Real Men Can Cook: Tropical Pork Picante with Whipped Cauliflower and Green Beans Amandine

Kris Larson is no stranger to kitchens.

“I spent most of my high school and college years working in kitchens and restaurants, so the experience tonight was a bit like going ‘home’ again in some ways,” he said after being named the Grand Prize winner in a recent Real Men Cook and Eat Healthy Contest sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in Grand Rapids.

The CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. beat out five other men competing for bragging rights in the annual competition. His tropical pork recipe will be featured on the menu of Linc Up Soul Food Cafe during the month of July.

“I wanted to create something summer-oriented,” Larson said.

Jathan Austin, lead pastor at One Church Empowerment Center earned the People’s Choice award for his dish, which earned $1,000 for the non-profit of his choice. The recipient is New Destiny Pathways, an organization devoted to providing safe and supportive housing for young women ages 17 to 21 transitioning out of foster care.

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Photo credit: Julie Bitely

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For the Pork:

  • 16 oz. pork loin (marinated if desired)
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/8 cup diced fresh jalapeños
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1/2 lime

For the Whipped Cauliflower:

  • 1 head of florets from cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/8 cup chopped green onion

For the Green Beans:

  • 1 pound of fresh green beans, ends clipped if desired
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon chili lime salt

Tropical Pork Picante with Whipped Cauliflower and Green Beans Amandine

For the Salsa:
Toss mango, red onion, jalapeños, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Squeeze juice from lime and refrigerate until needed.

For the Pork Loin:
Marinate as desired. Place pork loin in baking pan, cover with tin foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until center of pork loin reaches 145 degrees. Cut in ¾ inch slices. Spoon mango salsa atop pork for garnish for presentation.

For the Whipped Cauliflower:
Steam cauliflower florets for about 15 minutes until soft. Remove from heat, place into mixing bowl. Add butter, cheese, and roasted garlic. Blend together with hand mixer or other food processor. Garnish with green onion.

For the Green Beans:
Steam green beans for 5-10 minutes or until desired consistency. Remove from heat, drain, and put into mixing bowl. Toss beans with chili lime salt and almond slices.

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