Pork Chops With Pea Shoot Pesto

Pork Chops With Pea Shoot Pesto

This pork chop recipe is brightened with a pesto made with pea shoots, pine nuts, and cilantro. The chops are seared and then roasted for 15 minutes in the oven, making dinner ready in under an hour. Serve with a simple salad tossed in lemon and olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper to keep them healthy but succulent. It uses very little oil yet simultaneously locks in all of the pork’s juices.

The pea shoots serves as the foundation for a wonderful pesto, which is blended into the accompanying salad to give depth of flavor. This is a fairly easy dish that looks and tastes like it took hours to prepare.

YIELD 4 servings



  • ¾ cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups pea shoots
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • 4 1 1/4-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops 
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • 2 cups pea shoots
  • 1 small bunch arugula, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  •  Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  •  Lemon juice, for drizzling
  •  Coarse sea salt
  •  Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts, until golden, about 3 minutes.
  3. To prepare pesto, in a food processor or blender combine pea shoots, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, cilantro, Parmesan, garlic and salt. Pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped.
  4. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream; blend until well combined. 
  5. Make a pocket for stuffing by cutting each pork chop in half horizontally to the bone.
  6. Rub the cut side of a garlic clove all over the pork chops, allowing the garlic juices to penetrate the bone and meat.
  7. Salt and pepper the chops all over, then spoon 1 tablespoon pesto into each pocket.
  8. Heat the oil in a fairly large ovenproof skillet. Sear the chops until nicely browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  9. Cook pork chops in oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until 140 degrees.
  10. In the meantime, make the salad: Toss pea shoots, arugula, remaining 1/4 cup pine nuts, cilantro, and shallot in a large mixing basin.
  11. Drizzle with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper after tossing with enough olive oil to gently coat greens.
  12. Divide the salad amongst four serving plates. On each bed of greens, place a pork chop. Serve the chops with a dollop of pesto on top. Pour the juices from the pan over each plate.

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