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Even as you Ease Up on the Animal for weight loss and health, this gorgeous and delicious dish will satisfy your inner carnivore without a beastly calorie count: Sherry Balsamic Steak Over Grilled  Escarole, Mushrooms and Tomatoes with Feta and Olives.

It’s a dinner that can be made almost as easily for 2 as 12…With few ingredients and all the cooking done on the grill, it’s ready to plate in just 30 minutes!  (For those in city apartments, it’s just as tasty made on a grill pan…details on that, later.)

And, most importantly, for weight loss or maintenance–and your general health and happiness–each full plate of this satisfying dinner hovers around just 300 calories!

The secret is the combination of ingredients…each one playing a crucial role in satisfying your hunger and nutritional needs while hitting all of your taste buttons!

And once you know The Skinny on why these ingredients work, you’ll find lots of ways to work them into your other dishes!

The Beef: Rather than using steaks from factory farmed cattle, which are fed on corn and other grains (and God only knows what else), use 100% Grass Fed beef ! It will cost a few dollars more a pound, but will save you calories, cholesterol and fat. And the taste? So much better! You’ll know you’re eating real steak and, with all the other tasty things in this dish, 4 ounces of meat–the most your body can effectively digest in one meal– will be enough.

The Mushrooms: Portobellos are big and easy to grill and slice up like meat…but any variety will work. Mushrooms have the same Umami quality found in meat and, studies prove, they’re all magic for weight loss.

The Vinegar: Every time you choose to use real vinegar and a wee bit of oil (instead of bottled salad dressing), you are helping your body lose weight.. with the Acetic Acid in vinegar lowering your post-meal blood sugar levels by as much as 30 percent! (Remember, keeping your blood sugar on an even keel is key for losing and maintaining weight.)

The Greens: Escarole–a less bitter relative of radicchio–adds virtually no calories to your plate but does add antioxidants and other vitamins as well as weight-loss boosting fiber, which helps you stay full longer.  (And, according to Shape Magazine, may help you look better in a bikini…)  And, cooked on the grill, it takes on a smoky taste that works great with meat.

The Tomatoes: Raw tomatoes are high in fiber and the antioxidant Vitamin C, but cooking tomatoes boosts their health benefits even further...increasing the cancer and cholesterol fighting lycopene of the fruit.

The Cheese:  When you’re craving cheese but watching your weight, Feta is a great choice.  Made from sheep and goat milk, it has fewer calories and fat than other cheese (around 25 calories a tablespoon), yet still delivers 4 grams of protein per ounce.

The Olives: Olives pack a punch of salty flavor and the meaty Umami quality for just about 25 calories a tablespoon..and provide you with heart healthy monounsaturated fats. But the real magic of olives is found in thier fat burning Adiponectin which actually boosts your metabolism. (Don’t used canned olives, their taste and texture won’t compare to jarred or dry packed or, better still,  the type you pick up at the olive bar of a fresh market like Whole Foods.)

The Other: Here, I’ve used locally grown asparagus to fill out this buffet dinner…but if zucchini, fiddlehead ferns, eggplant, or any other summer produce are running fresh in your area, run with them!


This recipe serves 4, but is easily divided or multiplied.

1 pound grass fed sirloin or strip steak (Cook it whole, but slice thin for serving.)

4 large (or 8 smaller) portobello mushrooms

2 large heads fresh escarole

1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes

1/4 c crumbled Feta cheese

1/4 c pitted and sliced olives (black or green or a combination)

1/4 c good balsamic vinegar

1/4 c sherry (I use Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry…grocery store cooking sherry is just not as flavorful..and balsamic, alone, is a bit too sweet.)

2 T fresh garlic, pressed or minced (I think using a garlic press is easier and works better for marinades and dressings as it really extracts the tasty juice from the garlic.)

1 t olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the Balsamic, Sherry and Garlic dressing and let sit while you fire up the grill to pre-heat on high for 15 minutes, lid closed.

Use a dry paper towel to dust off any growing medium from the mushrooms. (No need to rinse in water.)

Rub the 1 t of oil over the tops of the mushrooms, flip over and drizzle the vinegar/sherry dressing over the gill (upside down) side of mushrooms…gently massaging garlic bits into the gills.

Drizzle the remaining bit of dressing over both sides of your steak…using your hands to (more aggressively) massage the garlic into the meat.

(I don’t recommend leaving the vinegar/sherry on the meat for more than 15 minutes…you want to add a bit of flavor but don’t want to lose the taste of the great meat you’re using!)

Wash your escarole well…

Pull the leaves off of the base to make sure you rinse off any dirt and sprinkle the damp greens and the meat and mushrooms with salt and pepper.

(Rinse your tomatoes, too…even if they’re organic, they need to be rinsed.)

When your grill is ready, toss on the steak and immediately turn the fire down to medium or medium-low.

(Grass fed beef has less fat..by preheating your grill on high, you’ll get a good sear on one side…and can finish cooking on a lower temperature on the other side without comprising taste and texture.)

With the lid open, let it sizzle for a 2 or 3 minutes while you grab your mushrooms, escarole and tomatoes from the kitchen.

Toss on the mushrooms, gill side up, and let them cook with the steaks for a few minutes more.

(If using asparagus, now’s the time to toss it on as well.)

Using tongs, check the bottom of the steak, if it’s well marked and looking halfway done, flip it.

Now, check the bottom of the mushrooms…

Once they’re well marked and are filling up with juice on the gill side, use your tongs to lift and pour the mushroom juices over the steak before you flip them over to cook on the gill side.

(That juice from the cooked mushrooms and garlic/dressing will only enhance your steak..why waste it!?)

When the meat seems done…(it should feel like the place between your thumb and forefinger when your hand is opened wide…) pull it from the fire and place on a platter next to the grill to rest ….

(Meat always needs 15 minutes to rest–which is very convenient since you need 15 minutes to do the rest..!)

Toss the escarole onto the grill and keep tossing as it shrinks…(and it will shrink down..a lot!)

As room is made on the grill, add the tomatoes and roll them around until slightly charred and almost bursting..

When everything is done, tuck the hot greens under the meat and mushrooms, scatter the tomatoes and asparagus around..

Sprinkle on the feta and olives onto and then saunter over to the buffet table…Slice the steak thinly and load each plate with a heap of the delicious cooked veg and 4 ounces of the sliced meat… Enjoy!


A  Non-Stick Grill Pan is a great thing, but you can’t do this the same way without ruining your pan… Vinegar, on the non-stick pan, will wreck it!

Instead, spray your non-stick grill pan well with oil before cooking your steak and veggies and, when everything is done, douse with the vinegar/sherry dressing on a plate, not in the pan.

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
This entry was posted in Fit For Kids, Low Meat Mains, Quickies, Skinny Salads, Skinny Sides and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Shari Davenport says:

    I love everything I have been able to read and apply on your site, however, I can not seem to get to the Skinny Strategies, etc. It just says page not available. Can I find it elsewhere? Thanks for your help. Shari

    • Lisa McRee says:

      Thanks, Shari! There seems to be something kooky going on with either the server or wordpress…hopefully they’ll fix it soon..Thanks for the heads up! lmc UPDATE: I think it’s all fixed, Shari! Thanks again! lmc

      • Vivian Baker says:

        We are having the same problem today. Still not fixed for us. We have tried iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro. We love your stuff. Thanks.
        Renee and Vivian

        • Lisa McRee says:

          Thanks, you two!! I just got off with tech guys…there were updates that weren’t talking to each other… It seems to be working now for me..is it for you?? xolmc

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