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Grain Bowl with Steak, Brown Rice, and Peanut Sauce

July 9, 2019
grain bowl with steak, brown rice, broccoli, carrots, and peanut sauce in blue bowl with green napkin

Grain bowls are super popular right now, and for good reason. They’re a great way to showcase different healthy grains and vegetables, and reduce meat consumption. Yes, this is a steak rice bowl recipe, but stay with me. The steak is just part of the overall dish, rather than being the main attraction. Did you know that the recommended serving size for meat is just 3 ounces? That’s roughly the size of your palm (not including your fingers!). When you order a steak at a restaurant, you’re likely getting a steak that is at least two to three times that size. And reducing your meat consumption is not only healthier, it’s a more environmentally-friendly way to eat as well. 

Enter this steak and brown rice grain bowl.

This recipe requires the equivalent of two steaks for four people, rather than four. You then slice them and distribute among your rice bowls. Fill the bowls with larger servings of vegetables instead. When you top this with a yummy peanut sauce and chopped peanuts, I promise you won’t miss the extra beef at all.

And if that’s not incentive enough to give this a try, this is a perfect meal for a family with picky eaters. My girls went through a big “no sauce” phase, where they would basically only eat plain proteins and veggies. So you can leave the sauce off for your picky eaters—and you can even put each ingredient in a separate place on the plate if you have “no food touching each other” eaters. Or turn the sauce into a dip rather than a drizzle. This never fooled my children, but I know lots of kids who will eat anything if there’s a dip to go with it! 

Wait, back up. What is a grain bowl?

The term grain bowl is just the name for a bowl with a bed of some kind of grain (rice, barley, quinoa, farro, etc.) topped with a protein, vegetables, some kind of dressing or sauce, and sometimes a garnish. They are a great way to eat healthy, especially if you choose whole grains as your base. And, they are a perfect dish for using up leftovers, since you need just a little bit of each component. Should you find yourself without any chicken, beef, pork, or tofu to use as your protein, grain bowls are also perfect for a soft-boiled egg, poached egg, or fried egg. 

How do you make my Grain Bowl with Steak, Brown Rice, and Peanut Sauce?

To make this hearty grain bowl, first cook your rice (if you don’t have cooked brown rice handy). You’ll want to use 1 cup of brown rice, uncooked, and follow the package instructions for cooking time. Brown rice takes longer than white rice, so keep in mind you’ll need to start this first. Often, it takes around 45-55 minutes to cook.

While the rice is cooking, make the peanut sauce. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in the blender (see recipe card below). Add 1 tablespoon of hot water, and blend. If the sauce is too thick, add another 1-2 tablespoons of hot water, until it is thin enough to drizzle over the rice bowl. Blend for around 30 seconds total, or until sauce is smooth. Scrape down the sides and blend for a few more seconds. Note: if you leave out the garlic and ginger or grate them very finely, you can whisk this sauce by hand. Otherwise you get a sharp chunk of garlic or ginger in your sauce if you don’t use a blender. 

Cooking Your Steaks

Next, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a cast-iron pan. Pat beef tenderloin steaks dry, and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. When pan is very very hot, and the oil in the pan just starts to smoke, add 1 T. butter and swirl around. Then add steaks. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip (bottom should be nicely browned). Cook for another 3 minutes. Flip again and cook 1-2 minutes on each side until it hits the temperature you like for your steak. I prefer medium-rare steak, so I cook it to 140 degrees and then remove from the pan and place on a cutting board to rest. It will increase several degrees in temperature as it rests.

steaks cooking on cast-iron pan

Preparing Vegetables and Assembly

Place broccoli and carrots in a large microwave-safe bowl with a few tablespoons of water and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap, and then microwave for 3 minutes. Peel away part of the plastic wrap, being careful to avoid any steam, and stir. Put wrap back on and microwave for another 2 minutes, or until broccoli and carrots are brightly colored and just fork-tender.

steamed broccoli and carrots in glass batter bowl

When steaks have rested for 5-10 minutes, cut them into 1/4 inch slices. To assemble your grain bowl, put 3/4 cup of cooked brown rice in each bowl. Then cover with 1/4 of the steak slices, steamed broccoli, and steamed carrots. Drizzle peanut sauce over the top of the bowl, then garnish with chopped peanuts. 

What are beef tenderloin steaks?

Beef tenderloin steaks are technically the same as filet mignon, since both are cut from the tenderloin part of the cow. However, typically filet mignon steaks are cut very thickly (2-3 inches). In my grocery store, I can find beef tenderloin steaks that are cut more like 1-inch thick, which is ideal for this recipe. And, though beef tenderloin is a very expensive cut of meat, it’s less expensive when you are only eating half of one! Of course, you can substitute any cut of steak you prefer if you want to make this a more budget-friendly recipe. 

Recommended Equipment

  • I love my cast-iron pan for this recipe—it really is the best way to get perfectly seared steaks on your stovetop. Lodge is the gold standard for cast-iron pans. I find their 12-inch one is a perfect size for doing more than one steak at a time. 
  • I also swear by my ThermoWorks Thermapen. Yes, it’s expensive, but it is super-accurate and registers the temperature in just a couple of seconds. 
  • For steaming vegetables, and so many other uses, I love a glass batter bowl. I have an old one from Pampered Chef but this one looks like it fits the bill and is less expensive. 

If you’re intrigued by the grain bowl idea, you might also be interested in my Parmesan Pearl Barley Grain Bowl, another favorite in my household. For other family-friendly dinners, please also see my Creamy Orzo Chicken with Red Peppers, my Greek Chicken Kabobs with Yogurt Sauce, and my Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes, Feta, and Olives.

Grain Bowl with Steak, Brown Rice, and Peanut Sauce

Grain Bowl with Steak, Brown Rice, and Peanut Sauce

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This steak brown rice grain bowl is healthy and delicious. Features brown rice topped with steak, carrots, and broccoli, and drizzled with peanut sauce.

Ingredients

For the grain bowl

  • 1 c. uncooked brown rice
  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • 1 T. vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • 8 oz. broccoli florets
  • 8 oz. carrots, peeled and sliced in coins
  • 1/4 c. chopped salted peanuts
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the peanut sauce

  • 5 T. peanut butter
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 2 t. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 t. sriracha sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 t. chopped ginger

Instructions

    1. Cook your rice according to the package instructions.
    2. While the rice is cooking, make the peanut sauce for your rice bowl. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in the blender. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water, and blend. If the sauce is too thick, add another 1-2 tablespoons of hot water, until it is thin enough to drizzle over the rice bowl. Blend for around 30 seconds total, or until sauce is smooth. Scrape down the sides and blend for a few more seconds.
    3. Next, cook your steaks. Heat 1 T. oil in a cast-iron pan. Pat steaks dry, and sprinkle salt and pepper on each side. When pan is very very hot, and the oil in the pan just starts to smoke, add 1 T. butter and swirl around. Then add steaks. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip (bottom should be nicely browned). Cook for another 3 minutes. Flip again and cook 1-2 minutes on each side until the steaks hit 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (for medium-rare). Then remove them from the pan and place on a cutting board to rest.
    4. Place broccoli and carrots in a large microwave-safe bowl with a few tablespoons of water and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap, and then microwave for 3 minutes. Peel away part of the plastic wrap, being careful to avoid any steam, and stir. Put wrap back on and microwave for another 2 minutes, or until broccoli and carrots are brightly colored and just fork-tender.
    5. When steaks have rested for 5-10 minutes, cut them into 1/4 inch slices.
    6. To assemble the steak brown rice bowl, put 3/4 cup of cooked brown rice in each bowl. Then cover with 1/4 of the steak slices, steamed broccoli, and steamed carrots.
    7. Drizzle peanut sauce over the top of the bowl, then garnish with chopped peanuts.

Notes

If you leave out the garlic and ginger or grate them finely, you can whisk this sauce by hand. I find that unless the garlic and ginger are in very very fine pieces, you get an unpleasant chunk of them in your sauce if you don’t use a blender.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 738 Total Fat: 53g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 30g Cholesterol: 104mg Sodium: 1100mg Carbohydrates: 31g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 7g Protein: 38g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.

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