Recipe: Carne Asada Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Sauce by Author Cynthia Lair

Photo Credit: The Food Network

Photo Credit: The Food Network

Getting ready for your Super Bowl party this weekend? We're focusing on Slow Meat in the run-up to the Seahawks returning to the Super Bowl. Here's a tasty one from Cynthia Lair. Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing this with Slow Food Seattle!

From Cynthia Lair:

In this adaption of a recipe from Feeding the Young Athlete (Readers to Eaters, 2012) we celebrate beef. Purchasing meat must be done conscientiously. Where once upon a time it was a sign of affluence to purchase and prepare large portions of animal protein, we now realize that this is costly on many levels.


Good food advocates have let us know about the environmental degradation occurring from raising animals in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and opened our eyes to the inhumane treatment of animals raised this way. Choosing locally-raised grass-fed beef (from your local farmer’s market) supports the health of the animals, the land and you. It’s also pricey! So start thinking about beef as more of a condiment or a side dish.

As you prepare the beef, remember to engage your sense of gratitude that a life was given to help sustain yours.

Carne Asada Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

Preparation time: 30 minutes for marinating; 30 minutes to cook and assemble

Makes 2/3 cup sauce, 8-12 tacos

Adapted from Feeding the Young Athlete by Cynthia Lair (Readers to Eaters, 2012)

  • 4 tablespoons lime juice

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder or Mexican seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 pound flank steak

  • 8-12 corn tortillas

  • Grated cheese

  • Salsa

Creamy Cilantro Sauce:

  • ¼ cup plain yogurt or mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  • 1 clove garlic, pressed

  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon water


  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage

  • 4 leaves romaine, rolled and cut in thin strips

  • 1 carrot, grated

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • Salt and pepper

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon each of lime juice, olive oil salt, chili powder and cumin in a small bowl and pour over beef. Massage the marinade into the meat. Really work the muscle, breaking down the fibers, so that the flavors go deep into the flesh. Allow beef to marinate for at least 1/2 hour or up to 8 hours.

  2. Combine all ingredients for sauce in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

  3. Cut vegetables. Dress with olive oil, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper and toss. Set aside dressed vegetables and sauce.

  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet, cast iron works well. Place the marinated beef in the pan and sear for one minute, turn and sear second side for one minute. Leave beef in the skillet and place in oven.

  5. Bake for about 3-5 more minutes, depending on the thickness of the beef. Don’t overcook the meat. When you remove it from the oven the interior should be bright pink to red. Remove from skillet immediately so it does not continue cooking. Place on a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Then slice very thin, with a serrated knife on a diagonal, against the grain of the meat. The interior should be pink to red.

  6. Warm tortillas in a skillet with a dab of butter one at a time or heat in the oven in a covered dish – they have to be warm to bend.

  7. Place a few slices of beef in tortilla with dressed vegetables on top. Pour a tablespoon or two of the sauce over the top and add a bit of grated cheese and salsa if desired. Repeat process for each tortilla.

  8. Serve immediately.