently to combine. Just before serving, sprinkle with peanuts.
  6. Carve the pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with the watermelon salad.


For the best flavor, toast nuts and seeds before using in a recipe. To toast seeds, sliced or chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. To toast whole nuts, spread in a single layer in a small baking pan and bake in a 350°F oven until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring the nuts or shaking the pan once. Transfer to a small bowl or plate to cool. (When toasting hazelnuts, rub the nuts with a clean kitchen towel as soon as they come out of the oven to remove as much of the papery skin as possible.)

Chile-garlic sauce (also labeled chili-garlic sauce, or paste) is a blend of ground chiles, garlic and vinegar. It will keep for up to 1 year in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving (recipe makes 6 servings)

Calories 157.93kcal
Carbohydrate Total 3.4g
Total Sugars 2.46g
Added Sugars 2g
Fiber 0.62g
Total Fat 4.67g
Saturated Fat 1.08g
Mono Saturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 73.71mg
Sodium 179.08mg
Protein 24.25g
Potassium 481.61mg
Calcium 16.05mg
Folate 2.42mcg
Iron 1.41mg
Omega-6 1g
Trans Fatty Acid 286.42g
Vitamin A 125.95IU
Vitamin C 1.19mg
Vitamin E 1mg
Zinc 2mg
Phosphorus 0.02mg
Vitamin B3 8mg

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