Delicious Pork Recipes for Fast Weeknight Dinners

If your weeknight dinner routine involves dropping a boneless chicken breast in a skillet and sautéing some vegetables, it’s time for a change. Climb out of your dinnertime rut by embracing “the other white meat” — pork. Flavorful pork is tastier than bland and boring chicken and healthier than beef, especially if you opt for lean cuts like pork tenderloin or loin chops. Plus, pork is far more versatile than you may realize. From pan-fried pork chops to a bowl of hearty soba noodles, here are seven easy pork recipes you can make for dinner tonight.

1. Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

Breaded pork chop

Breaded pork chop | iStock.com

If you’re in the mood for simple, fast comfort food, you can’t go wrong with these Parmesan-crusted pork chops from Food Network’s Giada De Laurentis. The meat is coated in a mix of breadcrumbs and freshly grated cheese, then quickly pan-fried. Everything goes from counter to table in about 15 minutes. Serve the cooked chops with steamed or roasted vegetables or potatoes for a complete meal. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 (½- to ¾-inch thick, 10- to 12-ounce) center-cut pork loin chops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions: Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the breadcrumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

2. Pork Belly and Kimchi

pork with kimchi and rice

Pork belly with kimchi and rice | iStock.com/ShinjiPhotographer

Fatty pork belly is more indulgent than the leaner cuts of pig like tenderloin, but its rich flavor should earn it an occasional place on your dinner table. Try it in this Korean-inspired recipe, where the meat is marinated in gochujang, a hot pepper paste, then served with kimchi (spicy fermented vegetables). You can find both ingredients at well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets. Recipe from Spice the Plate. Serves 2 to 3.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound kimchi
  • ½ pound pork belly, sliced
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • Handful of white sesame seeds

For the pork belly marinade

  • 1 tablespoon Korean hot pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar.

Directions: Combine the Korean hot pepper paste, soy sauce, and sugar in a dish. Add the pork belly and let marinate for 10 minutes.

Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Add the onion and stir fry for about 3 minutes, until browned. Add the marinated pork belly and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the meat starts to change color.

Add the kimchi to the pan and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Drizzle pork and kimchi with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve.

3. Ground Pork Stir Fry

cooking ground pork

Stir frying ground pork | iStock.com

Stir-fries are the perfect meal for busy weeknights, combining healthy veggies with a fast prep time. Rather than make your regular stir-fry with sliced chicken or beef, shake things up by using ground pork instead. When served with leafy greens, mushrooms, and carrots, plus brown rice, you have a nutritious meal without a lot of fuss. Recipe from Frugal Nutrition. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1½ cups mushrooms, cut into chunks or slices
  • ½ medium onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 3 cups leafy greens, such as bok choy, spinach, kale, or collard greens
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder or red pepper flakes
  • Sesame seeds and green onions for garnish

Directions: Cook rice according to package instructions.

Set a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the ground pork to the pan and cook without stirring until the meat is dark brown on the bottom, being careful not to break it up. Flip and continue to cook until the other side is browned. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the pan. Break apart the meat with a spoon and continue to cook until no pink remains. Remove meat from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Drain off most of the remaining oil, leaving roughly 1 tablespoon in the pan. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms start to brown. Add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chili powder, rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and the greens. Cook until the greens are wilted, then return the meat to the pan and stir to combine.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve over cooked rice.

4. Barbecue Pork Quesadillas

quesadilla on plate with salsa

Quesadilla | iStock.com

Put leftover pulled pork to good use with this recipe for pork quesadillas from Southern Living. Tortillas are stuffed with already cooked, shredded pork, then topped with cheese, barbecue sauce, cilantro, and onions for a savory spin on a simple and classic dish. Serve 4 to 6.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound shredded barbecued pork
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5 green onions, minced
  • 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • Sour cream, sliced green onions, and barbecue sauce, for topping
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions: Stir together first four ingredients.

Spoon pork mixture evenly on 1 side of each tortilla; sprinkle with cheese. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to seal. Spread butter on both sides of quesadillas.

Heat a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and cook quesadillas 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Cut each quesadilla in half for main-dish servings or in quarters for appetizer servings. Serve with desired toppings. Garnish, if desired.

5. Chimichurri Pork Chops with Couscous

Raw pork chops with parsley

Raw pork chops with parsley | iStock.com

For an elegant dinner without a lot of effort look no further than these seared pork chops. They’re served with a chimichurri sauce made from spinach and arugula, along with Israeli couscous and fresh peas. Recipe from Delish. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package plain Israeli couscous
  • 16 ounces fresh peas
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups mixed dry spinach and arugula
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 bone-in pork chops, 1-inch thick
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

Directions: In a medium pot prepare couscous according to package instructions. Add fresh peas for last 2 minutes of cooking time. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor add greens, garlic, onion, ½ teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ½ cup olive oil. Pulse until finely chopped (sauce should have some texture). Scrape side of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Set aside in a small bowl.

Preheat a large cast iron pan over high heat. Pat each pork chop dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan and add two pork chops. Sear on high for 5 minutes on each side. Remove the pork chops to rest; cook remaining pork chops.

Serve pork chops with spoonful of chimichurri and side of peas and couscous. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley.

6. Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Spinach and Capers

Knife cutting pork tenderloin

Slicing pork tenderloin | iStock.com/ErenaWilson

Roasting a pork tenderloin takes time, but cutting it into slices and cooking in a pan means you can enjoy the same flavors without the wait. Then, serve the meat with wilted spinach and capers cooked in butter. Recipe from HEB. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chardonnay
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers

Directions: Cut tenderloin crosswise into ½‑inch thick slices. Season with salt and pepper.

Wash spinach; tear or trim stems from spinach and discard. Pat spinach dry. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium‑high heat; add oil and tilt skillet to blend with butter. Cook pork in skillet 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don’t crowd pork in skillet; cook in 2 batches, if necessary. Remove pork to a plate or platter; cover to keep warm.

Pour wine and lemon juice into skillet and boil 30 seconds.

Add spinach; reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet and steam spinach 30 to 60 seconds, just until wilted. Remove spinach to plate with pork, using a slotted spoon or tongs (leave juices in skillet). Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Add capers and reduce til it just starts to thicken then pour over pork.

Pour over pork and serve immediately.

7. Spicy Pork and Soba Noodles

bowl of soba noodles

Soba noodles | iStock.com

You only need 20 minutes to prepare this spicy pork and soba noodle recipe from Real Simple. Hearty, protein-rich soba noodles have a nutty flavor that complements the pork, while crisp, fresh cucumber, scallions, and chili pepper add bite. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 (1¼-pound) pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ English cucumber, sliced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Directions: Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Season the pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the pork, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large bowl.

Toss the pork with the noodles, cucumber, scallions, chili pepper, vinegar, sesame oil, and ½ teaspoon salt.