Robin's Healthy Take: Are Butter Sauces Healthy Eats?

Robin's recipes feature sauces with just enough butter for flavor without a ton of fat. Try noodles with wasabi butter sauce or steak with tarragon butter sauce.

Are butter sauces healthy? They can be! Let’s be honest, butter makes sauces silky and smooth. But that doesn’t mean you need the whole stick. The key is adding just enough to make the sauce richer, allowing flavors to linger on your palate longer than they would without fat. Here are two great examples. The noodle dish is a vibrant, Asian dish heightened with the flavors of wasabi and soy. I used wasabi paste but you can make a paste with equal parts wasabi powder and water. For the London broil, lean steak is crusted with cracked peppercorns (which add fantastic flavor and crunch) and then grilled until medium. The steak slices are then drizzled with a lovely tarragon butter sauce. Sounds rich, but check out the calories!

Asian Noodles With Wasabi Butter Sauce
Serves 4
12 ounces Chinese chow mein (stir-fry) noodles
1 cup frozen soybeans (edamame)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons wasabi paste, or more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook noodles according to package directions, adding soybeans and bell pepper to the boiling water when you add the noodles. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine broth, butter, soy sauce and wasabi paste in a medium saucepan and set pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and whisk to dissolve wasabi paste completely into the broth. Add noodles, soybeans and bell pepper and cook 1 minute to heat through. Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 336
Total Fat: 8 grams
Saturated Fat: 3.7 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 53 grams
Sugars: 3 grams
Protein: 14 grams
Sodium: 611 milligrams
Cholesterol: 26 milligrams
Fiber: 5 grams
Peppercorn Steak With Tarragon Butter Sauce

You can find cracked pepper in the spice aisle, or you can crack your own by placing whole peppercorns in a freezer bag and mashing them with the flat side of a meat mallet or bottom of a heavy skillet. 

Serves 4
Cooking spray
1 1/4 pound London broil
Salt
2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Coat a stove-top grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.

Season both sides of steak with salt and cracked peppercorns. Place steak on hot pan and cook 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium. Remove steak from pan and let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing crosswise (against the grain) into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Meanwhile, combine broth, butter, tarragon and Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan and set pan over medium heat. Cook until butter melts and mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve steak slices with butter sauce spooned over top.

Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 230
Total Fat: 11 grams
Saturated Fat: 5.6 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 2 grams
Sugars: <1 gram
Protein: 30 grams
Sodium: 111 milligrams
Cholesterol: 76 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram

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Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of "Robin Takes 5" and “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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