Why My Secret Ingredient Is Pistachios

By: ray.perry : July 25, 2012

There are times when you really need to create a meal that will “WOW!” your guests and yet, with our busy lives few of us have hours to spend in the kitchen.

That’s where it really pays to have in one’s repertoire a couple fancy schmancy dishes that taste Oh-so gourmet and appear terribly complicated and yet couldn’t be easier. This recipe certainly falls into that category. With little hands-on preparation time and about 20 minutes in the oven, this dish is elegant enough for company and yet simple enough for a Wednesday night.

One of the secret weapons of this recipe is the use of pistachios – it adds not only great (and unexpected) flavor but it also provides great texture. Pistachios are a favorite ingredient of mine in gluten free cooking, ground up they make for a terrific (and naturally gluten free) “breading for meats, fish and poultry. A handful of pistachios mixed in with the filling adds the perfect counterpoint to the creamy goat cheese and tangy cranberries.

Serve this dish along with some simple roasted root veggies and a tossed salad and your guests will be overwhelmed that you took so much time and energy to create a really special meal for them. (Shhhh – let’s just keep it between us exactly how simple it really is.)

Gluten free Pistachio Cranberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Recipe
by Carol Kicinski


¾ cups raw salted pistachios – use divided
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 clove garlic
4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
Salt & Pepper

1 – 1½ to 2 pound pork tenderloin
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast ¼ cup pistachios in a small, dry skillet over medium high heat until they are toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Grind the remaining ½ cup pistachios in a food processor until they resemble coarse corn meal. Pour into a plate and set aside.

Put the toasted pistachios into the food processor along with the dried cranberries and garlic. Pulse several times until the mixture is evenly ground. Add the goat cheese and pulse to combine well.

Butterfly the pork tenderloin by placing the tenderloin on a cutting board and slicing it lengthwise almost all the way through then opening it out like a book. Sprinkle the inside of the meat with salt and pepper. Spread the pistachio/cranberry/goat cheese mixture evenly on the meat leaving about a half inch border. Roll the tenderloin lengthwise and tie with butcher’s string at about 2 inch intervals. Roll the tied tenderloin in the ground pistachios, pressing the pistachios onto the meat, until fully coated.

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet just large enough to hold the tenderloin until smoking hot. Place the tenderloin in the skillet and sear on all sides for 1 – 2 minutes or until browned. Place the skillet into the preheated oven and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. Temperature on an instant read thermometer should be 145 degrees for medium (still pink on the inside) and 160 degrees for well done.

Remove from the oven, place the tenderloin on a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes.

Serves 4.

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