Keep in mind that nutritional quality matters, so we'll talk about how to make lean cuts of steak flavorful, how grass-fed meat is different, and you'll walk away with plenty of ideas to round out your next steak dish with powerhouse ingredients like colorful vegetables, beans, avocado and nuts.
What is the Carnivore Diet?
There's no official definition, but it's safe to say the carnivore diet is predominantly made up of meat and animal products. Recent books on the topic range from promoting a 100-percent all-meat diet to simply making a case for the benefits of meat. It's important to know that the diet lacks the fiber, vitamin C and folate found in a wide variety of plant foods.
1. Make-Ahead Steak Appetizer Platter
Everyone needs at least one go-to appetizer recipe in their repertoire, and this one is so easy and perfect for impressing guests. Firstly, the steak can be made a day ahead. Secondly, the rest is basic assembly of good quality store-bought ingredients like green olives, pistachios, almonds, dried fruit, and dipping sauces. There are suggested accoutrements in this recipe, but you can mix and match with your favorite finger foods — you do you. The result is a composed appetizer platter that looks much fussier than it is. On a health note, because this steak is roasted low and slow, it's a good way to coax flavor out of a leaner cut of steak.
2. Skirt Steak with the Best Chimichurri Sauce Ever
Skirt steak is a thinner cut that will cook more quickly, so it's an ideal choice when time is tight and you still want a composed meal on the table. Since meat cooks from the outside in, cooking it straight from the refrigerator can mean the outside is overcooked by the time the inside is cooked to a food-safe temperature.
Let the steak rest at room temperature for about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut, before you're ready to cook for better results. A thin cut like skirt steak is ready to go after about 15 minutes. This will still give you plenty of time to prepare the best chimichurri sauce ever. You will have extra, and it will make you happy. You will eat this herbaceous goodness with everything from eggs to sandwiches. It's also a great way to use up any lingering herbs. If you somehow don't eat it all up, freeze the leftover chimichurri in an ice cube tray for another day.
3. Spicy Flank Steak Lettuce Cups
This low-carb dish combines savory steak, fresh crisp lettuce, and exciting Korean radishes and spices. It can be divvied up as an appetizer, but works just as well being distributed among fewer plates for a larger portion main entree. Flank steak is a flavorful yet leaner cut of beef and a good source of iron, the mineral that is so important for energy. That's because iron helps make hemoglobin and myoglobin, proteins in red blood cells that are responsible for delivering oxygen to the body and muscles so they can perform at their best. The spices used in this dish are packed with antioxidants to help combat the oxidative stress from a variety of sources, from everyday living to hard workouts.
4. Fajita Frittata with Avocado Salsa
As a combination of fajitas and a frittata, this dish could work as breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. Better yet, let one meal do double duty: have fajitas one night, and use the leftovers in this dish for the next day's breakfast. You'll get energizing B-vitamins and satiating protein from the steak, antioxidants from the bright bell peppers and brain-boosting healthy fats and lutein from the avocado and eggs. Lutein builds up in the eye and brain to protect it from oxidative stress, and research suggests it improves how quickly the brain processes information.
5. Taco Salad with Edible Cheddar Bowls
The fun of an edible bowl is one of the highlights of this recipe. Add the steak salad right before eating to keep the bowl from melting out of shape too much or getting soggy. Alternately, set up the cheddar 'bowls' and salad separately in the center of the table with serving utensils, and let everyone DIY their own steak salad bowl. Not only is this a nice way to keep the food fresh, it allows people to manage their own portions.
6. Sirloin Tip Steak and Brown Rice Bowl
This layered grain bowl is healthy and delicious at every level, and makes a great make-ahead or take-to-work meal. Steak is a good source of the essential trace mineral zinc. The body doesn't store excess zinc, but recipes like this one make it easy to consume enough through food. Zinc, which supports the immune system, doesn't prevent the common cold, but research suggests it can cut a cold short. The sirloin steak used in this recipe is a leaner cut of steak and has approximately half the calories of rib-eye steak. It also packs extra protein from black beans and yogurt.
7. Grass-Fed Steak Tacos with Cowgirl Salsa
Tacos may be one of life's perfect foods. They're indulgent and fun, yet secretly healthful when made with ingredients like whole grain corn tortillas, avocado, black beans, tomato salsa, and lean steak. Any kind of sirloin steak will work well in this recipe, but grass-fed beef may have some nutritional advantages. Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner, with less cholesterol-raising fat, and more vitamin A and E precursors (compounds that can later develop into those vitamins).
8. Pan-Charred Steakhouse Salad Pizza
It's a steak, it's a salad and it's a pizza. This recipe is a little bit of all the things you love, plus it's served in a stylish cast-iron pan. Cooking the steak first is key because it leaves a little bit of its flavor in the pan to transfer onto the whole wheat pizza dough — it'd be a shame to let that go to waste. It also gives the steak the time it needs to rest and reabsorb its juices so you lose less moisture when you slice it. After the steak has rested, cut it against the grain of the muscle fibers, which will make it more tender and easier to chew.
9. Steak and Macadamia Poke
This recipe is the "turf" to most poke bowls' "surf." While a traditional poke bowl is made with sashimi (raw sushi-grade fish), this heartier take on the theme brings us back to the land. The steak in this poke bowl is roasted before it's cubed into perfectly bite-sized pieces. Using a dry-cooking roasting method for the steak for this recipe means you can use less oil. An in-oven thermometer that can track the internal temperature of the steak is so helpful in this instance, and for roasts of any kind, because you can monitor the progress of the meat without having to open the oven. Plus, it can help prevent over-cooking and ensure your roast has reached a food-safe temperature so you can feel good about eating it.
10. Steak Burrito Jar
This recipe is everything you love about burritos, sans tortilla wrap. There's nothing wrong with a whole grain tortilla, but tortillas get soggy over time, so they're not totally conducive to meal-prep. Instead of using tortillas, you can prep this steak dish in advance using mason jars to give it to-go convenience and to shave off some calories. The umami and fattiness of the steak in this recipe is balanced by cilantro, lime, spicy jalapeño, garlic and fresh vine-ripened tomatoes. This flavorful and satisfying recipe comes in under 500 calories per serving.