Irresistible Carne Asada Bowls with Mango Salsa (AIP, Paleo, Whole30)

Irresistible Carne Asada Bowls with Mango Salsa (AIP, Paleo, Whole30)

These colorful carne asada bowls makes for a mouthwatering, healthy, and versatile meal. The marinade makes the meat so juicy and the mango salsa adds another flavor dimension to the meal, plus it just looks good! In this post, you’ll find instructions for preparing this on the grill, stovetop, or in the oven. This recipe is Paleo/AIP and Whole30 friendly.

**Just a quick heads up- this post contains affiliate links which means if you click on them and buy something,  I will earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) to help continue maintaining this site. 

What is Carne Asada?

The literal translation for carne asada is “grilled meat.”  It’s usually made by marinating a skirt steak or flank steak and then grilling it. 

What’s in Carne Asada Marinade?

There are quite a few different versions of carne asada marinade. Here’s what this one includes: 

  • Olive Oil or Avocado Oil - This is just personal preference but I found that I prefer avocado oil for this marinade or a lighter olive oil (not extra virgin) simply because the flavor of EVOO sort of interferes with the other flavors. If you only have EVOO, it’ll be fine but a milder flavored oil is recommended if you have it. 
  • Orange Juice- Fresh squeezed is of course ideal but not everyone has time for that. If you use store-bought, just make sure it’s 100% juice.
  • Coconut Aminos- You can get this on Amazon but I usually get mine at Kroger- you can find them in the ethnic foods section- basically near the soy sauce. I use coconut aminos for a lot of recipes because it adds so much flavor. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar- If you don’t have ACV or prefer not to use it, you can also use white wine vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Cilantro Leaves
  • Jalapeno- Jalapeno is usually used in carne asada marinade so I had to include it as an option. It’s perfectly delicious without it but if you like a little spice and you’re not doing the elimination phase of AIP, definitely add it in!
aip paleo carne asada

Cooking Methods for Carne Asada

The cooking method of choice for carne asada tends to be grilling it- I’d recommend grilling it if it’s an option. I made this recipe in the oven simply because it’s winter and more importantly, we don’t have a grill at the moment. Whatever method you decide to use, just follow the instructions for that method below and on the recipe card. 

Grill Instructions

Heat the grill to medium-high and cook the steak for 4-7 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium-rare), 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium.

Oven Instructions

Turn the oven broiler on high. The oven rack should be high up so it's about 4-6 inches below the heating element. Give it about 5-10 minutes to heat up.

Cover a broiler pan or metal baking sheet with foil, then place the flank steak on it (try to minimize how much sauce you put with it). Put it in the oven just under the heating element.

Cook it for about 4-7 minutes, then use tongs to flip it over and cook an additional 4-7 minutes or until the internal cooking temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium-rare) or 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium. Cooking times will vary depending on thickness so watch it closely! For reference, my flank steak was about 1" thick. If yours is thinner, it will probably take less time to cook.

 *Note, you may notice some residual marinade start to carmelize, burn and create smoke while the meat is cooking. If this happens, it can help to turn the broil setting down to low for the rest of the cooking time (you may just have to leave it in a bit longer).

Stovetop Instructions

*Turn on the range hood fan over the stove as this does create some smoke. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil or oil of choice. Cut the meat into 3-4 smaller chunks- may need to cook in two batches depending on the size of the pan. Cook for 4-7 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium-rare), 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium. If the meat starts to burn on the outside before the inside is cooked, turn the heat down a bit.

aip paleo carne asada

Cooking Temperatures for Steak

Medium Rare: 130-135 degree F- Very pink center, slightly browned exterior. 

Medium: 140-145 degrees F- Light pink in the center, brown exterior.

Medium-Well: 150-155 degrees F- Mostly light brown throughout with a hint of pink in the center. 

What Kind of Meat is Used for Carne Asada?

Usually, flank steak or skirt steak. 

How to Make a Carne Asada Bowl

There are many ways to make a carne asada bowl. Often you’ll see them including foods like:

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers 
  • Avocados
  • Guacamole
  • Corn
  • Chips
  • Cilantro
  • Onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Salsa
  • Jalapenos

Of course, quite a few of these foods are not AIP elimination phase compliant but it’s not a problem! As I mentioned, there are a million ways to make a carne asada bowl. Here’s what I’ve added to this one:

  • Flank Steak
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Avocado
  • Radishes
  • Mango Salsa (mango, red onion, cilantro)
  • Cucumbers
  • Lime Wedge
  • Sauce- marinade set aside at the beginning of recipe prep- yum!

If you’re not a huge fan of all these items or you want to add more stuff, you could try some of these AIP friendly options:

  • AIP friendly guacamole
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Chips
  • Various lettuces- make it a salad
  • Coconut Yogurt
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Roasted Parsnips
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Red Onion
  • Grated Carrots
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Cole Slaw Mix
  • Sauces- Try KC Naturals Ranch or Salsa
  • Caramelized onions
  • Grilled Green Onions
aip paleo carne asada

Notes

  • Set a little marinade to the side before adding the meat. This will be used later to drizzle over the meat or for dipping. It’s super flavorful, so we need to use it to our advantage as much as possible. 
  • Be sure to cut the meat against the grain- This simply means to cut the meat perpendicular to the natural lines running through the meat. 
  • Use foil to cover the broiler pan or metal baking sheet for easier cleanup
  • Don’t use glass dishes or nonstick pans under the broiler- they can’t tolerate the heat
  • Don’t use parchment paper under a broiler- also cannot hold up to the heat. 

Conclusion:

I hope you liked this recipe. If you tried it, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @foodcourage for the latest AIP/Paleo recipes, autoimmune nutrition info, and Food Courage happenings!

aip paleo carne asada

Irresistible Carne Asada Bowls (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

9293cddefb9c464987cfc4b6aca186ff?s=60&d=mm&r=gArika | FoodCourage
This colorful carne asada bowl makes the perfect flavorful healthy dinner.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinate 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 483 kcal

Equipment

  • meat mallet (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (use 100% juice)
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional, omit for AIP)
  • 1-2 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 pound flank steak or skirt steak

Mango Salsa

  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 mango, cut into tiny cubes
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced

Serve With:

  • 6 cups cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup radishes, sliced
  • 1 cup cucumbers sliced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • lime wedges

Instructions
 

  • Mix the first 6 (or 7 if using jalapeno) ingredients in a large bowl or gallon zip lock bag. Set aside 1/2 cup of the marinade to use later.
  • Remove any white connective tissue from the meat then cover it with plastic wrap and pound it with a meat mallet (or other pounding object) to tenderize it. Poke it all over with a fork to allow the marinade to get into the meat.
  • Add the steak to the bowl or bag with the marinade. And marinate for at least 1 hour (up to 8 hours).
  • In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients with the steak.
  • ***See notes below for stovetop and grill instructions.
  • To Cook in the Oven: Turn the oven broiler on high. The oven rack should be high up so it's about 4-6 inches below the heating element. Give it about 5-10 minutes to heat up.
  • Cover a broiler pan or metal baking sheet with foil, then place the flank steak on it (try to minimize how much marinade you put with it). Put it in the oven just under the heating element.
  • Cook it for about 4-6 minutes, then use tongs to flip it over and cook an additional 4-6 minutes or until the internal cooking temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium-rare) or 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium. Cooking times will vary depending on thickness so watch it closely! For reference, my flank steak was about 1" thick. If yours is thinner, it will probably take less time to cook.
     *Note, you may notice some residual marinade in the pan start to carmelize, burn and create smoke while the meat is cooking. If this happens, it can help to turn the broil setting down to low for the rest of the cooking time (you may just have to leave it in a bit longer).
  • While the meat is cooking, make the mango salsa.
  • Take the meat out of the oven and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing it.
  • Start to assemble your bowls using cauliflower rice, mango salsa, cucumber, avocado, radishes, and lime wedges. *Leave some space in the middle for the meat.
  • Transfer to steak to a cutting board and slice it against the grain into thin strips.
  • Place several strips of meat in each prepared bowl and drizzle with the marinade reserved at the beginning of the recipe (or use it for dipping).

Notes

**While this recipe uses the oven in the main instructions (I used the oven out of necessity), I'd recommend cooking the meat on a grill if you have the option (see instructions below), mainly because both oven and stovetop methods produce a fair amount of smoke. 
Minimize Smoke While Broiling: If the smoke gets to be excessive, turn the broil setting down to low or even take it off the broil setting and set the oven to bake at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit for the rest of the cooking time (you may just have to leave it in a bit longer than planned). Keep track of the internal cooking temperature with a meat thermometer as you go.
*Glass Cookware is not recommended for broiling
Grill Instructions: Heat the grill to medium-high and cook the steak for 4-7 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium-rare), 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium.
Stovetop Instructions: *Will need to turn on range hood fan over the stove as this does create some smoke. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil or oil of choice. Cut the meat into 3-4 smaller chunks- may need to cook in two batches depending on the size of the pan. Cook for 4-7 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium-rare), 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium. If the meat starts to burn on the outside before the inside is cooked, turn the heat down a bit.
For the Marinade: I found that I prefer avocado oil or a lighter olive oil (not extra virgin) simply because the flavor of EVOO sort of interferes with the other flavors. If you only have EVOO, it’ll be fine but a milder flavor oil is recommended if you have it.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Irresistible Carne Asada Bowls (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)
Serving Size
 
1 bowl
Amount per Serving
Calories
483
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
31
g
48
%
Saturated Fat
 
6
g
38
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
19
g
Cholesterol
 
68
mg
23
%
Sodium
 
424
mg
18
%
Potassium
 
1381
mg
39
%
Carbohydrates
 
25
g
8
%
Fiber
 
9
g
38
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Protein
 
30
g
60
%
Vitamin A
 
634
IU
13
%
Vitamin C
 
109
mg
132
%
Calcium
 
87
mg
9
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword beef, carne asada, steak, taco bowl
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