Ordinary flank steak dinner for two is turned into “WOW” when topped with mango salsa and a hearty farro salad. Enjoy leftover steak, salsa and farro on a green leaf salad …that is if you have any extras!
What’s in this Flank Steak with Mango Farro Salad For Two?
We love great grilled beef, and flank steak just screams flavor when seasoned properly and cooked at high heat to create a flavorful crust. During the week I don’t have the time or energy to plan meat to marinade or season for hours. So, the experimenting began – how can I make a flank steak dinner for two that is fast and easy but is tender and packs a flavorful punch
I looked around for inspiration online, and I stumbled upon a weeknight flank steak recipe by Cook’s Country. Instead of marinating we will season the meat with cumin, salt and pepper.
While preparing the steak, I make the fruity, fresh mango salsa and cook the farro. Makes for a quick weeknight supper.
Here are the ingredients to add to your shopping list:
- Whole farro – It has recently grown in popularity. Not only does it taste great — it’s also good for your health. It’s packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Note: If you are looking for a gluten-free substitute, brown rice will make a good replacement in this recipe.
- Flank steak – This lean, very flavorful, inexpensive cut of meat is located below the loin. To create a flavor crust season while preparing the Farro and cook over a high heat. See the tips and tricks section for cooking and slicing flank steak.
- Cumin, salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil – these are the 4 ingredients we will use to season the flank steak.
- Mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice – will be combined to make the salsa. We will reserve ¼ cup of the salsa to toss with the farro. See below for how to peel a mango.
Cooking Flank Steak
Because flank steak is lean, it can become dry and chewy if overcooked. So go for rare to medium-rare. And because flank steak is relatively thin, it’s best to cook it over relatively high heat—so it can develop a flavorful crust on the outside before it’s overcooked on the inside.
Flank steak will do best with quick, high-heat cooking methods like grilling, broiling, and pan-searing. I prefer grilling for the easy clean-up, but you can pan-sear flank steak, that will absolutely work.
Another trick to getting a good crust—pat your flank steak dry before cooking.
Can you cook a frozen flank steak? I do not recommend cooking frozen thinner steaks like skirt or flank, because their interiors can overcook before the exteriors are well-browned.
Slice cross grain, for a more tender cut. That grain is long muscle fibers that can be stringy and a bit chewy. If, however, you slice your flank steak across the grain, at a 90° angle to those fibers, or width-wise—you’ll be essentially breaking down those long muscle fibers, resulting in a more tender eating experience.
Of course, before you do any slicing, you want to let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes. This helps the meat stay juicy, even after it’s cut.
You need about ⅓ pound of meat per serving.
Do I Need To Marinate My Flank Steak?
It is common to marinate flank steak, born from its perceived toughness (which is the chewiness of the muscle fibers if they’re not sliced right). The truth is, a marinade doesn’t really penetrate much beyond the surface of the meat so it doesn’t really tenderize. The flavor comes from the seasoning and cooking over a high heat to creating a flavorful crust. (Here’s a good article about that from Cook’s Illustrated.)
How to Peel a Mango for Mango Salsa
- First slice the mango. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of the mango so it will sit flat on the counter. This will help it from sliding around when slicing the mango in half. You will want to slice along each side of the pit to remove the flesh.
- Now Score. Using a knife, slice the mango flesh in a cross-hatch pattern, taking care not to cut through the skin of the fruit.
- Use a spoon. Hold the scored fruit in your non-knife cutting hand. Spoon the flesh from the skin. That’s it - Your mango meat is ready to use!
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Flank Steak with Mango Farro Salad for Two
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- 1 cup whole farro
- 1 teaspoons table salt divided, plus salt for cooking farro
- ⅔ pound flank steak trimmed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon pepper divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided, plus extra for drizzling
- ½ mango peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
- ½ red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoons lime juice
- Bring 1 quart water to boil in medium saucepan. Add farro and ½ tablespoon salt. When the water returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until farro is tender with slight chew, about 20 minutes. Drain farro well.
- Meanwhile, pat steaks dry with paper towels to aid in achieving a flavorful crust. Sprinkle the steaks with cumin, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt.
- If Pan-Searing Steaks: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. This is important so it can develop a flavorful crust on the outside before it’s overcooked on the inside.Cook steaks until well browned and meat registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- If Grilling Steaks: Turn all burners on gas grill to high, close lid, and heat grill until hot, 10 to 15 minutes. Grill steak covered for 4 to 6 minutes on first side and 3 to 5 minutes on second side. Transfer meat to cutting board; cover loosely with foil, and let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine mango, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Measure out ¼ cup salsa to garnish the steaks. Gently toss remaining salsa with farro in a serving bowl. Slice steaks against grain on bias. Serve steaks with farro mango salad, garnish with reserved salsa and drizzle with extra oil.
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