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Jena DeMoss: Beef bowls and beyond

By Jena DeMoss

Hy-Vee Dietitian

Have you always considered beef to be “off-limits” in terms of health?

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that beef may have more to offer in terms of nutritional value than you previously thought.

One major misconception is that all of the fat found in beef is saturated fat. This is incorrect. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to less than seven percent of calories consumed throughout the day.

While beef does have saturated fat in it, that is not the only type of fat it offers. Let’s take a closer look at the fatty acid profile breakdown on beef:

• 4.1 percent polyunsaturated

• 45.7 percent saturated

• 50.2 percent monounsaturated

Less than 50 percent of the fat found in beef is from saturated fat, and more than 50 percent is from unsaturated fats, which have been shown to help promote heart health.

Additionally, from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it was found that the top three sources of saturated fat in the average American diet were cheese, pizza and grain-based desserts. Beef was not one of the top three sources of saturated fat for most people.

Beef is a great source of iron, and it provides iron in a form that is easy for the body to absorb. Pairing beef with a source of vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and/or bell peppers in a salad, can help aid the absorption of iron. Beef also provides high-quality protein, zinc, selenium, riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamin D and potassium.

As with most sources of meat, it’s important that beef is balanced with a mix of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and the recommended serving size is approximately four ounces. Opt for leaner cuts of beef when possible, and aim to choose a mix of protein options throughout the week — including a variety of meats, poultry and meatless options, such as seafood, beans and rice, tofu, lentils, legumes and low-fat dairy.

Consider trying beef in a bowl form, paired with veggies and brown rice, offered in the example below. You might just find yourself appreciating beef more in bowls, and beyond, now that you have a better understanding of what it has to offer.

Grilled Flank Steak – Banh Mi Bowl

Makes 2 steak meals

All you need

• 2 (2-lb.) Hy-Vee Angus Reserve flank steaks, about 1-in. thick

• ½ cup Gustare Vita olive oil

• ¼ cup Hy-Vee less-sodium soy sauce

• 3 tbsp Gustare Vita red wine vinegar

• 2 tbsp packed Hy-Vee brown sugar

• 1 tbsp Hy-Vee Dijon mustard

• 5 cloves garlic, minced

• Hy-Vee salt and black pepper to taste

All you do

1. Pat steaks dry and place in a 2-gal. resealable plastic bag. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and garlic; pour over steaks; seal bag. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

2. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill with greased rack for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Remove steaks from bag; discard marinade. Grill steaks 14 to 18 minutes or until medium-rare (130 F), turning halfway through.

3. Transfer steaks to clean cutting board. Cover loosely with foil; let rest 10 minutes. Set aside 1 steak to refrigerate and use later in Banh Mi Bowl recipe (below). Thinly slice remaining steak across the grain; season to taste with salt and pepper and serve in recipe of choice.

Banh Mi Bowl

Serves 6

All you need

• 6 cups brown rice, cooked

• 1 chilled cooked steak from Grilled Flank Steak recipe (see above)

• 1 cup seasoned rice vinegar

• 1 cup water

• 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

• Hy-Vee salt, dash

• 1 cup thinly sliced radishes

• 1 cup julienne-cut carrots

• ½ cup thinly sliced jalapeno pepper*

• 3 tbsp chopped cilantro

• 1½ tbsp lime juice

• ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber

Optional: hoisin sauce, garlic chili sauce or fresh mint leaves for garnish

All you do

1.Cook brown rice according to package instructions.

2. Let 1 chilled cooked steak from Grilled Flank Steak recipe stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Thinly slice steak.

3. Place seasoned rice vinegar, water, ginger and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; add radishes, carrots and jalapeno.

4. Remove from heat; discard ginger and cool.

5. Toss cooked rice with cilantro and lime juice.

6. Serve topped with steak, vegetables and cucumber. Optional; garnish with hoisin sauce, garlic chili sauce and/or fresh mint leaves.

* Note: Chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn skin and eyes. When working with jalapenos, wear protective gloves.

Recipe source: Adapted from August 2020 Hy-Vee Seasons magazine