Feel Good and Take it Easy with Weeknight Thai Steak Bowls with Sesame Peanut Clusters

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A note from Maggie

It’s the age-old question, and, boy, can it get old after a long day at work. Weeknight dinners sometime get lost in the shuffle, so it’s a real blessing when you find a dish that is fast, flavorful, and makes you feel good. Ally accomplishes all of these things with her Thai Steak Bowls, and those sesame peanut clusters? Stop. They are my new favorite topping, as well as a nice afternoon snack.

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Once I get past the sadness of summer ending, I’m ready for fall. Excited, even. To me, it’s a time to reset, reclaim a daily routine, and get to work. As the weather cools, I feel more productive and more intentional about my daily choices. Part of this intentionality means cooking more and eating a bit healthier (I just finished our 7 Day Salad Reset; you’re welcome to join us). But over the years, I’ve learned that making homemade meals doesn’t have to mean spending hours and hours in the kitchen.

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One of the reasons I became obsessed with salads (my site, Loveleaf Co., is proof of this) is because they’re easy. Throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and enjoy. On cooler days, weeknights especially, I’m all about bowls. Like salads, they’re forgiving, comforting, and nourishing. These Thai Steak Bowls with Sesame Peanut Clusters are no exception.

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Let’s talk about the star of the show: the sauce. This silky coconut curry sauce tastes like it would take hours to make, but thanks to red curry paste (hello, shortcuts), it only takes minutes. Here we give you a recipe for a full bowl, but once you make the sauce, you’re free to experiment with the other ingredients. Add a starch (we used rice), a protein (steak here), some veggies (anything goes) and voilà; #bowlgoals achieved. These are already on weekly rotation in my house.

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And let’s not forget the gift: sesame peanut clusters. This nut and spice combination pairs perfectly with southeast Asian flavors. Make a big batch and give some away to friends and family (they’ll love them, I promise) in simple packaging; cellophane bags with some twine. Or here’s another idea: give them to your weeknight self. Make a big batch of these clusters over the weekend, throw them on top of salads or bowls during the week, and instantly add some “wow” to a humble dish. So go ahead and put a batch in the oven; your future self will thank you.

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Weeknight Thai Steak Bowls with Sesame Peanut Clusters

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the savory peanut clusters
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup raw hulled sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted peanuts, finely chopped
For the rice
  • 1 cup dry white Jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
For the steak bowl
  • 1 pound stir-fry steak (like strip or flank), sliced against the grain into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (more or less depending on the type of pan you’re using)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (we like Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 2 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, shaved with a peeler into ribbons
  • 4 to 5 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions:

Make the the savory peanut clusters
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk egg white in a small bowl until slightly foamy; whisk in sugar, salt, ground cumin, and pepper flakes. Add sesame seeds and chopped peanuts and toss to coat.
  2. Spoon the mixture in clumps on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container or small plastic bags at room temperature.
Make the rice
  1. Combine water, rice, and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 10 minutes and fluff with fork.
Make the steak and sauce
  1. Start by cooking the steak. Add the steak to a large pan with a little coconut oil. Let the steak cook for 1 to 2 minutes to get a golden brown sear and flip to brown all sides. Cook to the doneness of your liking and remove from the pan.
  2. In the same pan, add a bit more coconut oil. Add the grated ginger and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the red curry paste and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, and fish sauce and simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, while you prep the rest of the ingredients. It should thicken slightly, but if you want a thicker sauce, thoroughly mix together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water (there shouldn’t be any lumps). Add the cornstarch mixture to the coconut milk mixture. Continue to stir over medium-low heat until thickened to your liking.
Assemble the bowls
  1. Divide the sauce (saving some for garnish, if desired), rice, and steak between four bowls. Top each bowl with equal amounts of cabbage, carrots, scallions, and basil. Drizzle more coconut curry sauce on top. Garnish with savory peanut clusters and sliced chili pepper and serve with a slice of lime.
Ally Milligan is a Boston-based multimedia producer and salad-obsessive at Loveleaf Co., a site encouraging health and mindfulness through the simple habit of eating one salad a day. See how easy it is to incorporate this healthy practice into your life by joining Loveleaf Co.’s free 7 Day Salad Reset.

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