This roasted pork loin recipe comes from my cookbook Romancing the Stove the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods. And it’s one of the recipes in the book that gets the most feedback. Because the pork and vegetables cook together, my readers love how easily this full meal comes together.
The flavor that inspired this entire dish is an iconic fruit of fall, pomegranate. In addition to being one of my favorite autumn fruits, pomegranate is one of the world’s most legendary aphrodisiac foods. In fact, its reputation is shared by cultures from every corner of the world. Learn more about the aphrodisiac history of pomegranate. And while this scarlet fruit is the dish’s star flavor, it is only one of many potent aphrodisiac ingredients. Sweet potatoes and fennel, both noted libido-lifters, are taken to a whole new level by roasting with sweet, pomegranate butter.
Roasting pork loin vs pork tenderloin
This oven roasted pork loin recipe calls for a boneless loin. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are fairly similar cuts of meat in that they’re both quite lean and easy to cook. (They’re also easy to overcook!) But a pork loin, which comes from the back of the animal, is the wider of the two cuts and usually comes with a layer of fat on the top. This makes it the easier of the two to cook without drying out the meat.
Using a meat thermometer
This recipe for cooking a pork loin roast calls for a marinade. (In this case, my pork loin marinade is a simple but effective combination of pomegranate juice and salt.) This is one of my tricks for ensuring a moist, flavorful and delicious final dish. If you’re worried about to cook a pork loin in the oven I want to assure you that it couldn’t be easier. But you do need one very important tool before you start. You cannot cook this pork loin roast recipe in the oven without a reliable meat thermometer.
It doesn’t matter if it’s digital or a mechanical model. (I use a mechanical thermometer so I don’t have to worry about batteries.) The only thing that matters is that you use it. In fact, I recommend cooking your pork loin in the oven by by the meat’s internal temperature rather than cooking time.
Substituting with pork tenderloin
This recipe, because it’s meant for a dinner for two plus leftovers for lunch the next day, calls for a very small pork loin. If you have trouble finding a cut this small, you can use a pork tenderloin. I’ve made this recipe with a longer, thinner pork tenderloin many times and it works quite well. The only trick is to watch the temperature. The meat will cook in a shorter period of time and it can get unpleasantly dry when overcooked. So use your thermometer!
An easy quinoa recipe with lemon and mint
The base of the dish, quinoa, is known as a good-for-you grain. And it comes by that name honestly. Quinoa is truly one of the most nutrient-dense dinner dishes you can make. This nutritious grain is a good source of protein and is loaded with fiber. And if you’re making this pork loin recipe as part of a romantic dinner for two, you might be interested to know that quinoa is also a source of several nutrients beneficial to your sex life, including manganese and zinc. But it’s also on the bland side.
An easy quinoa dressing
So I add plenty of natural flavor-boosting ingredients to my simple quinoa recipe. First just follow a basic quinoa recipe for cooking the quinoa in water. Just be careful not to overcook the grain. Then it’s treated to a simple dressing of fresh lemon juice and olive oil. The lemon gives an acidic spark to the dish and lifts quinoa’s subtle, natural flavor.
Using fresh mint
Lastly, I add in fresh mint. Mint is a wonderful, fragrant partner for pomegranate and really helps to tie this simple quinoa in with the other elements of this pork dish. (Incidentally, did you know that mint is considered aphrodisiac? It not only sweetens breath but, just like quinoa, it’s actually a source of several vitamins and minerals important to sexual health.)
A recipe couples can cook together
Because this roasted pork loin dish requires several steps, it’s a perfect recipe for a couple to cook together. Believe it or not, working side-by-side with your sweetie in the kitchen can be an excellent prelude to games of love. (It’s also a great excuse to get some help making dinner!)
This roasted pork recipe combines multiple layers of flavor and texture to create one complex and sensual dish. It's a great recipe for couples to cook together, since there are multiple components to complete and bring together at the end.
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 lb boneless loin of pork
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 3 parsnips
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 tbsp pomegranate kernels optional
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter cold
- salt to taste
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh mint chopped
- Place shallot in a Ziplock bag with 1 cup pomegranate juice and 1/4 tsp salt. Remove pork from the refrigerator, add to the bag and marinate on the counter for 30 minutes. (This will allow the pork to come almost to room temperature before cooking.)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees while you make the pomegranate butter (recipe below).
- Cut sweet potato and parsnip into uniform, 1/2-inch pieces. Chop fennel and onion into 1/2-inch long slices. Put the vegetables into a roasting pan and toss with the garlic and 2 Tbsp of the pomegranate butter, (recipe below).
- Add the pork to the pan and cook, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 138 degrees.
- Remove the meat from the pan and cover with foil. Allow loin to rest for 15 minutes.
- Test vegetables with a fork. If they do not feel tender, return pan to the oven while meat is resting.
- Slice meat thickly and serve over the quinoa (recipe below) with the vegetables as garnish. Drizzle with remaining pomegranate butter to taste. (You may choose not to use all the butter. Any leftovers can be served over grilled chicken or steaks.) Sprinkle with pomegranate kernels (optional).
- Saute shallots in white wine, let the wine reduce.
- Add pomegranate juice and reduce by a third.
- Remove from heat incorporate butter.
- Add quinoa to a saucepan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until quinoa has softened and is fluffy but still has texture. (Overcooking quinoa will produce something the texture of grits.)
- When quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and cool for 20 minutes. Toss with lemon juice and oil and season with salt to taste. Toss in the mint just before serving.
Love Amy’s pork loin roast recipe? Get the whole book, Romancing the Stove: the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods:
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