Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, and nine other good-for-you meals that prove red meat is 100% fine in moderation.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD 1 / 11
Red Meat in Moderation
You've probably heard about a recent report, released by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans." We already knew that it's definitely not great for us in excess—particularly the processed stuff. But, it's not all bad. Lean beef, in moderation, can be part of a healthy guy's diet.
In fact, though the recent news around red meat focuses on the negatives, there are some perks to eating lean beef. For one, it's packed with iron. Good news since, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world.
It also contains plenty of muscle-building protein. The Dietary Guidelines recommend lean meat—defined as less than 10% fat by weight, or less than 10 grams of fat per 100 grams—as a solid protein choice. Cuts of lean meat include bottom steak round, eye of round steak, flank steak, petite tender roast, sirloin tip center steak, strip steak bone-in, top sirloin steak, and tri-tip steak. Besides being lean, the portions should be about 3-4 ounces per person.
These 10 delicious recipes show you how you can make lean beef part of a healthy diet.
For lean ground beef, look for 90% lean or above, also called ground round. Three ounces of 95% cooked lean ground beef contains 149 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 2 grams of monounsaturated fat.
Ingredients: Oil Spray 1¼ lb extra lean ground beef 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans 1 sweet onion, chopped 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne (depending on your spice preference) 1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder 1 cup light low sodium broth 2 orange bell peppers, sliced
Instructions: 1. Heat a large pot to medium high and lightly mist with oil. 2. Add onion and sauté until it starts to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add meat and cook until browned and heated through. 3. Meanwhile, puree 1 can of beans and then add both cans to the pot. 4. Add spices, cocoa, and broth. Stir to combine. 5. Cover with lid. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 1 hour. 6. Place sliced peppers on a foil-lined sheet pan and broil on low for 5-10 minutes or until softened and lightly charred.
Nutrition Information (per 1½ cup serving) Calories: 320; Total Fat: 5 grams; Protein: 35 grams: Carbohydrates: 35 grams; Fiber: 4 grams
This cut is also called flank steak filet, jiffy steak, and London broil. Beef, including flank steak, contributes protein, iron, and B-vitamins, which can help you feel full and maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and fuel a healthy and active lifestyle. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 48-percent of the daily recommended amount of protein.
Skill level: Beginner Serves: 8 Start to Finish: 29 minutes, plus marinating time Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 14 minutes
Ingredients: ½ cup olive oil 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 3 tablespoons water ¾ cup chopped flat leaf parsley ¼ cup chopped fresh leafy herbs of choice (basil, cilantro, and/or mint) 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 3 teaspoon dried) 3 tablespoons chopped garlic 3 tablespoons chopped shallots 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning 2 pounds skirt steak
Instructions: 1. Place all of the ingredients (except the steak) in the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Pulse until well combined. The sauce should be course in texture and assertive in flavor. Taste and adjust seasoning. 2. Remove ½ cup of the sauce and reserve for serving with the cooked meat. 3. Place the steak in a shallow dish and cover with the remaining sauce, coating all sides. Let the steak marinate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate and the meat to come to room temperature, which ensures even cooking. Or, cover with plastic and refrigerate, and take out 30 minutes before ready to cook. 4. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high. Brush the excess chimichurri sauce off the steak, pat it dry and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 5. When the grill is hot, cook the steak, about 6-7 minutes per side for medium rare (12-14 minutes total). 6. Place the cooked steak on a cutting board or plate, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. Serve with reserved sauce.
Most people think of beef as a fattening food, but roast beef is as lean as chicken or turkey and is loaded with lean muscle-building nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. Plus, the pepper used to flavor this Sammy has fat-fighting power from the compound peperine, which studies have shown helps to reduce the activity of genes that form fat cells.
Ingredients: 2 slices whole wheat bread 3 oz. roast beef 1 tsp olive oil 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms ½ cup sliced yellow onion 3 slices red onion, optional 1 slice provolone cheese Black pepper, to taste ½ cup arugula 2 teaspoons mustard
Instructions: 1. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. 2. Add mushrooms and yellow onions and sauté until softened and onion turns slightly golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside. 3. Top 2 slices of whole-wheat bread with 3 oz. roast beef, the sautéed mushrooms and onion, 3 slices of red onion, if desired, and one slice of reduced-fat provolone cheese. 4. Toast under broiler until cheese melts. 5. Then sprinkle generously with fresh black pepper and finish by topping with arugula and mustard.
Ingredients: ½ cup quinoa, rinsed 1 cup water 3 bell peppers, tops chopped off and seeds removed 12 ounce sirloin steak, fat trimmed and cubed ½ yellow onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, crushed 3 roma tomatoes, chopped Salt and pepper to taste ¼ cup water
Instructions: 1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. 2. While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. 3. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onions start to be translucent. Add cubed sirloin and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 to 7 minutes. 4. Add cooked quinoa to the beef mixture and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of water. 5. Lightly coat bell peppers with olive oil and set in casserole dish. 6. Fill peppers with beef mixture and bake for 30 minutes. 7. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.
Ingredients: 6 cups of lettuces (I used a blend of arugula, bibb and red leaf) 1 ear of corn, kernels removed or 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed 1/2 cup of black beans 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 1 ripe avocado, sliced or cut into bite size chunks 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco 1/2 cup cilantro leaves 2 hardboiled eggs, halved or quartered About 1/2 pound of leftover steak, very thinly sliced
For the vinaigrette 1 lime, zested and juiced 1/3 cup olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Instructions: 1. For vinaigrette: Into a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add all ingredients and whisk until emulsified. 2. For a composed salad: Lay the sliced steak across a large platter, carpaccio style. Add lettuces, black beans, corn, red onion, bell pepper and queso fresco to a large bowl. Spoon several tablespoons of vinaigrette over the salad and toss with salad tongs until lettuces are lightly coated. Mound dressed salad atop the steak. Arrange eggs and avocado atop salad. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon turmeric 1 tablespoon cumin 1 tablespoon paprika 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt 1½ pounds beef sirloin, cut into 1” cubes 1 yellow onion 1 teaspoon olive oil ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped 1 cup tomato puree 1 cup water 2-3 lbs butternut squash (or 1 bag pre-cut) 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Instructions: 1. Pre-heat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. 2. Whisk together turmeric, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and salt. Rub spices into beef cubes. 3. Slice onion into long strips. 4. In a large oven-proof pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat on stovetop. Add yellow onion slices and spiced beef cubes. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. 5. Add dried apricots, tomato puree, and water. Cover and place in oven for about 1½ hours. 6. Add butternut squash and chickpeas. 7. Cover and bake another 1-2 hours.
Nutrition Information (per serving, not including optional quinoa or rice) Calories: 399; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 46 grams: Carbohydrates: 41 grams; Sugar: 11 grams; Fiber: 9 grams; Cholesterol: 100 milligrams; Sodium: 594 milligrams
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon olive oil ½ cup finely chopped onion ½ cup finely chopped carrot 1 lb extra lean ground beef 1 cup tomato sauce, divided ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs 1 large egg, beaten 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons fresh basil
Instructions: 1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté onion and carrot 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Set aside and allow to cool. 2. Combine beef, ½ cup tomato sauce, panko, egg and parmesan in a large bowl, gently mix until combined. Add cooled vegetables and fresh basil and mix until combined. 3. Fill 10 muffin cups to the top with meat mixture. Spoon remaining tomato sauce evenly over each muffin. 4. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Ingredients: 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta 1 pound extra lean ground beef 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1/2 cup green peppers, chopped 1/2 cup onions, chopped 1 (24-ounce) jar pasta sauce 1 (8-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained 2 (2½-ounce) cans sliced black olives 10 ounce frozen spinach, thawed and drained 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 cup feta cheese 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Instructions: 1. Cook pasta according to directions. 2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 3. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. 4. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. 5. Add green peppers, onions, minced garlic and ground beef and heat until beef is thoroughly cooked. 6. In a large bowl, combine beef mixture with the pasta, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, black olives, spinach, basil, oregano and thyme. 7. Add pasta to the baking pan and sprinkle cheese over top of pasta. 8. Cook pasta for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Ingredients: 12 ounces sirloin steak, cooked to desired taste and sliced 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vinegar 1/2 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 1 tablespoon water 4 corn tostada shells 1 cup canned low-sodium fat-free refried beans 1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese 1/2 medium avocado, sliced 1/2 cup salsa Cilantro for garnish (optional)
Instructions: 1. To poach the eggs, fill a large skillet 2/3 of the way with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the vinegar to the water. Crack the eggs one at a time, carefully dropping them into the simmering water. Let the eggs cook for about 5 minutes or to desired doneness. Use a large spoon to carefully remove them from the water and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain them. 2. For the yogurt sauce, mix the yogurt and chili powder with 1 tablespoon of water and place in a small bowl or an empty squeeze bottle and set aside. 3. To assemble the dish, place one tostada shell on each plate. Top each one with 1/4 cup of the beans and 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until the beans are hot and the cheese has melted. 4. Place 1/4 of the steak and one egg on top of each tostada. Top with the avocado and salsa. 5. Dollop or drizzle the yogurt-chili powder sauce over each dish and garnish with cilantro if desired.
This steak is marinated in a combination of lime juice, cilantro, and spices. The acid from the lime juice helps tenderize the meat, while adding delicious flavors. For best results, keep the steak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
If you’ve already put away your outdoor grill, don’t fret! You can grill this baby up on a grill pan on your stovetop.
Ingredients: 1 cup lime juice (approximately 5 limes) and zest of 2 limes 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped ½ teaspoon curry powder 3 scallions, roughly chopped 1 pound shoulder steak (with tendon removed) Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions: 1. In a blender, combine lime juice and zest, cilantro, curry powder, and scallions. Puree. 2. Place steak in resealable bag and pour half the marinade in bag to coat the steak. Reserve the other ½ cup of marinade. Let steak marinate for 30 to 45 minutes. 3. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Remove steak from marinade, shaking off excess. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Grill steak until browned, 8 to 10 minutes per side for medium-rare (cooking time depends on thickness of steak). Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain. 5. Season reserved marinade with salt and pepper and serve with sliced steak.