The minute you mention low-fat and healthy, many people start to turn up their noses (even me) because of the flavorless, low-fat food that has shown up on tables for years. Low fat and healthy also often means giving up flavor and yumminess in the quest for trying to eat healthy. It’s all a myth. Everything is in moderation of course but low-fat and healthy do not mean flavorless.
Today, I’m going to give you my recipe for sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Steak Pasta. It’s wonderfully packed with flavor and good stuff while being low-fat and healthy. It has whole wheat noodles (don’t say yuck until you try them, they actually taste better than regular noodles due to a slightly nutty flavor), low-fat flank steak (it’s called a London broil in most meat departments) and lots of veggies all packed with fresh herbs and flavors. It even has a sprinkling of feta cheese (when you use stronger cheeses, you can use less of them, resulting in less added fat).
I didn’t add the Parmesan or Romano cheese to the pesto (yes, I know! It’s not considered pesto without the cheese but believe me, it didn’t need it and it was just added extra fat). The dish didn’t need it and the Sun-dried tomato pesto is good without it which does reduce its fat levels considerably and this dish was about getting lots of flavor and being low-fat and healthy. I’ve included amounts of cheese in the recipe for those who want to add it.
The Cantanzaro Herb mix is one I get from Savory Spice Shop* and is one of my favorite go to blends. I don’t know the blend amounts but it has garlic, lemon peel, marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano for those who want to try to make it themselves. Personally, I would recommend getting it from Savory because they have the blend down perfectly and it works in so many Italian dishes. I even use this is make my homemade pasta sauce.
My husband could not stop eating this (I only offer the flavors, it’s up to you to use self-control) and saying how wonderful it tasted. Leave out the meat for a fully awesome vegetarian dish for those who prefer not to eat meat or are having a meat free night. This might look like a lot of work for some, but it really is a simple dish to make. The pesto can be made ahead (it’s better if you do because it gives the flavors time to meld together) and is easy anyway because you just throw everything into a food processor or blender. Put the steak into the simple marinade at least two hours in advance. The rest of the prep is just about chopping up some veggies and adding everything into the pan in the right order. This dish is also easy to change to your flavor preference because you can change up the pesto’s for other pesto flavors as well as switch the meat to chicken, pork or even fish. Try out this recipe, it’s a healthy low-fat dish loaded with flavors you don’t want to miss!
* Once again I’m not paid by Savory Spice Shop or given anything for talking about them. They are my favorite spice shop and make such wonderful blends, check them out and you’ll understand the attraction 🙂
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
4 oz. Oil Packed Sun-dried Tomatoes, drained
4 Tbsp. Fresh Basil
1/2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley
4 Cloves of Garlic
1/8 cup of Shallots (or onion, your choice)
1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup of Tomato Sauce
1 Large Roma tomato, seeded and peeled
1/3 cup oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
1/8 cup pine nuts
Salt to taste
Place the tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, shallots and pine nuts into food processor, pulse until well processed. Add vinegar, tomato sauce, tomato and oil, mix until blended. Salt to taste then place in fridge for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.
For variation: Stir in 1/4 cup of Parmesan or Romano Cheese.
Yield: About 1 cup without cheese.
Steak & Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
1 pound London broil or flank steak
3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Cantanzaro herb mix
8oz. whole wheat pasta penne
1 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup large shallot, minced (or onion, your choice)
6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch of kale, blanched
1 cup fresh spinach
3/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
Salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Coat the steak with the Cantanzaro herb mix, put into a shallow dish and pour in the Balsamic Vinegar. Allow the steak to marinade for at least two hours, with the last hour before cooking on the counter so the steak can come to room temperature. To cook: grill or broil until medium rare. (Depending on thickness of steak and temperature of grill or oven: a 1 1/2 inch steak takes about 4 minutes per side on medium high heat). Don’t forget to allow steak to rest about 10 minutes before slicing.
Wash kale in cold water, removing large stem. Chop or tear kale into medium size pieces.
Place a large pot of water onto high heat until boiling. Water is going to get two uses here. The first is to add the kale to the boiling water and blanch for six minutes (this preserves the color and cooks the toughness out of the kale making it easier to time correctly when cooking with the pasta). Remove kale from the water. Now add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Set pasta and kale aside until needed. Also reserve about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the pasta water if you need to thin the dish.
Heat a large skillet (don’t try to use a small one, it won’t work for this dish) on medium high heat until hot. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet, followed by the garlic, shallots and mushrooms. Cook until soft, then add the diced tomatoes and the roasted red pepper to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes and add the blanched kale into the skillet. Turn skillet down to medium and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet, followed by the sun-dried tomato pesto and about 1/2 cup of pasta water if needed. Stir to mix thoroughly before adding salt and pepper to taste. Allow pasta to cook until heated through, add spinach, stirring to mix once again and then remove from heat (the spinach will wilt down perfectly from the heat of the dish). Don’t leave sitting on the hot burner or noodles and veggies will overcook. Sprinkle with feta cheese and add thinly sliced steak to the dish and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.