Save Time, Money, and Your Health with One-Pan Meals in Minutes
One of the most common reasons people have trouble making home-cooked meals is the time it takes. I get it; after a long, hard day, sometimes the mere thought of cooking is more than I feel like taking on. The last thing people want to do when they get home late—tired and hungry—is spend an hour getting dinner ready. It’s no wonder so many people end up resorting to take-out, pre-cooked meals, and fast food on those busy days.
Now, of course, options are somewhat limited when you’re short on time and energy, but fortunately, getting a healthy meal on the table doesn’t need to take too much time, or even a whole lot of effort.
Sheet-pan meals are an all-time favorite of mine on days like this. The effort it takes to arrange a bunch of stuff in a pan, toss it all with some seasonings, and bake it, is incredibly minimal. But the best part is there’s also only one pan to wash afterwards, making the process even more painless!
Pork tenderloin is a perfect fit for a quick, sheet-pan meal. At about a pound per tenderloin, the meat takes a mere half hour to cook, and its mild flavor makes it a great canvas for multitudes of different flavors and seasonings. I prepare this one-pan meal with an array of different vegetables in various colors, textures, and flavors, creating a bright and lively plate, sure to suit your picky and non-picky eaters alike. It’s a great way to use up smaller amounts of vegetables hanging around in your fridge and can be prepared to suit your tastes and family size.
The only real rule here is to cut items according to their structure and density, so they all cook at about the same rate. For example, firm vegetables, like carrots, should be sliced or cut in half lengthwise; a more tender vegetable, like asparagus or mushrooms, can be left whole. I use small potatoes and cut them in half—if larger, quarters or ½-inch thick slices. I’d likely err on the smaller/thinner side, rather than larger or thicker, when prepping the veggies, to be sure they all cook by the time the pork is done. Don’t worry about items burning if cut too small; the vegetables and meat produce some liquid as they cook, so it keeps everything nice and moist. And the juices make a natural, flavorful gravy to drizzle over the whole thing afterwards.
The best part of this meal is that it takes about 10 minutes of hands-on time—just long enough to preheat the oven—and you can be sitting down for a quality home-cooked meal with your family within the hour. It can even be made in advance and popped into the oven when you get home, cutting into even less of that precious evening time.
Herbed Dijon Roast Pork Tenderloin and Veggies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: approximately 30 minutes
2 small pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each, or one larger one cut in half lengthwise, trimmed of any sinew
1 garnet yam, sliced ½-inch thick
12 (or so) fingerling or baby potatoes, cut in half (quartered or sliced if using larger potatoes)
¼ – ½ lb. green beans, trimmed and left whole
8-12 asparagus spears, left whole or cut in half
1 small bell pepper, sliced thickly
¼ cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
Salt and cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Arrange potatoes around the outside of the pan. Scatter more tender veggies in the center of the pan.
- Place pork tenderloin atop veggies in the center of the pan. Tuck thinner tip underneath, so it doesn’t overcook.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon, mustard, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and maple syrup. Drizzle most of the marinade on the meat, with a little on the veggies, rubbing it all over everything with your fingertips. Season with additional salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145°F, about 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer is great for this, but if you don’t have one, trust it will take about 30-40 minutes total.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes, then transfer meat to a cutting board and slice thickly. Serve meat with veggies and pan juices.
Image from Briana Goodall.