What to Do with Leftover Steak

These round two recipes are destined for prime time.

June 10, 2020
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Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

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Whether you’ve grilled up a week’s work of flank steak or shelled out top dollar for prime cuts, steak is an investment that shouldn’t go to waste. So, what do you make when you’ve got leftovers?

Turns out, there are plenty of round two recipes where leftover steak can reprise a starring role. From sandwiches to salads, bowls to brunch, pasta to pizza (yes, pizza!), these dishes are destined for kitchen prime time.

Sandwich It

Slices of leftover steak are a versatile and satisfying sandwich filling. You can keep things simple and follow this formula: bread + steak slices + pantry staple + condiment. Dynamic duos to enhance the bread and steak include kimchi and mayo, roasted red peppers and pesto, or artichoke hearts and olive tapenade.

Or you could take things up a notch and create a meaty masterpiece worth taking a proper lunch break for. Try this Blue Cheese Steak Sandwich with the Works, where sliced flank stank is dressed with umami-rich toppings like roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and a blue cheese sauce. You’d do well to draw from the cannon of classic steak sandwiches, too. Bobby Flay’s Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich piles chopped steak, grilled peppers, onions, and mushrooms topped with a melty Provolone cheese onto a sturdy roll — using leftover steak really shaves down the prep time.

You can dress up your steak sandwich by leaning into different flavor profiles from around the globe. These Middle Eastern Steak Pitas call for flat pita, though pita pockets would work well too, all the better to contain the cucumber-tomato salad and garlicky tahini sauce. Ciabatta is the bread of choice for these Italian Steak Sandwiches (pictured). The bread is sturdy enough to hold a mound of thinly sliced steak that’s been tossed with a giardiniera brine-based dressing, plus the actual pickles and Provolone. Bobby detours to Argentina for his Flank Steak Crostini with Chimichurri, employing the bright green herb sauce as a counterpoint to the meat’s minerally richness.

Wrap It Up

These Steak Summer Rolls make the case for regularly grilling up extra steaks. Slices of steak rolled up with radishes, carrots, cucumbers and herbs make a refreshing, warm-weather-ready dish. For a low-lift light lunch or dinner option, tuck leftover steak into lettuce cups and top with avocado and salsa, as inspired by Marcela Valladolid’s Light Tacos, or pile slices into tender Napa cabbage leaves and top with rice noodles, mango, peanuts and herbs, then sluice with a spicy-funky sauce a la these Thai Steak Cabbage Wraps.

Leftover steak can be transformed into a simple hand-held meaty main just by switching up the wrapping implement and adding different sauces. Have flatbread on hand? Take inspiration from these Grilled Skirt Steak Gyros and top the meat with a garlicky yogurt sauce and grilled veggies. If it’s tortillas you have, burritos and tacos are a sure bet. Try these Hanger Steak Tacos with Chile and Herb Oils or opt for Jeff Mauro’s Carne Asada Burrito, which can be doctored up with jarred salsa, a squeeze of fresh lime and a handful of chopped fresh herbs if you don’t go the homemade charred salsa and cilantro pesto route.

Add It to Salads

With your steak already cooked, the most time-consuming part of this Almost-Famous Steak Taco Salad will be the 10 minutes it takes to make the taco bowls. Skip a step and simply pile romaine on a plate, top with the steak slices, then scatter with shredded cheddar and pantry staples like canned black beans, black olives and jarred salsa.

Ree Drummond’s Big Steak Salad just might inspire you to save some of tonight’s steak dinner for tomorrow’s lunch on purpose. A heap of mixed greens, such as romaine, arugula and radicchio, plus sliced steak, sliced tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles add up to a supremely satisfying salad. Take things over the top and crown the lot with crisp homemade onion strings.

When it comes to pasta salad proteins, you’re probably more likely to think of tuna or chicken than steak, but it makes a fine addition, too. This Pasta Salad with Steak, Bell Pepper, Green Beans and Bacon was made for using up leftovers — combine chopped cooked steak with pasta shells, and add in steak night remnants like green beans, or swap in sauteed spinach or roasted mushrooms instead.

Skirt steak co-stars with penne in this elegant Creamy Parmesan Steak Pasta Salad that’s pulled together with an irresistible creamy dressing that’s bolstered with grated garlic and fresh lemon juice. Skirt steak also comes into play in this Steak, Tomato & Onion Pasta Salad with Garlic Oil; it’s simple to put together as is, but you could also sub in a bottled vinaigrette to save time.

Top Bowls with It

All kinds of cuts — from filet to flank to rib-eye — lend themselves to the rice, grain or noodle bowl-game. If you’ve got leftover rice or have batch-cooked grains or noodles, your dish will come together that much faster. This healthy Grilled Steak and Rice Bowl pairs thinly sliced flank steak with shredded carrots and diced cucumbers, but if you’re short on fresh produce, you could easily swap in kimchi, chow chow or other pickled veggies.

Bite-size pieces of flank or skirt steak work well in this Burrito Grain Bowl, which ditches the tortilla for tender-nutty farro (quinoa or bulgur would work too), but keeps all the other goodies like corn, avocado, cilantro and salsa.

If noodles are more your jam, might we suggest a Spicy Steak Noodle Bowl? It’s chockful of texture and flavor, including rich rib-eye, slippery udon, tender cabbage and crunchy peanuts, all drizzled with a sesame soy dressing.

Put an Egg on It

Steak and eggs are a classic combo for good reason. For a quick sit-down breakfast, try this Steak and Eggs recipe by gently rewarming slices of steak over low heat in one skillet and frying up some runny-yolk eggs in another. Or tuck sliced steak into tortillas to turn things into a breakfast taco situation. See: the Ultimate Tailgate Steak and Egg Tacos.

If you’ve got time for a leisurely brunch, take a cue from Ree’s Steak and Eggs Benedict and assemble gently rewarmed steak atop English muffins, then top with a fried egg and spicy homemade hollandaise.

Stir-Fry It Up

Stir-fries are a weeknight-dinner-in-a-hurry staple but subbing in sliced leftover steak and adding it toward the end of cooking saves even more time. Skirt steak is a winner in Trisha Yearwood’s healthy Beef Stir-Fry — just wait until the final two minutes of cooking to add it to the skillet with sauteed red bell peppers, baby corn, mushrooms and snow peas.

For this Beef and Mushroom Stir-Fry, bring leftover sirloin steak to room temperature before adding it during the final cooking step, when the meat gets glazed with a brown-sugar-soy-sauce mixture.

Richly marbled rib-eye slices get new life in this Beef Stir-Fry with French Fries dish, which draws on the traditional Peruvian dish lomo saltado, where sirloin strips are stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and French fries and typically served with rice.

Put It on a Pie

Believe it or not, leftover steak makes a convincing case as a pizza topping. Katie Lee’s Cheesesteak Skillet Pizza turns Philly’s beloved sandwich on its head. Pizza dough is topped with shaved sirloin, a duo of mozzarella and Provolone, and the requisite peppers and onions. Bobby leans into classic flavor combinations like Balsamic vinegar and blue cheese for his Pizza with NY Strip recipe, topped with a tangle of crisp watercress for good measure.

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