Your Veggies Can Take a Tip From Steak

Your Veggies Can Take a Tip From Steak
Photo: Ms. Trouble Maker, Shutterstock

If the name of a product tells you how it’s meant to be used, you can usually take it at face value. Dog leashes restrain dogs. Garlic keepers hold garlic. We all know what car washes tend to wash. But when it comes to my spice cabinet, I’ll put those spices on whatever I damn well please. It’s time to free steak seasoning from its restrictive label. Steak seasoning belongs on your veggies, too.

Don’t get me wrong, steak seasoning is a delicious rub for a slab of beef. It complements the inherent flavours of the meat and enhances umami. Unlike the fine powders that normally populate a spice cabinet, steak seasoning is composed of ingredients with a thicker, bulkier granule. Thinner powders are meant to dissolve and disappear, but these chunky particles are meant to show up on the surface and stand out, adding little bursts of flavour with every chew.

What part of “little bursts of flavour” sounds bad for vegetables? It’s kind of perfect for vegetables. (If anything, steaks can do with less.) Most pre-mixed bottles of steak seasoning contain a collection of delicious dried aromatics and flavorful granules. McCormick includes salt, black and red pepper, garlic, and onion. Jacobsen Co. steak seasoning is composed of much of the same plus coriander, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. There’s nothing in here that is explicitly “steak-y,” and, as an added vegetable-friendly perk, these seasonings are usually vegan and gluten-free.

The best way to use it? Liberally. I recently had grilled asparagus prepared with a healthy coating of steak seasoning, and it was stupendous. The green veg had visible pieces of dried garlic and onion stuck to the surface, which paired perfectly with the smoky flavour from the char of the grill. Grilling carries a risk of drying out vegetables, but the sea salt in the mix dissolved in the juices of the asparagus and produced an even coating of saline, making the entire stalk incredibly succulent. I haven’t tried it yet, but I imagine grilled corn, red bell peppers, or thick zucchini planks would be killer with steak seasoning.

Unlike raw meat, vegetables start out with a dry surface, and trying to cover them with any sort of seasoning is useless at that point. Before grilling or roasting, lube ‘em up by tossing or spraying the vegetables with a coating of oil. The oil will give the seasoning something to stick to, and you can sprinkle generously without losing too many spices to gravity. If you’re steaming or sautéing, cook the vegetables halfway, add the steak seasoning to the produce, then finish cooking. Serve your umami-packed veggies as a side, sliced on a salad, or as a satisfying topper for steamed rice.

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