Sir Paul McCartney, of The Beatles, started Meat-Free Monday (MFM) with his family in 2009, and the trend and concept has skyrocketed ever since due to the facts – MFM’s motto is One day a week can make a world of difference. Beyond the fact that The Beatles are the best band in the history of the universe and Paul is a personal hero of my family, the Meat-Free Monday organization highlights some unavoidable truths, the broadest of which is the serious environmental problems that come from our society’s current, high-volume consumption of meat – not to mention the World Cancer Research Fund’s recommendation that we “choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat”.
One of the cool things about Sir M. and MFM is that, although Paul McCartney is a vegan, he isn’t preaching that everyone should begin to adopt that diet. He’s just saying we should eat less meat – for the good of the planet. This is the same guy who said love is all you need, and co-wrote Blackbird with John Lennon about racial inequality in the 1960s – I think he’s got a gift for noticing how we can improve the world, and pointing it out while personally living that change.
I’ve shared recipes with meat in them recently, and this one still involves meat – I’m not a vegetarian, nor do I plan to become one again. However, I like to think I’m an environmentally-conscious member of society, and as such I try to move plants to the center of my plate, literally and figuratively speaking. I have only shared a couple of vegetarian and vegan recipes (vegan Healing Red Lentil Soup, this seriously mind-blowing vinaigrette, feed-your-soul good oatmeal and my latest discovery – a fun and yummy burrito bowl) and am working to share more – but frankly, that’s a reflection of our diet.
Veggies are awesome, and during the gardening months here in New England we grow as much as we can! As much as I love winter, that cold/snow/brrrreeze means buying produce and buying organic produce can get very expensive. I’ll quickly admit I’m not an all-organic, all the time kinda girl. I prefer to abide by the Dirty Dozen rule, so I try to get organic strawberries and other porous stuff. I do get excited about my occasional little bag of completely non-organic, unnatural Fritos, and I loooove chocolate (cake, cookies, brownies, fudge, -covered strawberries) of all shapes and sizes.
My husband would probably eat steak and potato salad or mac and cheese for every meal if he could, so we eat a pretty balanced diet that we both enjoy. We have more yummy recipes set aside to cook this weekend, so stay tuned for more veggie-centric, vegetarian (aka meatless – don’t be scared, fellow omnivores!) and vegan recipes! Update: Here’s a HOT soup recipe for ya!
In the meantime, this is a recipe I was beyond thrilled with all the way through. The concept of it is fantastic – take a typical steak and potatoes meal, with its humongous serving of saturated fat (12 grams in an average New York strip) and, as Cooking Light says, flip the protein and bring the veggies to the center of our plates.
The ingredients are simple, easy-to-find and inexpensive, and – as with every single Cooking Light recipe –healthy! My best friend Katie (the one who shared the awesome DIY Face Serum concept with me) and I had a cooking date and split up the tasks, and it was a really straightforward, easy recipe to follow.
Best and most importantly of all, it was DELICIOUS. We were both amazed at how much food it made, and how incredibly tasty and complex the flavors were. I will make this again without hesitation, and enjoyed the leftovers for days. Once the steak strips were gone, the salad stood brilliantly on its own taste-wise, and was definitely filling enough that vegetarians could enjoy as a meal! The visual appeal of this amazing creation was so fancy-pants (just plating it as-is made us look like pro chefs) that it’s a perfect meal for guests.
Just like any of my other recipes, this one comes with the reminder my Grandma gave me a long time ago. I wanted to make a dessert that sounded delicious, but included coconut flakes, which (at the time!) I didn’t like. Grandma told me “when you’re the one making the recipe, you get to make it however you want!” This salad is no different – my husband is not an olive fan, so no olives went on his. We had white vinegar, so substituted that for white wine vinegar, you get the picture…feel free to make it your own 🙂 But oh man, this baby came out SO good.
Gorgeous Veggie-Centric Steak Salad Niçoise
1. Place eggs and potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with cold water to 2 inches above eggs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 7 minutes. Remove eggs from pan; place in a large ice water-filled bowl. Continue cooking potatoes 13 more minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon. Cool slightly; cut into quarters. Add beans to boiling water; cook 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and place in ice water. Drain well; place potatoes and beans in a large bowl. Peel eggs; cut into quarters, and set aside.
2. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cut across grain into thin slices; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
3. Combine remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 3/8 teaspoon pepper, parsley, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl or jar; stir with a whisk or shake until well blended. Drizzle half of dressing over potato mixture; toss to coat. Divide potatoes, beans, steak, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and eggs evenly among 4 plates. Drizzle remaining dressing over servings.
I think it’s important to note that this recipe came to me via my monthly Cooking Light (wahoo!!) with no less than 7 other “More Plants, Less Meat” recipes. About once a week, I go through the magazine and rip out the recipes I plan to try that week, then if they work well, I’ll usually post ‘em here to share with you all! Cooking Light is yet another gift from my Grandma, and one that we enjoy together – she emails me as soon as she gets hers (on the West Coast) and I start checking the mail for mine 🙂
I hope you enjoy! I would love to hear if you try this one – please let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading, you wonderful person you! I’ve started to think of you all as our little Happy Creative family!
A Happy Wife