Cocoa-Coffee Rubbed Pork over Southwestern Salad

Cocoa-Coffee Rubbed Pork over Southwestern Salad

It’s hot.  I mean REALLY HOT.  I mean, it’s wear-totally-inappropriate-clothes-on-your-balcony hot (according to my neighbor, at least!).  For me, this type of heat means two things: one, I definitely never want to be 8.5 months pregnant in August ever again; and, two, there’s no way I’m going near a stove or oven to prepare dinner.

Alright, I’ve chosen to spend less time thinking about number one and more time thinking about number two because everyone knows that good food is one of the only things that can make an 8.5 month pregnant woman truly happy.  The great thing about this heat is that my garden is producing herculean crops of salad greens at breakneck pace, so salads are free and in abundance over here.  The other great thing is that my hubby grills like a pro and without complaint, so I’m left contentedly sippping mocktails in front of the fan while he puts the finishing touches on a dinner I had planned.

This dinner came together for me–as per usual–due to lots of leftovers and odds and ends that were kicking around my kitchen.  I had drawers full of salad greens from my garden that were begging to be tenderly dressed.  I also had a lot of southwestern elements hiding out in my pantry and freezer (black beans, corn, tortilla chips).  So, I picked up a couple inexpensive things at the store (the avocado, green onions, and fresh cilantro), and decided to whip something up with a pork tenderloin that I’d also defrosted.

I decided to treat the pork with a really earthy rub since I knew the greens would turn out really zingy with all that lime and cilantro I was craving for a hot summer’s day.  So, pulling out the typical earthy flavors from my spice cabinet, I decided to also wing  a bit of cocoa and coffee in there to intensify the flavor even more.  The result was a charred, earthy slab of  perfection across a bright, summery salad.  I hope you’ll try it–and, if you do, please feel free to go ahead and have an accompanying big, icy margarita on my behalf ;)

Cocoa-Coffee Rubbed Pork over Southwestern Salad

For the rub & pork:

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 tbsp instant coffee granules

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp paprika

½ tbsp garlic powder

½ tbsp onion powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 pork tenderloin


For the salad:

6 cups of assorted salad greens/lettuce

1 cup kernel corn

½ can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 avocado, diced

2 medium tomatoes, diced

3 green onions, chopped

handful of corn tortilla chips (or one hard taco shell), crumbled


For the vinaigrette:

3 tbsp lime juice

3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

½ tsp salt

1 tsp white sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 tbsp green onion, finely sliced

  1. Combine all of the dry rub ingredients together in a ziploc bag and shake well to combine mixture.  Add the ¼ cup of vegetable oil to assist flavors in mixing and massage the bag to dissolve the coffee granules.  Add the pork tenderloin into the bag and massage to coat it with the mixture on all sides.  Allow it to sit and rest in the bag for at least 5 minutes before grilling on a barbeque until done (we grill until the internal temperature reaches 150°F).  Once pork is finished grilling, it should be pulled away from the heat and left to rest for at least 10 minutes prior to slicing.
  2. While pork is grilling, combine all salad ingredients except the tortilla chips, which will be left for a garnish.
  3. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small mason jar and shake to combine.
  4. To assemble and serve, re-shake vinaigrette to combine oil and vinegar, and lightly drizzle it over the salad and toss according to how much dressing you like.  Garnish the top of the dressed salad with the crumbled tortilla chips.  Slice the pork into strips and top the salad with it.  Enjoy!