Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe’s

Man is this recipe good. I almost cringed writing the title because I really hate the idea of “hidden veggie” anything, but I felt like the world needed to know just how versatile and nutrient-packed these SJ’s are. Whether you’re cooking for picky kiddos or just trying to add a bit more vegetables into your dinner, I’ve got you covered with this one-pan wonder of a meal.

Ingredients needed to make Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe’s

This recipe makes a large amount of SJ filling. It calls for two pounds of ground beef, plus a large portion of food-processed veggies that leaves you with enough for 6-8 servings. I created this recipe on the larger side on purpose, firstly because Jeff eats the equivalent of two adult portions in one sitting and secondly because this recipe works wonderfully for meal prep. The leftovers keep for a solid 5 days in the fridge and it’s incredibly versatile. I serve it over buns, cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, scooped up with chips, or even eaten with a spoon as-is. If you don’t need this much sloppy joe action in your life, just half the recipe! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Grass-fed ground beef
  • Zucchini
  • Red bell pepper
  • Mushrooms, any variety
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Canned tomato paste
  • Maple syrup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hamburger buns, for serving

You may be wondering, can you:

  1. use ground chicken or turkey, instead? Yes! Since ground poultry is leaner than ground beef, I would add two Tbsp cooking oil per pound of meat
  2. substitute other veggies in your kitchen for the ones listed in this recipe? Yes! I have made these using cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, different varieties of mushrooms, hot peppers instead of bell peppers for extra heat, and fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Use what you have and what you like, just keep the amounts the same.
  3. omit the sweetener? Yes, but I would be aware that traditional sloppy joe’s are on the sweeter side. Omitting the sweetener will leave you with more of a chunky Italian meat sauce rather than a sweet sloppy joe flavor. You can, on the other hand, sub out the maple syrup for whatever you’ve got on hand- honey, agave nectar, or other forms of sweetener.
  4. use beef that isn’t grass-fed? Absolutely! Grass-fed is my preference for a multitude of reasons, but regular beef is just fine.

Tools used to make Hidden-Veggie Sloppy Joes

I love this meal for easy, weeknight-friendly meal prep. It comes together in one large skillet or pot, making for easy clean up. You’ll need just five pieces of equipment for this recipe, which are as follows:

How to make Hidden-Veggie Sloppy Joes

As mentioned above, this recipe can happen rather quickly, making it perfect for weeknights. It’s also very kid friendly, if that’s something you’re looking for in the kitchen. I don’t yet have kids, but I can imagine the joy on their faces while helping food process all the veggies in this recipe. Every kid loves to push the button, ya know?

You’ll start by processing all the vegetables in the food processor. You may need to work in batches, because an over-crowded food processor can lead to some veggies being pureed and some being too large. We’re looking for everything to be a nice, uniform mince that is similar in size to pieces of cooked ground beef. Once everything is processed, set it aside.

Brown the ground beef in your large skillet or pot. While the beef cooks, you can measure out the remaining ingredients.

Once the beef has browned, add the minced veggies and let everything cook together for 10-15 minutes, until all the water from the veggies has cooked out. Then, add the remaining ingredients to create the sauce. At this point, the sauce can be done after just 10 minutes. However, if you want even more developed flavor, you can let it go over very low for a few hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so. If I’m making this on a lazy Sunday, I’ll often opt for the longer route, but both options taste delicious!

Serve the sloppy joe’s over whatever your heart desires. Traditionally, they’re served on hamburger buns. I’ve also been known to eat it over rice or cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, or even as-is with a spoon. Jeff loves to dip tortilla chips into the filling, like a sweeter version of chili on chips. Go for it!

Looking for other veggie-packed recipes?

Try these ideas from The Ardent Cook!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

Chicken and Dumplings

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Recipe Ingredients

2lbs grass-fed ground beef

1 large zucchini, minced

2 medium carrots, minced

1 red bell pepper, minced

4oz baby bella mushrooms, minced

½ yellow onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

28oz can crushed tomatoes

6oz can tomato paste

¼ cup maple syrup

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce 

Salt and pepper, to taste

Hamburger buns, for serving (optional)

Recipe Instructions

  1. Process or very finely mince the zucchini, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Set aside. 
  2. In a very large skillet, brown the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper,
  3. Add the minced veggies and stir everything together thoroughly. Season again with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until most of the water from the vegetables has cooked out.
  4. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Let the mixture come to a boil, then simmer an additional 10 minutes to let the flavors meld together. 
  5. Adjust salt and pepper as needed, and serve over hamburger buns for a traditional sloppy joe. Alternatively, serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or mashed potatoes for a fun twist. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Miso Ginger Meatballs

Miso Ginger Meatballs are little bombs of umami flavor perfect for adding protein to any meal or serving as a delicious appetizer. Made using just 8 ingredients and baked in the air-fryer or oven, these meatballs are quick to whip up and great for meal prep, if that’s your thing. You may consider doubling the recipe if you’re feeding a larger family or adding them to lunches for the week, as this recipe makes approximately 15 meatballs.

Ingredients needed to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

As mentioned, you only need 8 ingredients to make these meatballs, and many of them are pantry staples. Here’s the list:

  • 85/15 grass-fed ground beef
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Rice vinegar
  • White miso
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Scallions (optional, for serving)

Tools used to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

To make these meatballs, you’ll really only need a few kitchen tools. The mandatory items you’ll need are as follows: cutting board, sharp knife, measuring spoons, mixing bowl, and an air fryer OR rimmed baking sheet (if using oven method). If you’d like to make your life slightly easier, I’d also recommend a #40 cookie scoop (this fits about 1 1/2 tbsp) to make sure each meatball is the same size, as well as a microplane or citrus zester for grating the garlic and ginger. Both of those items are completely optional, however. That’s all you need to make delicious meatballs in no time!

How to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

This recipe is as simple as combining all the ingredients, shaping the meatballs, and baking. It’s really that easy. No eggs, no breadcrumbs, no fuss. There is one caveat, which is that you really should use 85/15 ground beef. The fat ratio is very important to achieving juicy meatballs without adding extra ingredients, so don’t go any leaner than that ratio. I beg!

If using an air-fryer, I like to line the basket with parchment and bake the meatballs in two batches so they get nice and crispy outside while staying juicy inside. Adding all the meatballs at once would make for a crowded air-fryer and soggy, not crispy meatballs. If using the oven method, it’s helpful to line the baking sheet with parchment to minimize sticking, but you could also just spray your pan very well to avoid this issue.

Once baked, I let them cool slightly before topping with scallions (and sometimes cilantro) and devouring. They’re so delicious!

Looking for other make-ahead recipes for meal prep and beyond?

Try these ideas from The Ardent Cook!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Harvest Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, and Golden Raisins

Recipe Ingredients

1lb 85/15 ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

½ inch piece ginger, minced or grated

1 tbsp soy sauce 

1 tsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp white miso

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Scallions, optional, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the air-fryer or oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the air-fryer basket or sheet tray with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients except scallions in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a #40 cookie scoop, or a large spoon, scoop approximately 1 1/2 tbsp of the meat mixture into your hands and roll to form a meatball. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed.
  3. If air-frying, bake the meatballs in two batches. Lower the temperature on the air-fryer to 390 and cook for 9 minutes, then repeat with the second batch.
  4. If baking, add the meatballs to the prepared sheet tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches at least 155 degrees and the meatballs are beginning to brown on the outside.
  5. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired, and serve hot. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Smothered Fries with “Animal Style” Sauce

Whether you’re enjoying a big game, craving some loaded french fries, or just looking for a new way to enjoy potatoes, these Smothered Fries with “Animal Style” Sauce are exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Crispy, oven-baked fries get topped with an easy burger sauce and an unassuming line-up of toppings. What follows is a complete party in your mouth, and it doesn’t stop there. While these fries have a healthy array of goodies piled on top, you can completely customize your own toppings to fit your taste. Love cheese on your french fries? Layer it on! Don’t have ground beef? Use ground chicken, sausage, or even shredded pork. As long as you get crispy fries as your base and lots of that “animal style” sauce, you can’t go wrong with whatever you add on top! Let’s make them!

Ingredients needed to make Smothered Fries with “Animal Style” Sauce

I love the earthy taste of russet potatoes in this recipe. It compliments the grass-fed ground beef extremely well. If you don’t have russets or don’t care for them, this dish would also be excellent using sweet potatoes, another variety of white potato, or even a bag of frozen french fries. As long as you’ve got one form of potato, you can make this recipe. Here’s everything you’ll need to pull these fries off:

Tools used to make Smothered Fries with “Animal Style” Sauce

You’ll need basic equipment to make these delicious fries: a large cutting board, a sharp knife, a rimmed sheet pan, a skillet, a stirring utensil, and a mixing bowl. That’s it!

How to make Smothered Fries with “Animal Style” Sauce

The secret to any great oven-baked fry recipe is simple: preheat your sheet pan! By placing your sheet pan in the oven while the oven heats up, you ensure that the fries immediately start crisping up on contact. It works like a charm.

To begin, set the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and place your sheet pan inside, as described above. Cut the potatoes into fries and coat in avocado oil, salt, and pepper.

Once the oven has preheated, carefully remove the hot sheet pan and add the fries to the hot pan in an even layer. They will sizzle upon contact. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for 12-15 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 15-20 until the fries are cooked through.

Meanwhile, you’ll prepare the ground beef, “animal style” sauce, and other toppings. Brown the ground beef in a skillet and break up all the clumps. Combine mayo, ketchup, relish, honey, vinegar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper and stir well. Chop up the red onion, cilantro, and pickled jalapeños and set aside.

Once the fries are done, top with the ground beef, red onions, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and drizzle all over with the sauce. If desired, other toppings may be added. Serve the fries hot with extra sauce on the side!

Looking for other game day food ideas?

Try these other recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

Baked Goat Cheese with Herbed Orange Olives

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings

Recipe Ingredients

1 1/2  pounds russet potatoes, sliced into thin fries (3-4 large)

2 Tbsp avocado oil

1 Tsp salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper, to taste

1lb grass-fed ground beef

½ cup mayonnaise 

3 Tbsp ketchup

2 Tbsp dill relish

1 Tsp honey

1 Tsp white vinegar

½ red onion, finely chopped

Fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

Pickled jalapeños, chopped (optional)

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange an oven rack to the lowest height possible. Place a clean sheet pan in the oven to heat as the oven heats. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cut fries, avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Once the oven and sheet tray are preheated, spread potatoes out into an even layer on the sheet tray. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for 12-15 minutes, toss, then bake again for another 15-20 minutes until browned and cooked through. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the ground beef until browned and cooked-through, breaking up any large clumps, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Make the sauce. Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, honey, and vinegar. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Spread the cooked ground beef evenly over the finished fries. Spoon the sauce over the fries and ground beef, then top with chopped red onion, cilantro, and pickled jalapeño. Serve immediately.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

The crossover recipe to end all crossover recipes….. this stew! Yes, I know that wasn’t a complete sentence. Two of my favorite winter meals are french onion soup and beef stew, and I never really thought of combining them until now. I’d say french onion is my top choice, but it’s frustrating that it never feels like a complete meal. It could be that it’s lacking variety in vegetables, there’s not really any protein, etc. So, I created a cross between the two comfort food recipes, added some quinoa for nuttiness and extra volume, and fully lost it when I tasted the first bite. It was that good.

This recipe is made in the Instant Pot, so it’s relatively quick and easy. The steps can be a bit confusing if you don’t read through the instructions fully, so make sure you actually pay attention before beginning the recipe. But, as long as you read everything, you’ll be left with a delicious, wholesome cold-weather dinner in under an hour. Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

This stew has a fair amount of ingredients, which is part of the reason the flavors are so complex. I would not recommend leaving anything out. Here’s the full list:

  • Avocado oil
  • Beef stew meat
  • Yellow onions
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Red wine
  • Beef broth
  • Water
  • Tomato paste
  • Carrots
  • Quinoa
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Sharp cheddar or goat’s milk cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • Toasted bread or croutons

Tools used to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

As mentioned above, this recipe is made almost entirely in the Instant Pot. If you don’t have an Instant Pot but feel comfortable in the kitchen, you could absolutely try making this on the stovetop or even in a slow-cooker. I did not test the recipe using those methods, so I can’t provide specific instructions. However, it will certainly work as long as you adjust the cooking time accordingly (the Instant Pot works much faster than other methods, so any other method take longer to achieve the same beef tenderness and depth of flavor).

I use the Instant Pot Duo Nova 6-qt, linked here. I absolutely love it. I was NOT a gadget-lover in the kitchen until I bought one of these on a whim, and I promise you- it’s life changing. Other than the Instant Pot itself, you’ll want to gather a few more kitchen items to make this recipe a breeze: a cutting board, a sharp knife, a pair of tongs, measuring cups and spoons, aluminum foil, a rimmed baking sheet, and a stirring utensil. I prefer to use my favorite wooden spoon for stirring, as it’s the perfect length for reaching the bottom of the Instant Pot. That’s it!

How to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

This stew is not difficult to make, but it does require a few extra steps to ensure everything is cooked to perfection. It drives me nuts when I make a soup and the meat turns out too tough/chewy while the vegetables are so soft they’re falling apart, so I made sure that didn’t happen with this stew. To achieve the perfect tenderness for both the beef and the vegetables, we actually pressure cook the stew twice. The first time, it’s just for the beef, while the second time is for the vegetables and quinoa. It sounds fussy, but I promise it doesn’t take any extra time than if we were to make this on the stove!

You’ll begin by trimming the beef of any fat or cartilage, then cut down any very large pieces. The stew meat should come already cubed, but sometimes there are a few wild pieces that need to be cut in half. Aim for approximately 1-inch pieces of beef.

Once the beef is trimmed, we’ll work in batches to sear it on all sides using the Sauté feature on the Instant Pot. Working in batches is key to ensure our meat gets browned and crispy. If we tried to sear all of the beef at once, the pan would be overcrowded and no browning would occur. Remember: browning= flavor.

Once we’ve seared the beef, we’ll add all of the thinly sliced onions and shallots, garlic, and a little red wine to deglaze the Pot. It’s very important to scrape up all of the caramelized bits that stuck to the Pot as we seared the beef, as those provide amazing flavor in our stew. Once the onions and garlic have absorbed much of the wine and are becoming tender, we’ll transfer them to a plate and return the beef to the Pot.

Next, add a splash of beef broth and start the first round of pressure cooking. The first round takes about 35 minutes start-to-finish, including time for the Pot to pressurize, cook, and then release the pressure. While the beef cooks for the first round, we can prepare the carrots, herbs, and quinoa.

You’ll want to cut the carrots into uniform pieces, each about 1/2 inch thick. Gather your fresh herb sprigs, rinse your quinoa, and maybe even have a glass of wine while you wait.

Once the beef is finished the first round of pressure cooking, we’ll go ahead and add the par-cooked onions and garlic, quinoa, carrots, fresh herbs, and remaining beef broth to the Pot. Close the lid again, and pressure cook the entire stew one final time. We’ll only be cooking it for 2 minutes, however this second round of cooking takes more like 15 minutes start-to-finish, including time for the Pot to pressurize again, cook, and then release the remaining pressure.

Once the stew has finished cooking, taste it for salt and pepper, then season accordingly. Turn your oven to Broil and ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks. At this point, you can top the soup however you see fit. I love to use a piece of toast and freshly shredded goat’s milk cheddar cheese, while Jeff prefers to top his with salad croutons. Alternatively, this stew is excellent served over mashed potatoes, or eaten as-is. You can absolutely customize it and have a delicious meal!

Looking for other soup recipes?

Try these from The Ardent Cook!

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

1 tbsp avocado oil

1.5 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup red wine

One 32oz container beef broth, divided

1 cup water

2 tbsp Tomato paste

3 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Toast or croutons, for serving

Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for serving

Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Trim beef of any fat or cartilage and ensure there are no excessively large pieces. Each cube should be roughly 1-inch in size. Season the beef on all sides with salt and black pepper. Turn Instant Pot to “Sauté” and sear the beef, working in batches to avoid crowding the pot. 
  2. Once all the beef has been seared on both sides, remove it from the pot and add the onions. Stir to coat in the beef drippings and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions begin to take on some color. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Stir in the red wine to deglaze the Instant Pot. The onions and garlic will soak up some of the wine and start to become tender. Cook for 2-3 minutes until most of the wine has been absorbed by the onions or evaporated, then transfer the mixture to a bowl. 
  4. Add the beef back into the Instant Pot along with ¼ cup beef broth. Close the lid and ensure the vent is in the “Sealing” position. Turn the Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” and then “High Pressure.” Set the timer for 20 minutes and let it go. Once the time is up, let the Pot naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then carefully quick-release the remaining steam by opening the vent. 
  5. To the Pot with the cooked beef, add the water, par-cooked onions, quinoa, carrots, herbs, tomato paste, and remaining beef broth. Return the lid to the Pot and follow the same process as above to pressurize the Pot, this time setting the timer for 2 minutes. Let the soup pressure cook once more, allowing for 5 minutes of natural release once the time is up. After 5 minutes, quick-release the steam and safely take the lid off. 
  6. Turn your oven to broil and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks and top with a piece of toast or handful of croutons, followed by the shredded cheddar. Place the filled crocks onto the lined baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy hot!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

Man oh man, this meal is an absolute stunner. A while back during pandemic grocery-scarcity scares, we ordered a grass-fed, pastured meat and poultry box from one of my favorite online retailers and got two free filet mignons in the package. I had been saving them for something special, until I realized that 2020 was a complete sh*t storm and I could make filet mignon on a weeknight and call it a special occasion. Paired with an earthy (not to mention low-carb) puree of white turnips and cauliflower, these steaks are filled with flavor and take just minutes to cook to a perfect medium rare. Go ahead and bookmark this recipe for your next date night in, or just a random Thursday- who really cares anymore!

Ingredients needed to make Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

It goes without saying that you need a couple filets to make this recipe. If you wanted to use a different cut of steak, you certainly could, using the same cooking method described in this recipe and adjusting the time based on the weight of the meat. I will say that the tender, almost-buttery nature of the filet pairs so well with the turnip cauliflower purée that I’d highly recommend you splurge on the filet, but any steak will still taste great. Here’s the full list:

  • Olive oil
  • Filet mignon
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Cauliflower
  • White (Hakurei) turnips
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Red wine
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

You don’t need a whole lot of equipment to make this dish, as most of the work is done in your cast iron skillet. The purée comes together best in a food processor or high-speed blender, but it can certainly be done using a hand-masher in a pinch (and with a little extra effort). Other than those two items, you’ll also need a large pot to steam the cauliflower, a sharp chef’s knife, a meat thermometer, a stirring utensil, paper towels, measuring cups and spoons, and a large cutting board. It’s a pretty straight-forward list, and hopefully you have most of the equipment stocked in your kitchen! If not, I’ve provided links to some of the items I use above.

How to make Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

I absolutely love teaching people how to make steak, because more often then not they realize just how easy it is. I used to fret constantly about making any kind of meat besides chicken, and for no good reason. Once I got a meat thermometer, it totally changed the game for me. I stopped worrying about the time and learned to cook to the feel and temperature. Curious what I mean by that? I’ll give you a brief explanation here… if you want to go really in-depth, I’d recommend signing up for one of my private Zoom cooking courses where I can really take time to answer your individual questions and we can make this dish together in real time. Shoot me an email at ‘theardentcookblog@gmail.com’ if that sounds like something you’re interested in (hint: a Zoom cooking class makes a wonderful gift!).

Now back to the steak. When I say, “cook to the feel,” I mean literally TOUCH YOUR MEAT. I’m not asking you to give it a massage, but don’t be afraid to poke it with a clean finger. Getting a lot of resistance? It’s probably done, or overdone. Still tender? It could probably use more time. As you continue to do this, you’ll start to get a calibration for how the meat you enjoy feels. When I say, “cook to the temperature,” that means exactly what it says. Don’t just use your meat thermometer, but rely on it. I will check my meat numerous times throughout the process of cooking, and not just at the end of cooking! For example, taking the temperature of the meat when you know it’s NOT done serves as an excellent benchmark to help you guess how much longer it needs. I like to take the temperature of my steaks after they are seared but before they go into the oven as a way to gauge how long to leave them in the oven for. This probably sounds overwhelming, but think of it like a tire gauge! You probably check your tires halfway through filling them with air so you know how far you have left to go, right? Same concept here.

Now back to how we actually make this dish. It’s pretty simple. You’ll begin by steaming your cauliflower florets and turnips until fork tender. Drain them completely, then set them aside so you can pay full attention to your steaks, because they cook quickly. You’ll sear the steaks for a few minutes per side over medium-high heat in your oven-safe skillet, then transfer them immediately to the preheated oven. Set your timer, but don’t be afraid to air on the side of caution. You can always add time, but you can’t take it away, and nothing is worse than an overcooked steak.

Once the steaks are done, take them out of the oven and let them REST. Rest is so important to ensure that all of those flavorful juices you cultivated during the cooking process recirculate into the meat and keep it moist. If you cut into it too soon, those precious juices will grace your cutting board rather than your taste buds.

While the steaks rest, you’ll make your turnip cauliflower purée and red wine pan sauce. Add all of the ingredients for the purée to your food processor and blend until no lumps remain, then transfer to a serving bowl. Return the skillet you cooked the steaks in to the stove (leave the steaks to rest on the cutting board) and heat it over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up all of the bits from the bottom of the skillet, and allow it to reduce by half. Once it’s reduced, add the final tablespoon of butter and whisk until combined.

To serve, scoop the purée onto each plate and top with the steak (sliced against the grain). Drizzle all over with the red wine pan sauce and enjoy immediately!

Looking for more date-night-in recipes from The Ardent Cook?

Give these other delicious dishes a try!

Favorite Roast Chicken

Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

Recipe Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 (5oz) filet mignons

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 medium head cauliflower

1lb white (Hakurei) turnips

3 tbsp butter, divided

2 tbsp sour cream

¼ cup red wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot with 1-2 inches of water to a boil. Cut the cauliflower into florets and quarter or halve the turnips, depending on their size. Steam the vegetables until fork tender, approximately 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet (or other oven-safe pan) over medium-high heat on the stove. 
  3. Pat the filets dry with a paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. When the oil is hot, sear the steaks without disturbing for 2 minutes each side. Transfer to the oven and continue to cook for 2-4 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (for medium rare). You may continue to cook the steak in the oven if a higher internal temperature is desired. 
  4. Remove the filets from the oven and allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes on a cutting board. While the steaks rest, make the puree. Combine the steamed cauliflower and turnips along with 2 tablespoons of the butter, sour cream, and pinch each of salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until few lumps remain and the mixture is mostly smooth.  
  5. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Use caution and remember that the handle will be hot, as it was just in the oven! Add the wine and stir, scraping up the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced by half, then whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter. 
  6. Spoon the turnip cauliflower puree onto a plate. Slice the steak, against the grain, and plate on top of the mash. Spoon over the red wine reduction and finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Enjoy immediately!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls

Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls were inspired by a seasonal salsa I picked up at Trader Joe’s this past week. I wanted to create the feeling of a Tex-Mex-style bowl but with flavors of fall. This salsa was the PERFECT addition. Featuring cast-iron sirloin steak, crispy spicy broccoli, goat cheese, and pepitas, these bowls are healthy, filling, and remind you of crisp weather.

Ingredients needed to make Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls

To make Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls, you’ll need the following:

Tools used to make Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls

These bowls couldn’t be easier to whip up, making them perfect for a wholesome weeknight dinner. The only special piece of equipment needed is an oven-safe skillet. I prefer to use my cast-iron for the best sear, but any oven-safe pan will work. Here’s the one I use most frequently. In addition to a great skillet, you’ll need the following kitchen tools:

How to make Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls

I love these bowls because of how quickly they come together. The hardest part is cooking the rice, which is where you’ll want to start, as it takes the longest. After the rice gets going, you’ll season the broccoli with cumin, garlic, and cayenne, then roast them for 15-20 minutes until crispy. The steak takes no time at all, and gets seared on the stovetop for a couple minutes each side, then finished in the oven with the broccoli.

As for the assembly of the bowls, simply arrange the broccoli and sliced steak over the rice, crumble the goat cheese, drizzle the salsa over, and finish with pepitas! It’s so simple and makes enough to serve four. I’m typically only feeding Jeff and myself, so I love saving the other two bowls for a meal prepped lunch for the next day. It’s so delicious!

Looking for other hearty bowls?

Give these recipes a try from The Ardent Cook archives!

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Bowls with Blue Cheese Celery Slaw

Ponzu Greens and Grains Bowl

Red Curry Pulled Chicken with Turmeric-Lime Rice

Recipe Ingredients

1 ½ cups white rice (dry)

3 cups broccoli florets (from 1 large head)

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp salt, plus more for seasoning steak 

One 1-1 ½ lb sirloin steak

½ cup roasted, salted pepitas

2oz goat cheese, crumbled 

1 cup Trader Joe’s Fall Harvest Salsa

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium pot with a lid, combine 1.5 cups white rice with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir, and cover the rice. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
  2. While the rice cooks, roast the broccoli. Spread broccoli into an even layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season with the cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt. Roast for 15 minutes until the broccoli is tender and florets are beginning to brown and crisp.
  3. Heat a cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet over medium heat on the stovetop. Season the steak on all sides with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and swirl in the pan. Add the steak. Cook for 2 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer pan to the oven and let the steak finish cooking for another 7-9 minutes until it reaches medium. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the steak should read between 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Let steak rest on a plate for at least 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain.
  5. Assemble the bowls. Spoon rice into the bottom of each bowl and divide the broccoli between them. Add a few pieces of sliced steak to each bowl, then top with crumbled goat cheese. Spoon 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s Fall Harvest Salsa over each bowl, and top with pepitas. Serve bowls immediately, or store in air-tight containers for up to 4 days in the fridge for easy prepped meals! Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Mediterranean Grilled Strip Steak

Hi guys! Happy weekend. As I shared on my stories today, I’m going on a bit of a theme with my recipes over the next few days. With the chaos that is summer, it’s hard to keep fresh food in the fridge and actually eat it between weekend travel, going out with friends, etc. That’s why I love making a giant batch of proteins, side dishes, and starches that all have similar flavor profiles to eat at the start of the week and “building my plate” each day based on what I’m craving.

One of my favorite proteins that fits the Mediterranean bill is a delicious grilled strip steak with a simple earthy marinade. The steak cooks up within minutes, making it perfect for meal-prepping.

The marinade is pretty simple, but it does include a few Mediterranean spices such as cumin, paprika, and turmeric which help you achieve that true “Mediterranean” flavor profile. The marinade can be made ahead of time and poured over the steak to sit while you prep the rest of your dinner.

Make sure you let this steak rest completely before slicing into it. Strip steak is a lean cut of meat, and slicing it too early will cause it to lose those precious juices and become tough. When you’ve let it rest completely, don’t forget to slice against the grain, which also helps keep your steak tender.

I hope you love this summer staple, and share your photos by tagging me @theardentcook on Instagram!


2 New York strip steaks, approximately 12-16oz each

Juice of ½ lemon

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

1 sprig each rosemary and parsley

¼ tsp cumin

⅛ tsp red chili flakes

⅛ tsp smoked paprika

⅛ tsp salt

Dash each ground ginger, turmeric, black pepper


  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a large bowl or bag, mixing well. Add steak and coat in the marinade. Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. 
  2. Preheat your grill to high and cook steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (medium), approximately 3-4 minutes on the first side, and 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. 
  3. Slice the steak against the grain and finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt over the top. Pair with grilled veggies for an easy clean-up, or alongside your favorite starch, such as couscous or herbed potatoes. Enjoy!

Carne Asada with Street Corn Salsa

This recipe for Carne Asada is so versatile, feeds a crowd, and is just downright delicious. I love to serve it stuffed inside tacos, over rice, or as a topping for nachos. The street corn salsa add a fresh, creamy component to the rich meat and the combo is truly awesome.

The beef starts with a simple marinade that is slightly non-traditional (as is everything else I do), and I’ve provided instructions for either a slow oven braise or a quick sear on the grill. The oven braise takes about 3 hours and give you tender, shreddable meat, while the grill version is smokier, charred, and sliceable. Either method is delicious, it just depends what you’re looking for!

I hope you experiment with this recipe to find which cooking method you like better. If you make this recipe, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram! I love seeing what you guys are up to!

For the Carne Asada


3lb flank steak 

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 1 lime

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp chipotle chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp ground coriander 

½ tsp salt 

Optional garnish (see recipe instructions)

Instructions for Oven

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the steak in a large dutch oven with a lid (or deep roasting pan that can be covered with foil) and whisk together.
  3. Add steak and cover. Roast for 1 hour.
  4. Remove steak from the oven and give it a toss in the liquid. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and return to the oven for an additional 1.5-2 hours. The steak is done when it is falling apart and easily shreds without much force applied.
  5. Serve alongside tortillas, fresh lime wedges, sliced jalapeño, cilantro, white onion, and my Street Corn Salsa for a delicious taco dinner! Enjoy

Instructions for Grill

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bag. Marinate steak for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat. Sear steak on one side for 5 minutes. Flip, and cook an additional 2 minutes for medium-rare. Cook longer for meat that is more well-done.
  3. Let steak rest for 15 minutes. After resting, thinly slice steak on a bias, against the grain.
  4. Serve alongside tortillas, fresh lime wedges, sliced jalapeño, cilantro, white onion, and my Street Corn Salsa for a delicious taco dinner! Enjoy!

For the Street Corn Salsa


1 ½ cups corn, off the cob

⅛ cup cilantro, finely chopped

¼ tsp chipotle chili powder

⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

¼-½ cup sour cream, depending on desired consistency

Juice of ½ lime

1/4 cup cotija or queso fresco

Salt, to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. For a thicker consistency, use closer to 1/2 cup sour cream. Fold ingredients to combine and taste for salt. Serve and enjoy!