After college I moved to San Francisco where my Texas-born, steak-loving friend Amy introduced me to the city’s manly steakhouses. We may not have looked like we fit in—two young, single, wine-sipping women perched in the high-backed leather booths, surrounded by dark wood, ornate carpets and groups of men slugging back straight Scotch. But when the bone-in rib-eyes arrived, we could hold our own. I blush to think of the huge slabs of red meat I put away at each sitting.
But age brings…if not wisdom, then a realization that there is not only virtue but enjoyment in moderation. Now I take a more sustainable approach to steak. Smaller portions of interesting cuts of beef—from pricy filet mignon to the humble cube steak—teamed with a variety of sauces, seasonings and plenty of vegetables, make steak a perfect addition to any healthy diet.
I happen to love to grill. It’s probably my favorite way to cook, and there’s of course no better way to cook a steak than on the grill. Here are four of my favorite healthy steak recipes that’ll please steak-loving men and women:
Grilled Rib-eye with Tomato Salad & Chimichurri Sauce
My dad’s second wife was Argentinian; she taught our whole family a ton about steak. When I went to their wedding in Cordoba, Argentina, the entire week prior to the event was spent going from one family’s house to the next for “asados,” which are basically big parties where the men stand around and grill endless courses of all sorts of cuts of meat. It was amazing. This recipe was inspired by that trip, but I took a much more “EatingWell” approach with a reasonably sized portion of meat and plenty of delicious, healthy tomatoes to go along with it.
Grilled Beef Tenderloin & Escarole
I just can’t say enough about how amazing this recipe is. To start with I love the rich taste of steak paired with a slightly bitter green, in this case escarole. And then the tomato vinaigrette adds a tangy and sour element. It all balances perfectly. But the real magic is in grilling the escarole. It wilts just a bit and gets a touch of char on it, which gives it a smoky accent. It’s amazing. If you can’t find escarole, it also works with romaine.
Grilled Filet Mignon with Herb Butter & Texas Toasts
One of my favorite steaks in San Francisco was not at a steakhouse but at an Italian place in North Beach called Rose Pistola. They had a menu item called the Terrorized Bone-in Rib-eye. (Unfortunately I checked the menu recently and it appears that they have switched the steak to a NY steak instead of a luscious rib-eye.) It was an enormous rib-eye, always cooked to perfection, seared on the outside and pink inside. And it was served with a zippy herb butter and a giant bed of watercress. Truly it was enough for two, or you could bring some home. This recipe was inspired by that steak. I went with a much leaner cut of meat (filet mignon) and reduced the amount of meat by about a zillion. I figured out how to keep the special herb butter by making a blend of butter and olive oil to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the mixture. And then of course I kept the watercress, as it’s got plenty of healthy antioxidants and it provides that fabulous bitter green/rich steak combination that I love.
Grilled Buffalo Steak with Radicchio-Beet Skewers
With only 143 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving, lean bison is lower in calories and fat than lean beef. So the trick with a bison steak is to make sure you don’t overcook it, that way it stays deliciously juicy and tender. Of course, if you can’t find bison, this recipe also works well with beef. The sauce on top of this steak is a creamy goat cheese (or feta) dressing made with shallot, parsley, dry mustard and white-wine vinegar. It’s great with both the steak and the beet-and-radicchio skewers.
What's your favorite way to prepare steak and what cut do you prefer? Tell us what you think below.