Cherry Pork Tenderloin is the perfect weeknight meal. Recipe includes the BEST marinade for pork, great on pork chops as well.
Something about this recipe feels fancy for a weeknight but, I promise, it's quick and easy, perfect for those busy mid-week meals. This is especially true if you do a bit of meal prep!
This cherry pork tenderloin comes directly from our super fast meal plans, meaning the meal prep is QUICK! With these meal plans you can prep 5 healthy dinners in just one hour.
For this pork, the meal prep mainly consists of making the marinade ahead of time. This is the BEST marinade for pork and it works just as well on pork chops as pork tenderloin. It consists of cherries, tamari, balsamic, maple syrup, garlic and salt. These simple ingredients come together beautifully in a sweet and earthy marinade that really sets this meal apart.
Make sure to check out the meal prep tips below the recipe!
Cherry Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
- 2 # pork tenderloin
- 8 oz frozen, pitted cherries
- 2 T tamari
- 1/4 cup balsamic
- 2 T maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp thyme
- Thaw 1/3 cup cherries under cold water in a plastic bag.
- For pork marinade, in a blender combine: 1/3 cup thawed cherries, 2T tamari, 1/4 cup balsamic, 2T maple syrup, 1/4 tsp salt and 2 cloves garlic. Blend on high until combined.
- Pour marinade over pork tenderloin in a shallow pan and marinate 1-24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Remove pork from marinade & place in a baking dish. Sprinkle w/ 1 tsp thyme. Place ~3/4 cups frozen cherries around pork in the pan. Cook ~20-25 mins or until cooked through, 145 F.
What to Serve with Cherry Pork Tenderloin
Cherry pork tenderloin has a lot of flavor, meaning you can keep the sides super simple and still have a delicious meal. I love serving with a simple veggie side like the green beans pictured above. Here are some ideas for sides:
- Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes
- Sautéed Green Beans
- Simple Salad w/ Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
- Herbed Corn and Kale
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Roasted Potatoes
- Steamed or Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Gluten Free Corn Muffins
Pork Tenderloin Tips
I love including pork tenderloin in my regular recipe rotation for a couple of reasons. First, it cooks quickly – key for weeknights! Second, it's generally pretty affordable. Third, it's quite tender and doesn't require a whole lot of work to make it delicious!
That said, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your pork tenderloin comes out delicious every time. Specifically, you'll want to avoid overcooking, which can result in dry meat. Here are a few pork tenderloin tips to keep in mind:
- Cook pork to an internal temp of 145 F (this was lowered from the previous recommendation of 160 F.)
- Pork tenderloin may be a bit pink in the middle, even if it's fully cooked.
- Let the pork tenderloin rest for a few minutes before you slice.
With these tips, you'll get juicy pork tenderloin that's delicious and never dry!
Can I meal prep cherry pork tenderloin?
Yes! This dish is perfect for meal prep for a couple of reasons.
First, if you prep the marinade ahead of time, the actual dish comes together quickly.
Second, the cherry marinade works quite well as an overnight pork marinade. If you've made it ahead, it's easy to add the pork and refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor.
To prep ahead, thaw 1/3 cup cherries under cold water in a plastic bag. Then make the marinade by combining the 1/3 cup thawed cherries, tamari, balsamic, maple syrup, salt and garlic in a blender. Blend on high until combined. The night before you plan to serve the dish, combine pork and marinade in a container and let sit overnight.
What's the nutrition like for this marinated pork tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin is quite a lean cut of meat and the bulk of the flavor in this recipe comes from cherries, which pack in a ton of nutrients. Here's a bit of information on the vitamins and nutrients the ingredients provide:
Pork Tenderloin (Thiamine, Selenium, Zinc, B Vitamins, Iron)
Pork provides substantial amounts of thiamine, selenium, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron and, of course, protein. Tenderloin is the leanest cut of pork.
Cherries (Vitamin C, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Fiber)
Packed with fiber, vitamin C and potassium, cherries are great for your immune system and blood pressure. In addition, cherries are anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants. Cherries also contain melatonin and therefore may help with quality sleep!
Tamari imparts all of the wonderful umami flavor of soy sauce, without the gluten. While most soy sauce in the US is made with wheat, tamari is generally wheat and gluten free, though you should of course look for the gluten free label to be sure if you have an intolerance!
Made from grape juice, balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants that may help lower cholesterol. It also contains probiotics that are good for healthy digestion.
Maple Syrup (Manganese, Zinc)
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup contains 165% of the recommended dietary intake for manganese and 28% for zinc. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, reducing blood sugar spikes.
Garlic (Beneficial Sulfur Compounds, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium)
Garlic has been used in homeopathic remedies for thousands of years and is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and some types of cancer. Eating garlic may also help prevent colds and other minor illnesses.
Scientists believe these substantial health benefits may stem primarily from garlic's sulfur compounds such as allicin, diallyl disulfide and sallyl cysteine.
Thyme (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Copper, Iron, Manganese)
Like most herbs, thyme is full of health benefits. It's thought to potentially help lower blood pressure, improve immunity and even improve your mood. Many of the studies have focused on thyme essential oil, thyme extract or thyme tea so further studies are needed to substantiate these benefits from culinary uses of thyme.
Want more recipes with frozen cherries?
I love frozen cherries! They're one of those frozen fruits that are pretty great to just eat plain. If you want to get creative though, here are four of my personal favorite ways to use this easy ingredient!
This is one of those desserts you can legitimately feel great about eating. Dairy free, it gets its creaminess from avocado – I promise, you can't taste it! The mousse itself has only three ingredients (frozen cherries, avocado and vanilla).
I highly recommend making the accompanying coconut milk whipped cream though! It adds that little something special that really takes this healthy dessert to the next level. If you've never made coconut whip before, watch my quick video on How to Make Coconut Milk Whipped Cream.
Paleo and gluten free, my cherry cobbler is just about as homey and nostalgic as it gets. The top layer is made from almond flour, butter or coconut oil, dates, pecans, unsweetened coconut and spices.
The filling is simply frozen cherries, almond flour and a touch of almond extract.
It's quite healthy for a dessert and the flavors are amazing!
Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl
This smoothie bowl feels so decadent but with ingredients like frozen cherries, frozen collard greens and almond butter, it's actually quite a nutritious breakfast!
Have fun with the toppings. That's the best part!
Yogurt Parfait with Cherries
With only two ingredients, plus any desired toppings, this dish couldn't be any simpler. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best!
You can serve this with a variety of toppings like nuts, shredded coconut, additional fruit or my grain-free granola!