Steak and potatoes make it into my kitchen quite often. It’s no secret that potatoes might be most favorite ingredient and ahem, steak, I just published an entire cookbook on beef!
This recipe is not a copycat of the Chipotle bowl or even an Applebee’s steak bowl (so I hear, I’ve still never had one, but this questions comes up a lot. My steak bowl uses seasoned flank steak, spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic and avocado, making it gluten-free, whole30 approved and totally tasty. I don’t follow either of those diets and I love it just the same.
What's In This Article
What is a Steak Bowl?
I am really tempted to call it a beef bowl, but that generally refers to a ground beef mixture or hot pot, and since it does use steak… there you go, steak bowl. Put it on a plate and you’ve got a steak plate. HA! Yes, I realize I’m not that funny.
Potatoes and spinach make up the base, so technically it is a steak salad. Feel free to swap out the greens for another type of lettuce.
Or… make it a steak and rice bowl by starting with a bed or brown rice or white rice and then piling up the other ingredients on top, keeping the spinach or ditching it, up to you. It’s similar to a salmon rice bowl or poke bowl, but with southwest flavors and, duh, steak.
The ingredients for a steak bowl are super easy and honestly, can be modified based on your personal preference or just what you happen to have in the kitchen.
- Sweet Potatoes- The flavors of a sweet potato are a natural fit for a southwestern bowl. Roasted over high heat, they caramelize a little while the inside gets nice and soft. Any potato will work.
- Cooking Oil– Or any neutral oil with a high smoke point. Since the potatoes and meat roast at such high heats, you’ll need to use something with a smoke point of 450°F which limits you to vegetable oil, avocado oil or peanut oil.
- Cumin– KNown for its earthy, nutty, but sweet notes, cumin is often seen in Tex-Mex and southwest fare.
- Flank Steak- Also known as a bavette cut, this is a thin, relatively fat-free cut. Because of that, making sure you cook it correctly is key and it benefits from a high sear and cutting against the grain. Skirt steak and hanger steak are great alternatives.
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper- For seasoning the steak.
- Avocado- Sometimes I add a whole one to each salad, but I am a total nut for avocados.
- Baby spinach- Regular spinach is fine, but baby spinach is easier to eat in a salad. If you have the time (or the drive), snap off the stems.
- Fresh jalapeno– Yep, you will be eating fresh jalapeno, but don’t worry because after removing the seeds and membranes, the heat will tame. And if heat just isn’t in your wheelhouse, omit it all together.
- Fresh garlic- There are so many benefits from fresh garlic, but finding recipes that don’t having you feeling like you are going to peel-the-paint with your breath are hard to find.
- Cilantro- People either love or hate cilantro and the differences actually comes down to genetics. If you dislike it, leave it out or swap it with fresh flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley).
- Scallions- Also known as green onions, also add fantastic flavor and crunch.
- Lime- Fresh citrus juice balances the spicy flavors. I do suggest fresh versus bottled, as the moment any citrus is squeezed, it starts to lose potency.
- Chile Powder- Also optional, but I like the colors! Chipotle or adobe are great smoky options to plain chile powder.
- Flaky Sea Salt- Either Maldon or Jacobson, this also helps balance out the heat while accentuating the sweetness in the potatoes and adding texture.
How to Make a Steak Bowl
- Preheat the oven for the potatoes. I usually peel and cube them while the oven preheats.
- Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with the the oil and then the cumin. Doing it in one step can lead to the uneven seasoning. Spread them onto a large rimmed baking sheet, making sure they are in a single layer and have space around them. If arranged too close, they will steam instead of roast.
- Roast until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove and set aside.
- There is just enough time to cook and rest the steak while the potatoes cook. Season the flank steak with salt and pepper and then heat a large skillet over high heat. If the cast iron is well-seasoned or you are using a nonstick skillet, you won’t need additional oil. Otherwise, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and then the steak. Sear on each side for 2-3 minutes, or longer if prefered.
- Let it rest for 3-5 minutes and then cut into strips or cubes, being mindful to cut against the grain.
- Mix the jalapeno and garlic in a small bowl, this is the “dressing” and provides ample flavor, but if you are like my husband, there are more dressing options below.
- Divide all of the ingredients into two large bowls and then spritz with fresh lime juice and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- I like to enjoy mine hot, but chilled or room temperature are also options.
Sometimes I even get crazy and make mine with Jalapeno Cornbread Mini Muffins or Cheesy Mexican Rolls.
Flank steak is fairly thin, but can still be cooked to a variety of temperatures. Due to the relatively low fat content, I don’t suggest going below medium because it can get dry and chewy, especially without a marinade.
It can also be hard to get an internal temperture on such a thin cut of beef, so try removing it to a cutting board to an accurate read from a digital thermometer and have it not pick up the temp of the hot pan. Here is a beef temperature guide.
Bowls like this provide endless opportunities to customize based on preference, diet and just whatever you happen to need to use up in the fridge.
- Say Cheese– Add cheese! Cubed or shredded, add pepper jack, colby jack or cheddar cheese.
- Get Saucy– I joke that my husband needs extra sauce on nearly everything. Chipotle Ranch Dressing, Roasted Jalapeno and Onion Dressing or Honey Chipotle Dressing are my picks.
- More Veggies– Get your veg on and clean out the crisper. Diced bell pepper, white onion, red onion, cucumber slices, halved grape tomatoes and carrots are great.
- Swap the Leafy Greens– Not into spinach? Substitute it for romaine lettuce, bibb lettuce, a spring mix or even iceberg lettuce.
- Grains- Make it a steak and rice or steak and grain bowl by adding a bed of quinoa or rice.
Storage & Leftovers
I gobble this salad up, so there aren’t any leftovers, but if you do happen to have some or make it for meal prep, I suggest enjoying the second meal chilled or at room temperature. Reheating will cause the spinach to wilt and get a little weird.
If you are making it intentionally for meal prep and like it hot, save all the ingredients in separate airtight containers and then heat up the beef and potatoes before combining.
Unfortunately, this is not a meal we suggest freezing.
More easy steak recipes:
- Mushroom Cheese Stuffed Flank Steak
- Salisbury Steak Casserole
- Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
- Insane Steak Sandwiches
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
Southwest Steak Bowl
- 2 sweet potatoes , peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable , divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 16 ounces flank steak
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 avocado , cubed
- 2 cups baby spinach , stems removed
- 1 jalapeno , seeded and minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro , leaves only
- 1/4 cup scallions (green onions) , chopped
- 1 lime , cut into wedges
- chile powder , for finishing and optional
- Maldon Sea Salt , for finishing and optional
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with the cumin and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove and set aside.
- Season the flank steak with fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, if needed. If you are using a well seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet, this is not necessary. Add the seasoned steak, searing on each side for 2-3 minutes for medium-rare, longer for more well-done. Remove and allow to rest for 3 minutes. Slice against the grain or into cubes.
- Mix the jalapeno and garlic in a small bowl.
- Divide the spinach, cooked sweet potatoes, steak, scallions and avocado into 2 large bowls. Top with the jalapeno-garlic mixture, cilantro and fresh lime juice from lime wedges.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings section!
- Say Cheese– Add cheese! Cubed or shredded, add pepper jack, colby jack or cheddar cheese.
- Get Saucy- I joke that my husband needs extra sauce on nearly everything. Chipotle Ranch Dressing, Roasted Jalapeno and Onion Dressing or Honey Chipotle Dressing are my picks.
- More Veggies- Get your veg on and clean out the crisper. Diced bell pepper, white onion, red onion, cucumber slices, halved grape tomatoes and carrots are great.
- Swap the Leafy Greens- Not into spinach? Substitute it for romaine lettuce, bibb lettuce, a spring mix or even iceberg lettuce.
- Grains– Make it a steak and rice or steak and grain bowl by adding a bed of quinoa or rice.
This is a perfect meal prep healthy lunch! I love the sweetness of the sweet potatoes with the rest of the southwest flavors
Great recipe! Both myself and my husband enjoyed it immensely for lunch! I absolutely loved the combination of vegetables and textures! Thanks for the recipe.
I love everything about this meal! Packed full of flavors and really delicious!
Such a great way to use steak. My husband loves steak, so I am going to give this a try.
Hope these recipes are as good as they look
Hi Marilyn! Every single thing you see here, has been eaten by me and my family. Literally, we eat what I photograph and I am terrible at photoshop, so what you see if exactly what you get and if it was terrible, I wouldn’t post it. With that said, everyone has different taste buds, so what I love, someone else might not. In my experience, most people agree that my recipes are pretty darn delicious. Thanks for stopping by!