Aromatic Vegetables with Savory Flank Steak

Zucchini, eggplant, onions and bell peppers are in the summer spotlight at the farmers’ market. With so many of these vegetables available, we are always looking for new ways to use them.

The following recipe adapts the traditional ratatouille, and instead of tomatoes includes a delicious marinated flank steak. It’s a pleasant shift from the usual salad or plate of steamed broccoli to go with your dinnertime filet of salmon or other meat. The zucchini and eggplant comes out of the skillet slightly wilted but chunky, its flavors and herbs full of the marinade and juices from the beef.

To make this simple Primal recipe you’ll need:


6-12 oz. organic farm-raised flank steak, sliced as desired (I cut it into 2-inch bite-sized pieces)
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari sauce
½ teaspoon cumin
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large fresh eggplant, cut across into ¾ inch slices
Fresh zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into half moons
½ white onion, thinly sliced
1 large purple bell pepper
1 large red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Fresh rosemary


Preheat oven to about 400 F. Spray a baking sheet with oil.

In a small bowl, mix cumin with wheat-free tamari. Slice steak into 1-2 inch cubes and toss into bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside about 30 minutes.

Brush each side of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place them on the baking sheet. Bake each side of the eggplant for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Keep separate.

While eggplant bakes, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet or Dutch oven. Add onion and thyme leaves, cooking for about 3 minutes, or until onion is shiny and no longer firm. Add zucchini and cook until fork pushes through easily, about 10 minutes. Lower heat and add bay leaf, tomatoes, peppers and garlic, giving it all a nice stir. Cover and simmer, about 10 minutes.

Slice the eggplant pieces in half. Lightly sprinkle with salt and add to the skillet vegetable mixture, cooking for an additional 20 minutes, allowing all flavors to blend.

Near the end of the 20 minutes, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add steak and cook until just brown but still pink in the middle. Transfer steak in with the vegetables, turning the heat up again to medium.

Cook covered for 4-5 minutes maximum, until steak is cooked through. Serve warm with a glass of good red wine.

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289 thoughts on “Aromatic Vegetables with Savory Flank Steak”

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  1. The vegetable looks fabulous, a sort of ratatouille. I might have all the ingredients on hand to make it at home soon.

  2. i’ve seen tamari in many recipes lately but i have never come across it in stores. i guess the hunt is on.

  3. Zucchini is one of my favorites – I use it in omlettes all the time.

  4. Oh, man–makes me want to eat my veggies! And flank steak is a favorite of mine. Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Eggplant creeps me out. The fact that it’s a nightshade adds to its scary effect. *shudders*

  5. I love everything but the eggplant. It soaks up oil like a sponge, and my version of paleo/Zone a la CrossFit excludes olive oil – it goes rancid so easily, and the high-quality bottles are expensive, especially when it is just my husband and me. I do not think Grok had olive oil in his cave shelf.

  6. Thanks for this receipe! Kind of a one-dish meal and looks easy to prepare.

  7. I have the book already, but I will give my copy to my sister if I win! So many recipes, so little time 🙂

  8. Haha, I have to admit I never know what zucchini really was until I just looked for the Portuguese translation, which is the language spoken here at home… anyways, sounds good! Especially that steak… ummm!

  9. Looks delicious. I was mulling what to cook for dinner tonight so I naturally logged on to MDA. Problem solved! Will try this later this evening. Might try grilling the meat and veggies kabob-style though. Awesome recipe!

  10. Don’t forget with flank steak to slice thinly across the grain of the meat. This will make the meat less tough when chewing!

    Hope I get the book, as a poor graduate student in physiology I just can’t afford it! My primal lifestyle has come solely from this website!

  11. Those are all my favorite veggies, but I am trying to avoid all nightshades to see if it helps with my arthritis.

    I can just taste how delicious it is! 🙂

  12. I’m certainly gonna try this way. I love ratatouille.
    There are really a lot of delicious recipes on this site. Yum!

  13. Looks good, but how about a recipe to do this on a grill? Nothing says Primal like open flame. Don’t slice the steak, but marinade per recipe above. Don’t slice peppers. Slice eggplant, zukes and onion into rounds and lube with oil. Build the fire (or light the gas) and char the peppers over high heat. (Personally I’d roast some jalapenos or serranos to throw in too, but that’s just me.) Place in a paper bag to steam about 10 minutes and then remove skins and slice into strips. Sear steak all around. Lower fire (bank coals or turn down gas) and grill veg (grill basket might help here) and steak until done (I’m being deliberately vague here). Remove steak from heat and allow to rest 15 minutes or so. While steak rests, mix oil, garlic, thyme and minced rosemary and let sit. Slice steak and toss with veg and oil dressing in a large bowl (onion should separate into rings).

    Less clean up, doesn’t heat up the house, gets you outside in the sunlight, and, yeah, it’s got that primal flame!

  14. This sounds great! Flank steak has long been one of our favorite cuts of meat. I just started learning about Primal living a few days ago, so I’ll be looking for recipes like this one — similar to what we would have cooked before Primal — to ease us into the transition. Thank you!!

  15. Flank steak is one of the cheapest cuts out there and very easy to prepare

  16. I just found a local farmers market with all of the ingredients for the recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

    Also love the idea of a Primal cook book.

  17. Good one. I’ve been looking for nightshade free ways to get my veggies. I’d just drop the peppers etc and put in some summer squash.

  18. This looks wonderful! I have everything on hand except for the veggies, so I will go buy some at the organics store and try this out.

  19. Yum! We can’t do soy though, so I’m always on the lookout for a soy sauce replacement. I’ve heard basalmic vinegar & salt can sometimes work…

  20. @Geoff – As long as it’s hot out, we’re trying to keep the heat outside by not turning on the oven. Air conditioning is not only unPrimal, but expensive… So thanks for the open flame adaptation!

  21. another great recipe…

    I can’t believe how many people think eating whole foods is boring…

    fresh veggies and flank steak VS hamburger helper… decisions, decisions… NOT

  22. help! my zucchini are taking over my garden! my kitchen! my life!!! ahhhhh!!

  23. I’m gonna try this too! Great way to use all the zucchini and summer squash I have right now. Skipping the eggplant though. Yuck…never could acquire the taste.

  24. I’m a Big fan of Flank (med. rare) accompanied by a glass of Ravenswood Red Zin!!

  25. I’ve heard that the Liquid Aminos from Bragg are a good soy sauce sub. I bought some but haven’t tried it yet so I can’t offer a review.

  26. Looks great! The steak’s a bit overcooked for my taste, but to each his own 😉 I can see pork loin being a good sub here, as well.

  27. Wow, I’m all over this recipe. Is there a grill version for this and other recipes you’ve posted?

  28. Looks amazing! I have some eggplant leftover in the fridge. Hmmm…

    I wonder if this would work as well with chicken?

  29. I’m salivating 😛 It looks devine! Whoever cooks the foods in the pictures for MDA is a really great cook. Everything looks nice!!

  30. This sounds absolutely wonderful, and I just happen to have some fresh thyme on hand! Now, I just need the eggplant and zucchini! Shouldn’t be hard, ’tis the season.

  31. I’ve been reading your blog the last few weeks, really wanting to make more changes to my diet and life than I have. The couple times a week I do eat like crap, I feel like I cheated on somebody! This steak, could be the dinner that starts my new journey! Mmmmmmmm.

  32. “…with a glass of good red wine.” Now there is a suggestion I will certainly take! I already have some steak marinating, and I think it will go very nicely with these vegetables.

  33. My Dad used to make ratatouille with me a lot. This looks really good…don’t know why I didn’t try putting meat in it before!

  34. Thanks for consistently posting fab recipes. They really help a Primal neophyte like myself to make the transition more easily.

  35. Nothing to say other than ‘those veggies look awesome!’


  36. I totally beat you guys to this one! I had a delicious ratatouille (with both tomatoes and beef) for my birthday dinner. The seasonings I used were more Italian, though. It’s amazing how well the bay leaves complement basil and oregano.

  37. mmmmmmm i think i have all the necessar ingedients in my fridge right now. i’ll have to give it a try 🙂

  38. Looks like this will work just as well with the Grassfed Sirloin I got yesterday.

  39. This takes care of most of what comes out of my CSA box these days, thanks Mark.

  40. in my opinion, it’s always kind of tricky to find something that gets along with steak… you know, without overriding the steaks flavour or the steak killing the flavour of the sidedish vice versa. this one definitly looks like a nice idea, especially since i’m drowning in zucchini right now haha 😉

  41. The last time I had anything remotely like this was at a PF Changs… time to go unprocessed!

  42. off to the nearest farmer’s market for eggplant…I have everything else in the refrigerator. Thanks for the great recipes!

  43. Heard about your site/book on Looking forward to reading your book and trying some of these recipes.

  44. Looks good. After last weeks recipe i went and bought my first mangos ever. Have not tried with pork roast but have enjoyed in BAS.

  45. Perfect! I got tamari that I’ve never used for anything yet.

  46. god…eggplant. sorry person who is afraid of it…the meatiness and distinct smokiness of it’s flavor wins me over all the time! although i will concede that i have to peel it…something about it’s skin is almost human.

  47. even though i get a rash from touching the raw eggplant flesh, i LOVE to eat it! mmmmmmmmmm!

  48. Oh, I would dearly love to win that book.

    Did I just say that out loud?

  49. I don’t like flank steak much, it tastes a bit dry and tough.

    Maybe the one I had was badly prepared, though…

  50. Man, that looks so good it’s making me hungry! Good thing it’s lunchtime.

  51. What serendipity, I have a flank steak in the freezer and have been wondering what to do with it. I’ll have to try this recipe later in the week. I’ll even try the eggplant, which is something I don’t use in a lot of recipes.

  52. Looks like I just figured out what to have for dinner tonight. However, I also wanted to make the Moroccan chicken. Decisions decisions!

  53. Mmm, I’m already a big fan of basic ratatouille as a side dish. I thought this would make a great comfort meal (in a large amount), until you mentioned it as a side for filet of salmon or the like. Meat and a side of… meat? I love my veggies, too, so this is perfectly brilliant.

  54. Mark, there is an old saying about the difference between giving a man a fish and helping him to eat for a day versus teaching a man to fish and feeding him for life. Instead of merely handing us recipes perhaps you can do a post about how you get or create these recipes. What are your sources. Love your blog. Thank you for the daily contests

  55. Nice. I love having new primal recipes. I run out of ideas so quickly. This looks pretty straight forward and I’m always looking for new ways to cook veggies too. Thanks!

  56. Keep ’em coming…I’m waiting for the recipe book to hit the stands!?!?

  57. Just got put on to the whole primal lifestyle by guys at my gym. Looking forward to diving in and changing my life for the better. Thanks.

  58. I’m going to try this recipe. After I get back from the store today.

    1. Try salting it, then letting it sit for a while before cooking. Gets some of the bitterness out.

      And, of course, pair it with delicious seasonings and oil, since it, like zucchini, soaks up the flavours around it.

  59. I love ratatouille with meat added to it. Spicy sausage is especially good in it.

  60. Since starting this challenge, I’ve stopped eating like I’m on a feedlot and I’ve dropped 7 pounds…this recipe sounds great!

  61. If I decided to eat fiber again, it’d be something like this. Rare meat, well roasted veg to break down the cellulose and carmelize that subtle sweetness. Yum!

  62. I truly appreciate your work and website. We link to you on a regular basis.
    I might have missed it but is there any presentation of your “crew”. It would be fun to “meet” them also. Thank you!

  63. Mark,

    Is there a way to post your recipies without pictures? I really enjoy them, but hate print them out, causing the waste 4-5 pages from my printer. Great stuff!


  64. Other than the eggplant, this looks great. I’ll just make a primal-approved substitution.

  65. Eggplant is not my favorite but can go with something else. I’ve really been enjoying the contest posts.

  66. On my way to the store now…This should be a great dinner! Thank you for the inspiration!


  67. Great recipes this weekend…. I found Tamari, but not wheat free :(.

  68. Eggplant and bell peppers are nightshades, do you limit your intake of nightshades? I personally don’t seem to tolerate them very well.

  69. I love Zuchini. Eating it at least 2 times a week, at the moment. 🙂

  70. Perfect timing since I literally just watched the movie “Ratatouille” (which I loved) and kept thinking “hmmmm…I need to try that”. I’m not a big fan of eggplant, but zucchini and I are BFFs!

  71. Looks yummy. I often uses these vegetables – of course in the UK we call them courgette and aubergine (like our French neighbours). Glad to see cumin is in there – that’s an absolute staple for me and is pretty much my favourite spice. If I make something savoury, chances are there’s cumin in it.

  72. I always need more zucchini recipes! That looks so good I think my sorta dragging-his-feet-over-giving-up-his-carbs hubby will be convinced:)

  73. Man I get more paleo as the days pass, I want the steak, you can keep the vegetables!

  74. What I love about the diet in a Primal lifestyle is that you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. I don’t miss bread or potatoes at all if I’ve got a nice piece of meat to chew on.

  75. Looks amazing! Now, if I can just get past my aversion to eggplant… (Maybe a book would help?) *LOL*

  76. Looks great have to try it out soon! Also wanted to let everyone here at mda know that I have finally started my own blog about my nutrition and crossfit lifestyle. If you want to check it out that would be great …

  77. I’ve got all the ingredients. Too bad I already seasoned the steak for fajitas. Next time.

  78. Flank steak on the grill is my go to primal dish for guests…I’ve gotten 5 or 6 serious carb addicts to consider a lifestyle change after demonstrating the PRIMAL POWER!

  79. Mark, I’d follow you anywhere, but even my grandmother couldn’t get me to eat eggplant!

  80. I love eggplant and ratatouille, so I’ll give this a try. But maybe not tonight. We’re doing the pork tenderloin w/ mango salsa.

  81. I’d love to have a copy of your book, it’s a lot easier to lend to people than sending them to a website!

  82. Meat and vegetables. I just don’t need much more than that. Yummmmmm

  83. Purple bell pepper? Interesting 🙂

    I’ll have to try this one with extra zucchini and no eggplant… I can’t seem to acquire that taste.

  84. I just came from NYC. I did pretty good maintaining a primal lifestyle. Walking everywhere. I even went to central park to climb trees. I’m now inspired to make some egg plant pizza, or squash spaghetti.

  85. Looks really good, but why cook the meat “through”. Looks like primal would be at least half-raw 🙂

  86. Hey Mark, thanks again for the website and recipies like these. I am a celiac and new recipies can be hard to come by…. Thanks again Mark for all you do

  87. I used a cast iron pan on the grill to caramalize the veggies. Also, try it with a balsamic vinagrette before tossing ’em into the pan on the grill. It was really good.

  88. Looks good, although I find it hard to come up with new low-carb / primal vegetable recipes being a fan of neither eggplant or zucchini :-/ I think if I were sticking to the low-sodium requirements I’d be totally up the creek. Oyster sauce is great on bland vegies for flavour 🙂

  89. Mmmmm – looks yummy! And love your blog! Thanks for all the healthy, tasty recipes and suggestions.

  90. This might be the recipe that finally gets me to try eggplant. If not, I’ll substitute something I like (portobello mushroom maybe?).

  91. I’ve got a book but I let a friend borrow it and I haven’t gotten it back. 🙁

  92. This looks pretty good. I’ve recently converted back to my primal roots and have started eating meat again after 15 years…recipes like this are helping to make it easier. Thank you.

  93. look forward to reading your book and trying this recipe. Thanks for posting

  94. I have all the vegetables, thanks to my parent’s garden. I am unfamiliar with tamari sauce. Does anyone have any additional information regarding it?

  95. Not a big fan of eggplant, personally. Or aubergine, for that matter. (Yes, I know they are the same thing…)


  97. With all the fresh zucchini we have, I can not wait to try this recipe.

  98. fasting until tomorrow. I need to stop reading these good lookin’ posts : )

  99. I was just talking to my mom about this and she wants to read the book when I’m done with it. If I win another, I will give it to her :^)


  100. this looks yummy. i tried the crab cakes last week, i’ll try this this week!

  101. Thanks for the recipe! My family became fans of eggplant last year and we had 2 plants in our garden and lots of ratatouille. This year we’ve upped the number of plants to 6 – always happy for new and healthy recipes!

  102. I’m having my vegetables tonight cooked inside of a meatloaf, with grass fed beef (of course), carrots, celery, and onions. I even snuck in a 1/2 pound of beef heart from a grass-fed cow. Using Sally Fallon’s excellent recipe in Nourishing Traditions.

  103. Why flank steak? Use skirt instead…it had more fat and flavor. Can I have a book now?

  104. That sounds yummalicious! But why leave out the tomatoes? A handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, tossed in right before the veggies are done…. yummaliciouser!

  105. Sounds pretty good…but I’m not a fan of peppers, so I’d leave them out.

  106. This is great since I’m always looking for new re ipes for my copious amounts of zucchini!

  107. I’ll to bookmark this as another winner to try out. I love the pictures, it really sells me on how awesome it is gonna be. Now only if mine would look like that!

  108. It’s cooking as we speak, smells delicious! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  109. Hard to believe it, I’m 35 years old and I’ve never actually tried eggplant. This looks good, I might have to give it a try!

  110. Never tried tamari – now it’s on the list! But I’d point out that marinades can be smaller and less messy if you use a plastic bag – when you are done you just toss the bag, and since you can remove all the air your meat gets better coverage in the marinade. Just an idea.

  111. Eggplant is a tough one for me, I’ve never cooked with it, I have mild eggplant phobia! I’ll just use more corgettes!

  112. I actually like eggplant but the steak in the picture looks a bit rare for my taste…more Primal, I guess! 🙂

  113. Has anyone here heard about sprinkling eggplant slices with salt and leaving them to drain for an hour prior to cooking? I seem to recall that it’s supposed to rid them of bitter juices, but I don’t have alot of experience with eggplant.

  114. Flank steaks are one of my favorites. I already have a book but I’d be more than happy to give a copy away!


  115. Yummy! Flank steak is my favorite. Should be getting our 1/2 of an organic grass fed cow pretty soon.

  116. I’ve been looking for a good eggplant and zucchini recipe, I am excited to try this one. Thanks!

  117. mmm, this looks good, and dam did this site blow up or what?

  118. Is wheat-free soy sauce really necessary? Doesn’t that just mean it’s more processed than traditional soy sauce?

    1. Actually, the wheat is just a filler, to save money and spread the soy sauce out. Traditional soy sauce shouldn’t have wheat in it at all.

  119. Sorry if repeating anyone else, but I think Tamari is the “true” fermented soy sauce, so try looking in Asian / Oriental shops.

    And to stop the eggplant soaking up aaaall the oil, you can bake it first either whole or in slices to dry it out a bit. Have to admit I’m not a major eggplant fan but I’m sure no-one would notice if I “forgot” to add it…!
    Pebbles – salting is supposed to draw out bitter juices but apparently modern varieties aren’t so bitter anyway? So probably not needed. Maybe.

  120. I’m just getting into beef (the smell use to repulse me). I bought a brillinat cut from a farmers market, so cant wait to get into it!

    -Grok On!

  121. mmm Ratatouille. Maybe I should try mixing some Kangaroo meat with it. Red meat looks good with that combination.

  122. Sounds delicious and all, but I prefer the taste of raw vegetables, cooked ones are blasphemy to me.

  123. I wonder how good this would taste without the eggplant or onion? I’m not a fan of either…it does look really good though!

  124. That meal looks fantastic! Zucchini is my favorite in any dish!

    I love this primal challenge, nothing makes me feel better than eating real foods.

  125. A nice steak with vegetables? Sounds great to me! Keep the recipes coming. Would regular soy sauce be an appropriate substitute for tamari sauce?

    1. Soy sauce generally contains wheat and, well, soy. Neither of those are particularly primal. On the other hand, remember the 80/20 rule, right? Just don’t go nuts with it. 🙂

  126. Excellent! I’m turning on the BBQ tonight with a grassfed ribeye and a radish salad. Fat left on. Yum.

  127. Flank steak used to be really cheap, but not anymore. Anyway, I’ll have to try this recipe.

  128. This looks great. I’ve never seen tamari, wheat-free or otherwise, so I guess finding that will be my next mission.

  129. only time I ever liked eggplant was in a very small cafe in Ballard (Seattle) where the chef used very thin slices as the noodles for manicotti. Now I just make baba ganoush and dip celery, carrots, radishes. We have a CSA this summer. the farmer really likes eggplant. Guess I’ll be finding out if baba ganoush freezes well.

  130. The directions for this dish call for tomatoes to be added along with the bay leaf, peppers and garlic. No tomatoes are mentioned in the ingredients list however. I’m wondering what type and amount of tomatoes to use? Also, are any liquids added at the same time, so there is something for the veggie mix to simmer in? I’m wondering if it’s perhaps a can of diced tomatoes in water?