You can have steak during Whole30, y’all. Did you hear me? You can have steak. With so little left of my former diet (which consisted largely of food-centered hugs made of cheese, sweets, loads of carbs and red wine), I really struggled at first with the idea that all I could basically eat for 30 days would be meat and plants. Then I found out I could have steak, and the world was right again. (For those of you unfamiliar with Whole30, it’s a temporarily restrictive diet that prohibits consumption of alcohol, dairy, grains, processed sugars and legumes for 30 days. You can read more here.)
Today’s Whole30 compliant recipe is steak, chili mango and brussels sprouts, a grill-centered dish made for warmer summer weather. I got the idea for this recipe, which was a hit with the whole family, after I heaved a $12.99 case of champagne mangoes into the enormous mound of produce in my cart at the grocery store. I figured that eating mangoes during the first week of Whole30 would help lessen the burn of my crazy, inevitable sugar withdrawal. Plus, I’ve always wanted to try this (peel mango using a glass). Have you done it before? It’s crazy — once you learn, you’ll want to peel about a hundred mangoes in a row. There’s something oddly satisfying about watching the mango separate from its peel, dribbling sweet nectar into the glass as you move the fruit slowly down the outer edge. It feels kind of like peeling dried Elmer’s glue from your fingers. You did that too as a kid, right?
But enough about peeling mangoes. There’s a magical quality that grilled steak holds over me all the time, but it’s especially powerful right now. I eat my steak once a week like I’ve crawled through the desert to get to it, and once I have that steak in my mouth, it is sinfully satisfying. I have so little, and this steak tastes so, so good. The chili mango and brussels sprouts are a wonderful complement, too. My brussels sprouts, which are tossed in balsamic vinegar before roasting, caramelize in the oven to become crisp, bitter, and just subtly sweet. The brussels sprouts are a nice balance with the sugary heat of grilled mangoes.
By the way, if you’re wondering how I’m doing on Whole30 — well, I’m great. No, seriously, I am. I don’t know what happened, but sometime earlier this week (we’re in Week 3), I just stopped missing the foods I’m not allowed to have. I’m not obsessing over carbs or desserts the way I was in the first week anymore. Although I do feel hungry, I’m not as peckish throughout the day like I used to be before Whole30. Weirdly, I’m also eating less during meals. Don’t even get me started on my energy levels. I’m bouncing out of bed in the mornings like an early bird, which I’ve never been. WHAT IS THIS VOODOO MAGIC, WHOLE30?
The hubby and I already talking about Life after Whole30. The first, and perhaps most powerful lesson that we’ve learned is that both he and I have been encased in a layer of carbs and dairy. Once we stripped both away from our diets, we’ve been melting our fat off, too. It’s very eye-opening. We’re realizing that, at least when it comes to certain categories of foods, there’s a difference between “want” and “need,” and that we’ve been conflating the two. We want sinfully rich desserts, heaping bowls of cheesy pasta and baguettes coated with glistening slices of brie. We thought we needed those foods to make us full and happy, and Whole30 has shown us how very, very wrong we’ve been.
Of course, neither the hubby and I think that Whole30 is a sustainable, permanent diet. We both plan on slowly reintroducing foods into our diet when this is over, with a close eye on “saving” ourselves for the foods that are really worth it (for example, those lemon pudding cakes I made a few weeks ago? Totally worth it).
Sigh. Now I really want that cake. And I was doing so well, too.
- 1.5 pounds sirloin or ribeye steak, fat trimmed and cut into 4 equal pieces
- 1.5 pounds brussels sprouts, washed and patted dry with a paper towel
- 4 mangoes, sliced (for an addictive instructional video, see below)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- chili garlic sauce (if observing Whole30, make sure there's no sugar added)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rub steaks all over with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside and let come to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut brussels sprouts in half, then place in a medium bowl, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat brussels sprouts thoroughly. Spread brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake in oven 15 minutes, then remove and flip brussels sprouts over to roast the other side. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until fork tender.
- While brussels sprouts are roasting (and after you've already turned them), coat grill with olive oil and heat to high heat (450-500 degrees). Rub remaining olive oil on mango slices. Add steaks to grill and grill for 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare. After flipping the steaks, add mango and grill on each side for approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish each mango with chile garlic sauce, then serve immediately.