9 Healthy Ground Pork Recipes You’ll Obsess Over
Savory, healthy, and even a bit decadent, these ground pork recipes will elevate your dinner tonight!
Ground pork is an omnivore’s secret weapon. It’s often overlooked in the grocery store, but it’s one of the easiest and most enticing ways to add quick flavor to dishes. An added bonus is that ground pork is an excellent source of protein and has other nutritional benefits. It is an extremely lean meat. In fact, the pork we eat today contains a third less fat than it did thirty years ago, thanks to new feeding systems and breeding techniques.
When shopping, ask your butcher to grind the meat for you. Ground pork usually comes from pork shoulder, also known as Boston butt, and when freshly ground, provides optimal texture. You’ll also be able to specify the fat percentage you’d like (super lean contains less than 10% of fat). If you buy a pre-wrapped package, look for pork that has a pinkish color (not gray), and keep in mind that it will likely have a higher fat content.
1. Pork and cabbage potstickers
One of our favorite ground pork recipes is this one for cabbage dumplings. Adding starch to bind the pork mixture together before cooking helps the meat retain water, resulting in a juicier and entirely more delectable filling. Tapioca starch, also sold as cassava starch, contains no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium. It’s an excellent alternative to corn starch in most recipes. To turn this into a meal, serve it with an Asian-style slaw or a large green salad.
Try the recipe at Healthy Nibbles and Bits.
2. Butternut Squash Lasagna Rolls
Frozen spinach and breakfast pork sausage are two flavorful conveniences when you want to save time, making this ground pork recipe an impressive and easy dinner to whip up on a weeknight. Go one further and look for pre-cubed butternut squash in your grocery store to cut down on prep. If you like spinach, consider doubling the amount called for. Frozen spinach is a stealthy nutritional powerhouse; one cup of frozen has more than four times more nutrients — like fiber, iron, and calcium — than one cup of fresh.
Try the recipe at Nourish Nutrition.
3. Lemongrass Meatball Bowls
Grain bowls have been a staple of healthy diets for at least a decade, with so many versions on the scene. But this báhn mì bowl is especially clever as it transforms the Vietnamese pork sandwich, a decadent affair with crusty bread and pork shoulder, into something more healthful. Pickling the carrots ahead of time is worth the effort, as it adds a nice zing. The spicy meatballs are enhanced with lemongrass paste, which nowadays is sold in a squeeze bottle in the produce section at the grocery store.
Try the recipe at Pinch of Yum.
4. Easy Pork and Vegetable Lo Mein
While chow mein is the most famous Chinese dish in the U.S., its cousin, lo mein, lives in its shadow. Lo mein means “tossed noodles” in Chinese. In this recipe, the method of quickly tossing the fresh egg noodles in the sauce at the end is healthier than chow mein, which is always fried (chow mein literally means “fried noodles”). When combined with succulent ground pork, nutrient-rich purple cabbage, and lime-peanut sauce, all you need is a glass of Riesling, and you can call it done. A supper made in heaven.
Try the recipe at 100 Days of Real Food.
5. Guinness Pork Burgers
Yes, this recipe uses beer in both the barbecue sauce and the burgers. And why not? There is something undeniably delicious about the combo of Guinness and ground pork, the mellow roasted flavor it adds to the meat. It turns out the famous Irish stout contains antioxidants that can help reduce cholesterol (not to mention bring good luck in the kitchen). This may be the most indulgent ground pork recipe on our list. But the serving size is small, and the barbecue sauce is homemade, so you’ll avoid all that icky corn syrup in the processed stuff. Consider making extra and slathering it on everything.
Try the recipe at The Healthy Epicurean.
6. Low Carb Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
Nearly every Eastern European grandma has a recipe for beloved stuffed cabbage rolls. Here, the components are deconstructed for a fun modern twist. The beef contributes an assertive meatiness, but the ground pork adds dimension and depth. Blending the two types of meat is a famous trick to boost the flavor of meatballs, meatloaf, and the like. Cauliflower rice stands in for white rice, a vitamin-rich alternative with a mild cabbage-y undertone that compliments the cabbage in this dish – it’s worth trying even if you’re not low carb.
Try the recipe at Summer Yule.
7. Pork and Mushroom Burger Wraps
Eating your burger wrapped in large lettuce leaves with your hands is sort of messy, but it’s extra tasty and eliminates refined carbs from your burger-eating experience. Crisp Bibb lettuce is a lovely contrast to grilled patties studded with earthy chopped mushrooms. This is the second dish on our list of ground pork recipes that employ lemongrass, an ingredient often paired with pork in Thai cuisine. The Southeast Asian plant possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties and is known to aid in digestion. You can find fresh lemongrass stalks in the produce aisle of most supermarkets.
Try the recipe at Love and Olive Oil.
8. Indian Meatball Curry
A potent blend of curry powder, ginger, cumin, and garlic are sautéed in hot oil to bloom their flavors, adding complexity to this meatball entrée, not to mention cancer-fighting properties. The unlikely combination of meatballs and curry may leave you scratching your head, but it’s perfection. Two warm and wonderful comfort foods collide. The recipe uses beef, but we prefer it with pork or a magic mixture of pork and beef (one part pork to two parts beef) for the most flavorful results.
Try the recipe at The Endless Meal.
9. Pork-Stuffed Mushrooms with Avocado Mayo
This is one for chorizo lovers who don’t love all the fillers and fat in the store-bought version. The Mexican sausage’s distinctively warm and spicy taste is easily recreated with the right spices — six of them to be exact — and lean ground pork. Large portobello mushrooms are the perfect vessels, turning the standard stuffed mushroom appetizer into a main course. Mushrooms’ nutritional value is sometimes dismissed, but recent studies show they’re an excellent source of often-forgotten nutrients, such as vitamin D and potassium.
Try the recipe at Clean Plates.
Good food brings people together. So do good emails.