Pesto-Marinated Pork Chops Recipe

Pork chops are one of the most popular cuts of meat, and it's no wonder why. Combining a wonderfully meaty texture with a mild taste which pairs well with an almost infinite number of flavors, pork chops are both affordable and versatile. In addition to this, they are also easy to cook, making them a great option for a midweek meal for the beginner cook and the seasoned home chef alike. 

This recipe for pesto-marinated pork chops uses a homemade pesto marinade devised by Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye and combines both basil and parsley for a really fresh and flavorful sauce that's a truly delicious accompaniment to pork chops. Once marinated, you can bake the pork chops in the oven, or if the weather is nice and you want to host a cookout, this recipe is also equally delicious when cooked on a grill.

Because of its versatility, there are a number of great options for sides with this dish. Apples are always a classic pairing, skillet potatoes add a delicious crispy texture to the plate, or why not serve with baked butternut squash for a bright dash of color? Whatever you decide to pair with this delicious pesto-marinated pork chops recipe, it's guaranteed to be a hit with family and friends alike.

Gather the ingredients for this pesto-marinated pork chop recipe

To make this pesto-marinated pork chops recipe first you will want to gather the ingredients. To make the homemade pesto you will need pine nuts, garlic, fresh parsley, fresh basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

You will also require pork chops for this recipe; generally speaking, a thick-cut pork chop is always a better option than the thinner-cut version, as it will be less likely to overcook and become dry. If you have difficulty sourcing pork chops, or if you fancy putting a twist on the recipe to make it your own, you can use a different cut of pork instead, such as pork steaks.

This recipe also calls for cherry tomatoes and asparagus, which cook in the baking tray alongside the pork and pair wonderfully with the fresh flavors of the marinade.

Toast the pine nuts

Toasting pine nuts is a small but important step when making pesto, and makes a world of difference to its resulting flavor. There are a couple of different methods for toasting nuts, this particular recipe calls for the pine nuts to be toasted in a pan on the stovetop. This method is quick due to using a higher heat, but that does mean it is important to keep a watchful eye on the pan and keep moving the pine nuts around to prevent them from getting burned. The pine nuts will be ready when they turn golden brown and start giving off a delicious nutty smell.

Make the pesto-marinade

A marinade is a great and simple way to add more flavor to pork chops, and it also helps to make them deliciously juicy. When the pine nuts are cool, combine them with the other pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend them together until the mixture still retains a bit of texture; a good pesto should be a little chunky, not entirely smooth. Then coat the pork with the pesto and leave it for 30 minutes to marinate. If you're not marinating the meat for too long, you can leave the pork chops at room temperature to take the chill off of them before baking. If you intend to leave them longer than that, return the chops to the fridge and take them out a little before cooking to come up to room temperature.

Cook the pork chops

When you're ready for dinner, first preheat the oven and begin to cook the asparagus and the cherry tomatoes. To cook the pork chops, heat up a pan and sear the pork chops until they are golden, on one side only. This will give the meat a lovely caramelized flavor, as well as a delicious texture and a beautiful finish. 

Nestle the pork chops alongside the tomatoes and asparagus, brush with any leftover pesto marinade, and then roast at 400 F for 7 to 8 minutes. The chops should be cooked through but still juicy. As with all meat dishes, always let the meat rest directly after cooking it. To do this, make a tent out of aluminum foil and use it to cover the pork chops for a few minutes before serving with your chosen accompaniment. 

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and should be consumed within three days. 

Pesto-Marinated Pork Chops Recipe
5 from 25 ratings
This pesto-marinated pork chop recipe uses a homemade pesto sauce (made from parsley and basil) to add a fresh and flavorful element to succulent pork chops.
Prep Time
40
minutes
Cook Time
17
minutes
Servings
4
Portions
Pesto-marinated pork chop
Total time: 57 minutes
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 1½ ounces fresh basil
  • 1 ounce fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan
  • ⅔ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pork chops, roughly 5 ounces each
  • ½ pound vine cherry tomatoes
  • ½ pound asparagus
Directions
  1. Heat a frying pan to a medium heat. Add the pine nuts to the pan and toast them, moving them around the pan until they turn golden and become fragrant. Remove from the pan and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  2. Add the cooled pine nuts, fresh basil, fresh parsley, the grated Parmesan, ⅔ cup olive oil, garlic clove, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Blend to form a chunky pesto paste.
  3. Using a sharp knife, make small cuts all along the fat on the outside of the pork chops to prevent them from curling when cooked. Then coat the pork chops on both sides with the pesto and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. When cooking pork chops, it's best to cook them from room temperature rather than chilled. So if your pork chops have been marinating in the fridge remove them a little while before cooking.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 F and place vine tomatoes and asparagus spears into a medium sized roasting tray. Coat with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season well with additional salt and pepper. Place into the oven to roast for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat up a pan, add a little cooking oil, and then place the pork chops into the pan for a few minutes to sear, until golden, on one side only.
  7. Transfer to the roasting tray and nestle among the tomatoes and asparagus, golden side facing upward, then roast for 7 to 8 minutes until just cooked through but still juicy.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave the pork to rest for a few minutes covered with a tent of aluminum foil, then serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 711
Total Fat 63.5 g
Saturated Fat 11.5 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 81.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 7.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
Total Sugars 3.1 g
Sodium 449.7 mg
Protein 30.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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