Gochujang Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad with Snap Peas and Peanuts
Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that’s spicy, garlicky, slightly sweet and pungent (in a good way). It adds instant umami to marinades, sauces and stews. Here it takes a salad dressing, which is also used as a marinade for pork tenderloin, to new heights. The warm, grilled meat is served over a cool and crunchy mix of butter lettuce, snap peas, radishes, herbs and peanuts for an unforgettable salad. Skirt steak or boneless skinless chicken thighs would be delicious substitutes for the pork. Take note that you’ll need to marinate the pork for 30 minutes before grilling, or you can marinate it up to one day before (it will be even more flavorful!).
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 6 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or sunflower), plus more for grill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (12- to 16-ounce) pound pork tenderloin
- 1 small head butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups sugar snap peas, sliced on the diagonal
- ½ cup lightly packed mint and/or cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
- 5 medium radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Make the marinade/dressing
In a blender, combine the lime juice, tamari, gochujang, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, honey and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth. Do Ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Place the pork tenderloin in a large ziptop bag. Measure out a scant ¼ cup of the dressing and pour it over the pork. Seal and toss to coat the pork. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours (if refrigerated, bring to room temperature before proceeding). Do Ahead: The pork can be marinated up to 1 day in advance.
Grill the pork and make the salad
Preheat a grill to medium. Remove the pork from the marinade and blot off most, but not all, of the marinade. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Oil the grill grates, then grill the meat, covered, for 8-10 minutes, or until caramelized with grill marks. Flip and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 145˚F, about 6-10 minutes longer.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover lightly with foil, and let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice the meat crosswise.
Arrange the lettuce on a platter or on individual plates and top with the sugar snap peas, herbs and radishes. Drizzle with some of the dressing. Arrange the pork slices on top and drizzle with more dressing. Sprinkle with scallions and peanuts, then serve.
- You can now find gochujang in many grocery stores, or you can buy it online. If you're gluten-free, be sure to buy a gluten-free brand, such as Chung Jung One.
- Gochujang lasts for several months in the refrigerator (you can use it to add an umami punch to sauces and dressings, or try it in the Korean bibimbap bowls in my books, Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker and Build-a-Bowl!).
- For the most flavor, marinate the pork the day before (although it's still delicious if you marinate it before cooking).
- If you don't have an outdoor grill you can use a grill pan or cast iron skillet instead.
- The gochujang marinade is also fantastic with skirt steak and chicken thighs. In addition, it's awesome as a dressing over salads or as a dipping sauce for everything from roasted broccoli, to lettuce wraps, to kebabs.
- Feel free to use other vegetables according to what you have on hand, such as thinly sliced or shaved carrots, shell peas or snow peas and/or blanched asparagus.