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We had some friends and family over for Lenny's birthday this year and decided to grill for everyone. While I was shopping for ground beef to make burgers with, I accidentally purchased three pounds of cube steak instead! All the cube steak I've ever bought has been wrapped in butcher paper but this was in one of those plastic trays, shelved right next to the ground beef, and on sale. There were three steaks per pack overlapping each other which made them look exactly like ground beef when it's made of those loose coils instead of packed down. Of course I didn't notice until we were about to light the grill!
I ended up putting the steaks in the freezer figuring I'd make country friend steak later - the only thing I knew how to make with cube steak.
I was telling all this to my mother-in-law when she suggested I make Italian steak sandwiches. I had no clue what she was talking about - I don't think I'd ever had those before. She described how to make them and it just sounded so good! I couldn't eat 90% of the ingredients she listed like breadcrumbs, buns, cheese, and tomato sauce but since when has that ever stopped me from eating what I want? Ok, so nightshades have been stopping me as of lately but I'm working on it!
The tomato sauce was the tricky part. I had pinned tons of nightshade free tomato sauce recipes ("nomato sauce") but they all contained beets. I can't stand beets! I think they taste like dirt. I seriously think that if I added a beet to one smoothie and a dirt clod with red food coloring to another, you'd never be able to taste the difference. I decided to be brave and try a nomato sauce recipe anyways. Dirt clods and all!
I went with the No-Mato Sauce recipe I found on Shockingly Delicious. I thought it would be a ton of work but it was very simple. Except that my Blendtec broke the day before and I had to puree everything in a small, personal sized smoothie blender which started smoking out of the back. Completely worth the blender hassle though! It didn't taste much like beets and had that sweet and acidic flavor you get in traditional tomato sauce. Definitely not the same but close enough to satisfy my craving. I also used it on spaghetti and pizza. I just added a little oregano to make it taste like pasta sauce.
I actually ended up photographing the sandwiches I made for my husband with real cheese and sauce because the cheese was prettier than the stuff I used.
There are a couple options for buns in this recipe. I took the easy route and used Schär gluten free hamburger buns. You can use whatever buns you prefer. If you need the recipe to be paleo, I've included instructions in the notes section for making buns from my multi-purpose dough recipe. You could also use portobello mushrooms as the bun or omit the buns completely.
- 2 eggs
- ¼ C almond milk or other milk alternative
- 1 C almond flour
- ⅓ C tapioca starch
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder, divided
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 ¼ tsp salt, divided
- 4 small cube steaks
- 1 C regular or dairy free mozzarella (may need to omit to make completely nightshade-free, read ingredients carefully)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ C no-mato sauce (or regular spaghetti sauce if you don't need nightshade-free)
- 4 buns of your choice * see notes
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together egg and milk in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, whisk together almond flour, tapioca starch, oregano, thyme, ¾ tsp garlic powder, pepper, and ½ tsp of salt.
- Season the cube steaks with ¾ tsp of salt. Dip in egg mixture and shake off excess then coat in the flour mixture. Transfer these to the parchment lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Once the steaks are fully cooked, top with cheese, if desired, and return to oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- If using buns, while the cheese melts, heat olive oil on a griddle over medium-high heat. Slice buns in half and place cut-side down into the olive oil to toast for about a minute. (I like to flatten the Schär buns a little bit with a spatula.)
- Sprinkle the toasted side of the buns with some garlic powder and just a pinch of salt.
- Serve the steaks topped with sauce on the toasted buns. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese, if desired.
I used Schär gluten free hamburger buns to save time. You can use whatever buns you prefer. If you need a paleo option, my multi-purpose dough can easily be made into buns. Just be sure that your baking powder does not contain potato starch if you need this to be nightshade free: Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and flatten to the diameter of a hamburger patty (they will rise in the oven). The trick is to make sure you don’t have any cracks or the dough will develop crevices when baked. Bake at 350ºF for 18-20 minutes. You will know they're done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Other paleo options for buns are Portobello mushrooms or simply omit the buns altogether.
Low carb: omit buns
Try adding some oregano to the no-mato sauce to make it taste more like a spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce.