August 20, 2014

Sponsored Healthy Recipe: Thai Steak Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Beef Checkoff. I received products to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

When I received an opportunity to partner with the Beef Checkoff to host a party featuring a beef recipe, I was really excited. So many people think that if you want to eat healthy, you can’t eat red meat… but that’s just not true. As long as you’re choosing lean beef, you can get tons of vitamins and nutrients without busting your calorie count for the day. This cool infographic taught me a bunch of things I didn’t know about beef’s health benefits, and a lot of them related to running. I was surprised to learn that a 3 oz serving of beef has 44% of your RDV for B12 (which helps give you energy) and 48% of your RDV for protein (which is really important for rebuilding muscle after a hard workout). No wonder my friend Dane ran so many marathons powered by beef!

The Beef Checkoff was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, as a national marketing and research program funded by America’s cattle farmers and ranchers whose goal is to increase demand for beef. You might remember their awesome Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner campaign from this retro 90s commercial:

I decided that for my party, I was going to do something rather non-traditional. When you think beef, you think barbecue or steak dinner, right? I chose to invite my girlfriends over for a night of Bachelor in Paradise watching and wine (since you really can’t even tolerate the first without the second), but then cook up a healthy beef recipe that everyone could eat. My friend Kelly is participating in the Whole30 challenge this month, and my understanding of that is that it’s pretty strictly against dairy, grains, and sugar – so no steak and potatoes with butter for this! Instead, I created my own version of a Thai beef salad, loosely based off this one that always makes my mouth water at Eatzi’s in Dallas:

Eatzi's Thai Beef Salad
Image credit: Austin Leigh

I didn’t use rice noodles, and although I contemplated cabbage, I decided it might be a bit more palatable to everyone if I just used lettuce and herbs instead! Cabbage can be a bit off-putting if you’re not a huge veggie lover. I also chose to use New York strip steak for the beef, which was both lean and very affordable ($6.50/pound). This recipe proves that beef dishes don’t have to be either high-priced or high-calorie! If you’re a red meat beginner, you can also check out this 3 Simple Steps for Grilling Beef infographic for some quick tips.

Trying out a new recipe plugin for my blog, so let me know if you have any issues seeing the recipe below. If you are reading via RSS feed or email, you will need to click through to the full post.

Healthy Thai Beef Salad

Healthy Thai Steak Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Thai
Servings 6 people


Salad Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 3 cups butter lettuce


  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Trader Joe's gyoza dipping sauce (substitute: honey, agave syrup, or other sweetener)


  • Preheat your grill or grill pan. I used a George Foreman Grill because it was convenient, but you could do this on an outdoor grill for extra flavor!
  • Liberally sprinkle the steak on both sides with salt and pepper, then put on the grill for about 7 minutes (depending on your cut/thickness). For maximum tenderness, don't overcook! When your steak is done, let it rest on a cutting board to allow the juices to redistribute. The salad is best served chilled, so don't worry about it getting cold!
  • While the steak is cooking/resting, chop the rest of the salad ingredients (except for the lettuce) and toss them in a bowl. For this recipe, a smaller dice/chop is preferred.
  • In a mason jar or other shaker, combine the dressing ingredients and give them a shake. Pour over your salad.
  • After the steak has rested, thinly slice it into small bites, then add it to the salad bowl. Mix thoroughly so the steak can absorb some of the dressing and tenderize even further.
  • Refrigerate until chilled. The great thing about this for a party is you can do all the work ahead of time!
  • Just before serving, chop your butter lettuce and add it to the salad bowl, mixing thoroughly. (If you add the lettuce sooner, it will wilt with the dressing.)


Thai Beef Salad Nutrition
Although at first glance this seems to have a lot of cholesterol, remember that it's meant as a main dish - so 25% of your RDV isn't bad at all. It's also very low in sugar despite its sweetness from the veggies and dressing, and is very high in selenium, B6, B12, vitamin C, zinc, and protein!

This recipe is pretty big for a small amount of calories, which I love. (Hooray for lots of veggies to bulk it out!) I served it alongside Trader Joe’s Potstickers, for those who wanted something with more carbs that was still fairly light. I mean, we had to save calories for wine somehow…

Bachelor In Paradise And Wine
You can ignore the food and just look at the fully-stocked bar on the left. When watching any iteration of the Bachelor, it’s necessary to temporarily incapacitate some brain cells to understand the motivation of the YOPO contestants.

And for dessert? Chocolate chip cookies and sea salt caramel ice cream… which may sound really indulgent, but it was actually a special brand called Arctic Zero. They were one of the sponsors of Blend a few months ago, and were generous enough to send me a case to try.

Arctic Zero
This came for my birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

What am I going to do with a case of ice cream, you might ask? (If you don’t know me very well, because I can make ice cream disappear fast.) Well, I am working through it at a much faster pace than I’d even go through regular ice cream, because Arctic Zero is actually not quite ice cream, but a “frozen dessert” that has only 150 calories per pint! That may sound like it’s laced with tons of chemicals, but it’s actually made with just water, milk, organic cane sugar and fiber, chicory root, cocoa powder, guar gum, xanthan gum, and monkfruit, which are all ingredients I can get behind. (Note: at one point I heard that there were some concerns about the veracity of the 150 calorie claim, but it seems to have held up.) I really love the sea salt caramel, which is one of their new flavors, but it’s a toss up for me between that and the orange cream as my favorite – that one tastes just like a creamsicle!

Overall, I was really happy with how my dinner/dessert turned out. The whole thing seemed rather indulgent, but it was actually pretty healthy! My friends agreed that it was a perfect girls-night-in, and I’m hoping to be able to host more of these soon 🙂

Disclaimer: I received some beef-related products to help me cook this recipe, as well as a promotional item from Mom Central to thank me for participating. I also received free products from Arctic Zero, but was under no obligation to write about them. All opinions are my own.


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