A Super Steak Salad

Americans love beef. Eating most foods is fine in moderation, and this includes a nice piece of juicy beef. And what tastes better at a summer barbecue than grilled steak?

If you want to compensate for its unhealthful saturated fats, think about serving a grilled steak salad like this one, featuring a modest amount of sliced warm steak over a colorful, crisp salad accented with mango, chile peppers, cilantro and a zingy honey-lime dressing. Serving grilled steak thinly sliced, as in this salad, makes a filling yet healthful portion, the three-ounce serving size AICR recommends for lowering the risk of cancer.

Using a lean cut of meat is doubly smart. It cuts down on calories and helps avoid the flare-ups and smoke during grilling caused by fat dripping onto the coals. Flare-ups are bad because they cause charring, which contains substances that can increase the risk of certain cancers. Smoke deposits these potentially toxic substances onto meat, poultry and seafood.

For lean grilling, I like flank steak. It is long and thin, so it cooks quickly. Marinating meat not only tenderizes, it also adds flavor.

For this salad, two-thirds of the Asian-accented marinade is reserved for the salad dressing. This saves work and ensures harmony between the flavor of the steak and the salad. (Leftover marinade that has been used with raw meat contains dangerous bacteria and should not be used as a basting sauce or dressing unless it is boiled first.)

Grilled Steak Salad - Makes 4 servings.

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
5-6 peeled garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. grated or finely minced ginger
3/4 tsp. ground pepper
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. flank steak
Canola oil spray
8 cups Romaine lettuce in bite-size pieces
1 1/2 cups thinly-sliced mango
2 tsp. wildflower honey
1 red chile pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion, green and white parts

In a large, pitcher-type measuring container, stir together the vinegar, juice, soy sauce, garlic, cumin, ginger, pepper and oil. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into a resealable plastic bag. Add the meat to the bag, seal and massage to coat the meat evenly. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours. Transfer remaining liquid mixture (for use as the salad dressing) to a container with a tight lid and refrigerate until time to grill the steak.

Remove meat from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Wipe meat with a damp paper towel to remove bits of spice that can char during cooking. Heat a lightly-oiled gas grill or a frying pan sprayed with canola oil spray until hot. Grill meat to desired degree of doneness, turning it once.

Meanwhile, arrange the lettuce on a serving platter. Gently heat the chilled dressing in a microwave or stove-top until it is lightly warmed. Remove the garlic slices and stir in the honey and chile pepper, if using.

When the steak is cooked as desired, set it on a plate to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, assemble cutting board, carving knife and remaining ingredients.

Cut the meat across the grain, making thin slices. Holding the knife at a deep angle, instead of vertically, will create wider, more attractive slices. Arrange the meat across the lettuce, alternating with slices of mango and bell pepper. Sprinkle cilantro leaves and scallion on top. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the completed salad. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 298 calories, 12 g. total fat (3 g. saturated fat), 22 g. carbohydrate, 27 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 534 mg. sodium.

The Author:

"Something Different" is written for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by Dana Jacobi, author of The Joy of Soy and recipe creator for AICR's Stopping Cancer Before It Starts.

AICR offers a Nutrition Hotline (1-800-843-8114) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. This free service allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR is the only major cancer charity focused exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. It provides a range of education programs that help Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. It has provided more than $65 million for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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