Grilled Beef with Basil Puree over Tuscan Beans

Red meat and I, well...we have a love/hate relationship.

I guess technically it's not a love/hate relationship, more like a love/guilt relationship. 

Several years ago, after just starting out on my own, I suddenly came to the realization that TCBY for dinner, eaten on the drive home from work, is not a balanced meal.  Once in awhile it's OK, but probably not most nights.  And some weekends.  Like it was going out of business.

It was at that point that I started forming healthier habits, like bringing my lunch to work, cooking for myself a few nights a week, and basically eating all the things my Mom told me I'd thank her for making me eat some day.  Who knew I'd some day eat the vegetables on my plate first?

But somewhere along the line red meat and I started developing a bad relationship. Why, you ask?  Good question.  I can't point to one reason specifically.  I mean, I like a good steak.  I love a good cheeseburger.  I think it partly stems from this giant cloud of words I accumulated in my head over time such as "cholesterol" and "heart disease". 

And don't even mention "Mad Cow Disease".  I'm pretty sure I had it at one point but was able to fend off imminent death.  Probably because of all the veggies.

These days, I'm a big proponent of the "everything in moderation" cliche, and thankfully that includes red meat.  Even still, that doesn't stop me from feeling that slight twang of mad cow disease recurrence guilt every time I eat it.

That's why I tend to reserve eating it for special occasions.  You know, like ordering the fillet at a wedding, or having a cheeseburger once in awhile at a summer barbecue.  And winter certainly wouldn't be winter without a pot roast or two. 

Tonight's recipe calls for sirloin steak, which is considered to be very lean.  This, combined with flavorful basil pesto and fiber-rich white bean and tomato salad, is a perfect no-guilt way to enjoy dinner.  For me, it's the perfect way to wrap up a day that involved running 11 miles, cleaning 2 bathrooms (vomit), doing 4 loads of laundry, and navigating through a crowded mall on only 2 cups of coffee.

So I know, today is not truly a special occasion, but to quote Chris Farley: "Lay off me, I'm starving!!"

Grilled Beef with Basil Puree over Tuscan Beans
adapted from Fitness Magazine
Yields 4 servings

1 tsp lemon juice
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 lb sirloin steak, cut into 4 portions
2-15oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1 c loosely packed baby arugula
1 tbs red onion, finely chopped

In a food processor, combine the lemon juice, 2 tbs oil, basil leaves, garlic, salt and pepper.  Puree until smooth, and set aside.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high, and coat with cooking spray.  Season the steaks with salt and pepper to taste, and grill 5-6 minutes per side.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the rest of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.  Add the beans, tomatoes, arugula, red onion, and salt/pepper, and toss to combine. 

Divide beans among the plates and top with steak.  Drizzle with the basil puree and serve immediately.

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