A Chat About Whole30 + Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin & Balsamic Kale Salad

Pasta. Rice. Cous Cous. Quinoa. Bread. I'm so used to having one of these grain based carbohydrates with every meal I eat, I've almost tricked my mind into thinking they're a requirement.  I picked up the The Whole30 last week, and it's filled with recipes that are protein and plant based, only using complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and squash and not grains. The Whole30 is a 30 day regimen that has participants eliminate from their diet a number of foods and ingredients [things like sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains and legumes]. The plan is to first eliminate them to see how the body reacts and then slowly reintroduce them back in, again to test how the body reacts to these ingredients. I initially read it as a way to test for food allergies, since this is a common practice when it comes to things like lactose intolerance, celiac [gluten allergy] and other forms of food allergies.

I haven't started The Whole30 yet, and I'm still not sure I will, but I've been reading and researching on it and the findings are quite fascinating. It seems that although this sort of food experiment has to do with the science behind how your body reacts to food, it also has so much to do with how our mind perceives food and develops a relationship with it. I'm still new to learning about all this, so I'll leave my curiosities here for now and instead share one of the first recipes I tried from the book!

For someone who isn't instinctually a salad eater, I almost always devour salads made with kale. I never thought it could replace eating a bowl of pasta or a cup of brown rice with a salad, but I have to say when I ate this [and I made enough to eat this a few times this week!], I didn't miss the carbs at all! Of course, the flavorful roasted pork also had something to do with it.  I'm still surprised the pork recipe doesn't call for any added fats, other than the fat found in the walnut crust.  Tenderloin is incredibly lean, so this is a fantastic healthy recipe if you want to load up on protein. I would tweak the spices in this slightly for my own personal preferences, but the overall recipe is delicious and a definite winner in the healthy eating department!


  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 2 TBsp mustard powder
  • 1 TBsp paprika
  • 1 TBsp onion powder
  • 1 TBsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts [even better, throw it in the food processor or blender and pulse]

Remove the [defrosted] pork from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 375F. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Rub the pork with the spice mixture. Coat the pork with the chopped walnuts. Place on a lined baking pan and roast for 25 minutes until the internal temperature is 145F. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes.


  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed, chopped and rinsed [use a salad spinner if you have it!]
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar [I use a good quality one like this- it lasts a long time and is worth it!]
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, or place in a food processor or blender. Massage the dressing into the kale leaves [yes massage!]. 

Slice the pork and serve it on top of a large bed of kale.  If you are feeling the need for a carb, roasted sweet potatoes are always my go to with a dish like this!