Steak and salad is such a simple meal, but very tasty and easy to prepare. Nutritionally, steak and salad can be quite good for you because of the vegetables provide fibre, vitamins and minerals, and the steak provides protein, iron and zinc. Although there is a downside that needs to be considered. When we serve steak alongside a salad, we tend to use prime cuts of steak and make the steak the highlight of the meal. This results in us eating a steak portion that is much larger than the recommended serving size, and often the steak will have a thick layer of fat around it – most of which is saturated fat. But you can still have a healthy steak salad that is quick and easy to make, and better yet, can be made on a budget.
A good way to cut back on the amount of steak that you use is to slice it thinly before serving and make it just one part of the salad. This way you get a bit of steak in each bite, and you don’t feel like you’re missing out. You can also use leaner cuts this way, such as silverside eye steaks or ‘minute steaks’. The trick here is to first cook the steak while it’s still whole, let it rest briefly, and then slice it thinly. This way you don’t end up with a tough chunk of steak on your plate (as can occur with leaner cuts) – just keep an eye on it while it’s cooking so it doesn’t overcook.
This recipe is designed to be a budget recipe, as well as quick to make, so I have kept the salad ingredients very simple and based on what is in season during summer. To add extra flavour, I have rubbed a seasoning mix onto the steak before cooking, and have also added a small amount of good quality olives. This steak salad has a Greek-style to it, but you could easily change it up by using a different type of seasoning mix, or by using different salad vegetables.
The real purpose of this recipe is to show you how to use a cheaper and leaner cut of steak in a salad, while still keeping it tender and full of flavour. See the post from Monday about choosing cheaper protein sources to compare the cost of different cuts of steak.
Why is this a healthier option?
- The recipe is simply vegetables and meat, with a very small amount of dressing, so there is nothing unhealthy in it. It is also a light meal in terms of kilojoule/calorie content.
- The steak used here is a very lean cut and is unlikely to need any trimming, which keeps the saturated fat content low.
- You will get about 4 servings of vegetables in this meal.
- 4 pieces (approximately 100g each – total of 400g) of silverside eye steak (beef) – these are a very lean cut, and also quite thin; they are often labelled as ‘heart smart’
- 4 tsp of Greek-style seasoning mix
- Olive oil – only a very small amount to drizzle on the steaks before cooking
- 1 baby cos lettuce, leaves separated and washed, chopped roughly
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 1 medium continental cucumber, chopped roughly
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), chopped roughly
- 16 large kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- Dressing – 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp mustard (such as Dijon) – combine ingredients and mix well.
- Put the steaks onto a plate and sprinkle the seasoning mix over both sides. Use your fingers to rub it onto the surface of the steak. Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil onto the steaks and use your fingers to smear a very thin layer over each side of the steaks. You want just enough to coat the steaks.
- Heat a non-stick fry pan or griddle pan to medium heat. Add the steaks and cook for about 1 minute and 15 seconds on each side, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and place on a clean plate to rest for a few minutes. After the meat has rested, thinly slice each steak using a sharp knife.
- While the steak is resting, divide the salad ingredients between four plates. Top with the thinly sliced steak. Divide the dressing between the plates and top with any juices that were released from the steak while it was resting. Serve immediately.