Healthy Beef Recipes That Give Impossible Burgers a Run for Their Money

Photo: Claudia Totir/Getty

Full of iron, zinc, and (oh yeah!) great flavor, these red meat meals will feed your taste buds and your muscles.

01 of 09

The Best Healthy Beef Recipes


In this plant-based meat era, beef can get a bad rap. But healthy beef recipes do exist—and thanks to their red meat star (beef, duh), they're loaded with protein, iron, and heart-healthy B-vitamins. Choose lean cuts and grass-fed meat to make these healthy beef recipes, from burgers and steaks to salads and sandwiches. (Just remember to mix it up with meatless options too to limit your impact on the environment.)

02 of 09

Steak and Pepper Tacos


While Taco Bell does serve some healthy-ish dishes, a DIY Mexican meal will almost always be better for you. This healthy beef recipe can be customized with your favorite cut of meat.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 ounces steak strips
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced green and red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 2 small (6-inch) whole-grain tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons salsa
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

Make It

  1. In a skillet, saute olive oil, cumin, and garlic for 1 minute.
  2. Add steak strips and cook about 5 minutes.
  3. Add pepper and onion slices and cook for another 8 minutes.
  4. Place mixture in tortillas and fold. Top with salsa and sour cream.
03 of 09

Grilled Steak

Claudia Totir/Getty

Make the most of a moderate amount of meat by slicing thinly and serving over a big bed of greens.


  • 2 boneless strip steaks, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick


  • 1 cup Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salad
  • 12 cups arugula
  • 1 cup thinly shaved Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Make It

  1. Coarsely chop the parsley leaves and the garlic. Transfer to a small bowl, mix with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Rub marinade over the steaks and refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add oil, whisking until dressing is emulsified.
  4. Turn the grill to medium-high heat and brush the racks with olive oil.
  5. Scrape off any excess marinade from steaks, and grill about 6 inches over heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
  6. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. With a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, cut steaks, across the grain, into 18 thin slices.
  8. Toss arugula with dressing to coat.
  9. Divide among 6 plates. Top each with steak strips, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.
04 of 09

Chipotle Beef Wrap


Pack this healthy beef recipe in your brown bag for a not-so-sad desk lunch.

Make that meal even better by stepping away from the keyboard as you enjoy your meal.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 6- to 8-ounce lean steak
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle in adobe, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 2 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • Lettuce and tomato

Make It

  1. Rub olive oil in a heavy skillet.
  2. Saute steak over high heat until medium-rare to medium, turning once (7 to 10 minutes).
  3. Set aside until cool; slice thinly.
  4. Stir together chipotle in adobe and mayonnaise; spread on tortillas.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro to each; top with beef and lettuce and tomato. Roll up.
05 of 09

Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak

Claudia Totir/Getty

When it comes to healthy beef recipes, this creation stands out for its kick. The sweet heat rub helps it taste like something you'd score at a nice steakhouse.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1 pound flank steak

Make It

  1. Preheat the broiler and coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients except steak in a small bowl; rub mixture over the steak.
  3. Broil 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until cooked.
  4. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting diagonally across the grain into thin strips.
  5. Serve with a green salad (like these healthy spinach salads.)
06 of 09

Hearty Beef Chili


Skip ground beef and try diced stew meat for supremely hearty results in this vegetable-rich recipe. (


  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 10-ounce can chopped tomatoes and green chili peppers, undrained
  • 2 cups vegetable juice or tomato juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef or pork stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 15-ounce black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Reduced-fat cheddar, low-fat sour cream and cilantro (optional)

Make It

  1. In a 6-quart cooker, combine both cans of tomatoes, vegetable juice, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic.
  2. Mix in the meat, onion, celery, and pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
  4. Stir in the drained beans, then cover and cook for 15 minutes more (if using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting).
  5. Ladle chili into bowls. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, if desired.
07 of 09

Meatball Sandwich


Some healthy beef recipes just call for carbs—and who can't get behind that? (Answer: no one). Serve this sammie on a hot dog bun instead of a larger hoagie roll or baguette for built-in portion control.


  • 4 meatballs (homemade or frozen store-bought)
  • 1 whole-grain hot-dog bun
  • 2 tablespoons spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 medium orange

Make It

  1. Warm meatballs in microwave.
  2. Place on bun with sauce and peppers, and sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Warm sandwich in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.
08 of 09

A Better Burger


Take your healthy beef recipes to the next level by sneaking in extra veggies. For this upgraded burger, simply blend lean ground beef with chopped peppers and shredded carrots and onions.


  • 1 slightly beaten egg white
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 6 whole-grain buns
  • Shredded carrot, sprouts, mixed greens, tomato slices, and/or red onion slices (optional)

Make It

  1. Combine egg white, water, bread crumbs, carrot, onion, sweet pepper, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add Parmesan and ground beef; mix well.
  3. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties.
  4. Grill burgers on an oiled grill rack for 7 minutes.
  5. Turn and grill 8 to 11 minutes more or until no pink remains.
  6. Serve burgers on buns with vegetables, as desired.
09 of 09

Spinach-Pesto Meatball Soup

Claudia Totir/Getty

Cut prep time for cozy meatball soup by starting this healthy beef recipe with store-bought frozen meatballs. (Up Next: The 5 Worst Soups for Weight Loss, and 5 to Try Instead)


  • 1 16-ounce package frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs
  • 2 14-1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat basil pesto
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Make It

  1. Combine one-half of a 16-ounce package frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs, two 14-1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, one 15-ounce can cannellini beans, 1/2 cup water, and 1/4 cup reduced-fat basil pesto.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in 2 cups baby spinach and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan. Makes 4 servings.
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