If you haven’t delved into the sweeter side of a pork tenderloin, now is the time! We have apples and squash everywhere and the comfy flavors are perfect for for slow roasting!. There are a ton of recipes available and this is my tweaked favorite, with a little bit on how I prepare pork and use the remainder of my giant squash I chopped up a few weeks ago for chili! Is sure to be a family favorite and can be made to kick it up a notch for both kid and adult palates! Jump to recipe HERE.
Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are GREAT in the crock pot and cooked on slow, they maintain their shape and can be scooped right out onto a plate – veggies and potatoes ready to go! This recipe is super simple since you can rough chop the potatoes without peeling them for extra vitamins and everything gets dumped into the pot with no cooking oil so it is very low in fat! You also add a half an apple chopped roughly for sweetness and an onion of course for flavor. If you have little ones that are learning to eat, the sweet potatoes, apples, and butternut squash are perfect first foods and is how I fed my youngest two for years! Incorporating whole foods into everyone’s diet is never a bad idea and having food ready to go at the end of a long day for babes and adults alike is a daily goal that can alleviate the stress of figuring out dinner on the daily!
Pork loin is a VERY tender piece of meat and if you have the time, SEARING IT prior to crock potting it will help seal in flavor and juices! For the recipe below, I used two types of pork loins, one teriyaki flavored and one plain. I didn’t realize this when I opened them but figured that both could work in this dish (spoiler alert – they did!). After spraying the pan down with EVOO, giving the meat a good sear of 3-4 minutes on each side on Med High heat (I turned them twice) until slightly browned is all you need to give a richer flavor! I gently sprinkled the plain loin with cinnamon and salt before the sear and left the teriyaki alone – since it was already marinated, it had enough seasoning to begin with!
Once the meat is seared, you can simply place it on the bed of sweet potatoes and squash, which is what I did with the teriyaki piece. For this recipe, you can also slice about half way into the meat and stuff the pork with thinly sliced apples! The apple adds moisture, flavor and looks cool too. Even with the sear, you’ll notice the meat inside is still very raw, and is now ready to be slow cooked! Since I seasoned the meat before I seared it, I didn’t add more now and the slow cooking on top of the veggies and potatoes will do the rest of the work for you!
Slow Cooker Apple Pork Loin with Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes and Squash
- 1-2 pork loins (each one will serve 1-3 people) <in the pictures, I had two types, teriyaki and plain – both work GREAT!>
- cooking oil spray or just a T of olive oil for a good sear
- 1 large apple (any type works, I used a GALA) cut in half – half chopped in 1 inch “cubes” and half sliced 1/4 inch thin
- 1 T cinnamon
- 2 cups sweet potatoes (3 medium rough chopped)
- 2 cups butternut squash (half a medium squash)
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- optional 1 t ginger fresh or frozen
- optional 1 – 3 garlic cloves
- Chop all the vegetables roughly the same size and dump them in the crock along with the garlic and ginger
- Rough cut HALF the apple and toss that in the crock too
- Generously sprinkle with cinnamon (option to toss it all together but that’s not necessary)
- Season the meat to taste – salt pepper and sprinkle of cinnamon, for this recipe you can also substitute a marinated pork loin and you would season that differently (I chose NOT to add more seasonings to the teriyaki loin)
- Heat a pan to Med High heat, spray with PAM or your choice of cooking oil (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil a lot) and sear each side of the loin(s) until they are gently brown
- Thinly slice 1/4 inch pieces of the other half of the apple
- If stuffing, slice about half way into the pork about 2 inches apart along the loin and stuff the apples into all of the different slots
- Place the pork (apple stuffed or not) on top of the bed veggies and potatoes
- Cook on low for 6 hours.
- When you are ready to eat, take out the pork and slice in to rounds, take a few and scoop some veggies and potatoes on to your plate – ENJOY!
Slow cooking is so convenient and the house smells wonderful as a result, too! The meat shrinks down, only slightly, and all of the juices are great to sop up with a dinner roll if you’ve got one! I am sure you can knock this recipe out in an instaPOT as well – not sure of settings or directions though (so, you’re welcome?). This meal is an easy way to incorporate home cooked fruits, veggies, and flavorful protein into a busy schedule for kids of all ages, I hope you try it and LIKE IT!!