Every so often, it’s nice to treat yourself to a meal that feels fancy, even if you don’t leave the house. When you have the time and energy to dedicate, why not make a quick, yet elevated main course in under 30 minutes. And if the food is good enough to share with friends, invite them over!
These spinach-stuffed pork chops are made completely in the air fryer. All you have to do is make the stuffing, fill the chops, and set your air fryer to fry. That’s it! This is the perfect upscale meal for a dinner party because you could be getting yourself ready as dinner cooks in no time at all.
The outside of the chops is seasoned liberally but simply with salt and pepper. Getting salt and pepper inside and outside of the chop matters. The true star of the show is the creamy filling inside the pork. The filling is a mixture of cream cheese, ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, mozzarella, and spinach. It is reminiscent of lasagna filling, but with more cream cheese for added decadence.
The recipe uses frozen spinach instead of fresh. This is for ease and convenience. If you use fresh spinach, you would need to cook it first, allow it to cool, and then squeeze out the access water. The extra steps do not matter in terms of taste, so frozen spinach is the way to go. It is absolutely imperative, however, to squeeze out all the moisture that you can so that the filling does not become too watery.
When adding the stuffed chops to your air fryer, be careful to arrange them so that the filling is facing up. This way, the filling stays inside the pork chops without having to secure them shut with a toothpick or twine. Spacing the chops out in the air fryer also means that all sides will sear, which is important for flavor and texture.
To be extra sure that the filling does not leak out and ruin your air fryer, an egg is added to the mixture to give it some body. This is also a trick used in making lasagna or stuffed shells to keep the ricotta filling from leaking out of the dish. Although the egg helps the filling stay inside, the filling remains cheesy and creamy.
When you want to impress the family or dinner guests, this is the perfect main course to accomplish that. These stuffed pork chops are best served with a simple side vegetable such as green beans or asparagus. You could also serve with a hot bowl of buttery mashed potatoes to add to the comfort food flare.
Pat your pork chops dry with paper towels. Using a parring knife, cut a slit into the side of each chop midway through, creating a pocket. Be sure to not cut all the way through to the other side. Season the inside and the outside of the chops liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, ricotta, egg, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, mozzarella cheese, drained spinach, salt, and pepper until homogenous.
Stuff about ⅙ of the filling into each chop.
Heat your air fryer to 375 degrees. Place your chops in the air fryer filling-side-up, leaving enough space between them for the air to circulate. Spray with olive oil spray so nothing sticks. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads over 145 degrees.
Remove from the air fryer and serve with the sides of your choice.