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Spice-Rubbed Pork Loin with Acorn Squash

Sweet, spicy, and savory, this dish is ready in just over an hour. It pairs wonderfully with Sauteed Kale.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Spice-Rubbed Pork Loin with Acorn Squash

Source: Everyday Food, November 2009


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder or other single chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 pounds acorn squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 boneless pork loin (3 pounds), tied
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons oil, sugar, chile powder, cinnamon, cumin, and 2 tablespoons water. Add squash and toss to coat. Set aside.

  2. Generously season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan over high. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Cook pork on all sides until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes total. Place pork on a rimmed baking sheet; pour oil from skillet onto sheet and spread evenly.

  3. Arrange squash around pork. Brush pork with sugar mixture from bowl. Bake until pork is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in center should register 135 degrees), 40 to 45 minutes, brushing meat with sugar mixture and turning squash every 15 minutes. Tent pork with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Cook's Note

Ask your butcher to tie the roast with twine at 1-inch intervals so that it cooks evenly (or do it yourself). Save one-third of the roasted pork for later use. Use a large, heavy knife to halve the squash, then scoop out the seeds and cut into wedges.

Reviews (6)

  • Gunn17 22 Oct, 2013

    Loved this recipe! I only used half of the Cumin called for in the recipe... Thanks Martha.

  • juniperjen 1 Apr, 2013

    Really nice presentation. I missed the step of adding water to the spice rub but it still turned out well. I went by time and may have overcooked the pork just a little - it was still nice and juicy though i think it would have been really great with a little sauce of some kind - even a reduction of the pan juices (but that would add time). Definitely not much work involved but looks really fantastic and tastes good too.

  • v1koch 17 Jan, 2013

    I only used 1/4 tsp chili powder and it was amazing. Served with cole slaw and israeli couscous.

  • Cathy Galloway 27 Sep, 2012

    I love this recipe. It is quick to prepare and tastes absolutely wonderful. I would change the vegetable out sometimes for variety...maybe sweet potatoes or butternut squash. The pork is perfectly cooked and the squash is sweet with a slight spicy kick. Do not be afraid of the ancho chile powder, the dish is not HOT spicy.

  • lindalove 27 Dec, 2010

    I feel like the brown sugar burned a little bit but I loved the flavors. Slightly spicy and sweet. The squash was extra delicious after mixing it with the meat juices.

  • marystephens59 14 Oct, 2010

    I find that the oil from browning the pork loin is sometimes too dark to use for coating the sheet pan -- I simply use an additional tablespoon of fresh olive oil.

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