Spiced Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce (Paleo, Whole30)

These Spiced Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce are a fast and easy weeknight dinner!

Juicy chops are coated in a savory spice mixture, then topped with a thick, luscious cherry sauce.

And it’s ready in 30 minutes.

Plus it’s naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!

healthy pork chops one white plates topped with cooked cherries, sliced scallions and chopped herbs

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Spiced Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

There’s something about pork that just naturally pairs with fruit.

And I especially love pork chops with cherries since cherries aren’t too sweet.

So when I first tried a recipe in Gregory Gourdet’s cookbook, Everyone’s Table, combining pork chops with cherries, I knew I had to create a fast, weeknight version.

We’re going to swap out some of his methods (brining the pork chops, toasting whole seeds and then crushing them) and change some amounts without losing any of the flavor.

I first coat the chops in a mixture of salt, pepper, coriander and cumin. This not only amps up the savory flavor, it also gives the chops a nice crust.

And the sauce is super simple: just simmer fresh, pitted or frozen cherries (no need to thaw, if frozen) with salt, ginger and either ground chipotle or chipotle flakes.

This gives the sauce a smoky, subtle heat without being too spicy.

Unlike other cherry sauces, this one contains no wine.

Top the cherry-coated chops with sliced scallions and herbs for a burst of freshness and you’re all set.

This Paleo pork chop recipe is ready to become a new part of your weeknight dinner rotation.

 

What you need for Spiced Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, thick-cut pork chops
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus 3/4 teaspoon for the sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh, pitted or frozen cherries (no need to thaw if frozen)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle or chipotle flakes
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch/flour or tapioca starch (plus 1 tablespoon water) (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or grass-fed butter
  • 4 sliced scallions, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, mint and basil

Equipment:

paleo pork chops on a wooden cutting board next to a white bowl with a chunky cherry sauce

How to make Spiced Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce

First, make the sauce: add the cherries, ground ginger, ground chipotle or chipotle flakes and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a medium saucepan.

Place over medium heat and stir occasionally. Once the cherries begin to soften, you can gently press on them to help release their juices. I like to leave some whole but do what you want.

Meanwhile, if making the slurry, mix the arrowroot with one tablespoon water in a small mixing bowl. This will help thicken the sauce.

Once the cherries have released a lot of liquid, after about 5-8 minutes, stir in the lime juice and the arrowroot/water slurry.

Turn the heat to low and cover with a lid.

While the cherries cook, pat the pork chops dry with paper towels.

Use a paring knife to cut 2 vertical slits about 2 inches apart in the fatty side of the chops. This will help prevent the chops from curling up as they cook.

In a small bowl, mix together the 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, coriander, cumin and pepper. Coat the chops on both sides with the spice mixture, gently patting it in to make sure it sticks.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the avocado oil or olive oil and the ghee or butter over medium-high heat.

When the pan is hot, add the chops and let sear for about 4-5 minutes.

Flip (you’ll know they’re ready when the chops release easily from the pan) and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until they reach 145° on an instant read thermometer.

Transfer the chops to plates or a platter. Top with the cherry sauce, scallions and fresh herbs and serve.

 

Make ahead and storage

The cherry sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

The sauce can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Reheat the sauce in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.

The cooked chops can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The cooked chops can also be frozen (before they’re topped with the sauce). Store them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Reheat the chops in a low oven or the microwave.

 

Substitutions and variations

  • You can use thick-cut, bone-in pork chops instead of boneless chops. The cooking time shouldn’t change.
  • You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They may need more time to cook, depending on their thickness.
  • You can use 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger instead of ground ginger in the sauce.
  • If you want a truly spicy cherry sauce, add cayenne pepper.
  • You can substitute lemon juice or orange juice for the lime juice.
  • You could use all avocado/olive oil or all ghee. I wouldn’t use all butter as it might burn.
  • I haven’t tried making the slurry with cornstarch but I think it should work fine (but then would not be Paleo or Whole30).

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. One Pan Creamy Mustard Pork Chops with Asparagus (Paleo, Whole30)
  2. Oven BBQ Pork Chops (Paleo/Whole30 options)
  3. Balsamic Jam Pork Chops (Paleo, Whole30)
  4. Crunchy Plantain Chip Chicken (Paleo)

 

healthy pork chops one white plates topped with cooked cherries, sliced scallions and chopped herbs
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Spiced Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce (Paleo, Whole30)

These Spiced Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce are a fast and easy weeknight dinner! Juicy chops are coated in a spice crust and smothered with a chunky, smoky cherry sauce. It can be made in 30 minutes and is gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cherry sauce, healthy recipe, paleo dinner, pork chops, whole30 dinner
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (16 oz.) fresh, pitted or frozen cherries (no need to thaw if frozen)
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus 1¼ teaspoon, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle or chipotle flakes
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch/flour
  • teaspoons lime juice
  • 4 boneless, thick-cut pork chops
  • teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or grass-fed butter
  • 4 scallions, sliced, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil or mint

Instructions

  • First, make the sauce: add the cherries, ground ginger, ground chipotle or chipotle flakes and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a medium saucepan.
  • Place over medium heat and stir occasionally. Once the cherries begin to soften, you can gently press on them to help release their juices. I like to leave some whole but do what you want.
  • Meanwhile, if making the slurry, mix the arrowroot with one tablespoon water in a small mixing bowl to create a slurry. This will help thicken the sauce.
  • Once the cherries have released a lot of liquid, after about 5-8 minutes, stir in the lime juice and the arrowroot/water slurry. Turn the heat to low and cover with a lid.
  • While the cherries cook, pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Use a paring knife to cut 2 vertical slits about 2 inches apart in the fatty side of the chops. This will help prevent the chops from curling up as they cook.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, coriander, cumin and pepper. Coat the chops on both sides with the spice mixture, gently patting it in to make sure it sticks.
  • In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the avocado oil or olive oil and the ghee or butter over medium-high heat.
  • When the pan is hot, add the chops and let sear for about 4-5 minutes. Flip (you'll know they're ready when the chops release easily from the pan) and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until they reach 145° on an instant read thermometer.
  • Transfer the chops to plates or a platter. Top with the cherry sauce, scallions and fresh herbs and serve.

Notes

Make ahead and storage
The cherry sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
The sauce can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheat the sauce in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.
The cooked chops can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The cooked chops can also be frozen (before they're topped with the sauce). Store them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheat the chops in a low oven or the microwave.
Substitutions and variations
  • You can use thick-cut, bone-in pork chops instead of boneless chops. The cooking time shouldn't change.
  • You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They may need more time to cook, depending on their thickness.
  • You can use 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger instead of ground ginger in the sauce.
  • If you want a truly spicy cherry sauce, add cayenne pepper.
  • You can substitute lemon juice or orange juice for the lime juice.
  • You could use all avocado/olive oil or all ghee. I wouldn't use all butter as it might burn.
  • I haven't tried making the slurry with cornstarch but I think it should work fine (but then would not be Paleo or Whole30).
 
This recipe is adapted from the Spice-Crusted Pork Chops with Cherries and Oregano in Gregory Gourdet's Everyone's Table.

 

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