It’s so easy to fall into the trap of throwing pasta together for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pasta, but I struggle to get some actual protein into my kids’ little bodies. All they ever ask for is butter noodles or mac and cheese. So for this meal, I decided to step up the protein and veggies.
This dish is really yummy and my kids actually loved it! I think what sold them on the meal was the prep. They loved pounding the pork with the meat mallet (just as they did with our Chicken Marsala). They also thoroughly enjoyed getting their hands messy when it came to dipping the pork into the egg and bread crumb mixtures!
It’s really important to buy THIN pork loins for this recipe. The thinner the pork loins are, the faster they will cook. Of course, if you have extra time, baking the pork loins is always an option. I also recommend squeezing a few lemon wedges over the cooked pork loins before topping them with the arugula salad. This adds some nice flavor!
🌈 KIDIFY THE MEAL 🌈
🍅Serve salad separate. If your kids like to keep things separate, serve the salad as a side dish with the dressing on the side, as well.
🍅Make kabobs! To make things fun, put some toothpicks on the table and let your kids make mini kabobs with small pieces of pork, tomato, and cucumber.
🍅Offer ketchup. My kids loved dipping their cut-up pieces of pork into ketchup!
🍴 MODIFY THE MEAL🍴
🍅Make it Dairy Free! All you need to do is remove the cheese from the breading mix. In its place, it might be wise to add 1/4 teaspoon extra salt to maintain the flavor profile.
🍅Make it Gluten Free! You only have to swap 2 ingredients. Switch out the panko bread crumbs for gluten free panko bread crumbs. And switch out the flour for almond flour. I really love Bob’s Red Mill’s Almond Flour.
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- 3-6 THIN boneless pork loin chops (pounded thin)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 T parsley (dried) (or 3 T fresh parsley)
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 t paprika
- 3-4 eggs (beaten)
- 4 T cooking oil
- 4-6 lemon wedges (optional)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 cucumber sliced
- 4-6 cups baby arugula
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 t balsamic vinegar
- salt to taste
Spread pork on a cutting board or baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and pound with a Meat Mallet until pork loins are very thin, even pieces. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Combine panko, cheese, flour, parsley, garlic salt, thyme and paprika in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together eggs in a separate bowl. Dip pork loins, one at a time, into eggs and then into the dry ingredient mixture, coating each side completely. Place coated pork loins on a large plate or baking sheet.
Heat 2 T of the cooking oil in a medium-large pan (my absolute fave!). Cook half of the pork loins for 3 minutes on each side and until fully cooked through. Transfer cooked pork loins to a plate. Add additional 2 T of cooking oil and repeat the process for the remaining pork loins.
Meanwhile, combine salad ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate, small bowl (I like to use my pyrex for dressings), combine oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Toss salad with dressing. Season with salt as desired.
Squeeze juice from 1-2 lemon wedges and sprinkle on top of pork chop. Serve pork topped with salad.
We recommend that all meals for children be served with milk.