15 Ways To Boost A Steak Dinner With Canned Goods

A steak dinner is a thing of beauty. Indulging in one awakens the senses, and whether you're an avid meat eater or a curious dabbler, you can always find something to enjoy in a perfectly cooked steak. But as many of you very well know, a steak on its own, however satisfying, does not make a complete and balanced meal. A steak dinner requires the addition of a starch and a vegetable, with the steak taking care of the protein part. And if you want to take things a step further — which you should, because steak dinners are one of the few socially acceptable situations where you can overdo things — you should also make sure you have a good drink on hand.

The only catch is that this seems like a lot of work. You already poured your heart and soul into the careful selection, preparing, and cooking of the steak itself, and now you have to worry about potatoes and broccoli or something? No way. Which is why we've put together a list of sides you can make with minimal fuss, straight from a can. Go ahead and put all your energy into your steak. All you'll have to do after that is whip out one of the cans we shout out below and make yourself a quick, delicious side or drink.

1. Kimchi on the side

Kimchi performs triple duty as a steak side. It provides a delicious source of tang that perfectly balances out the meat, gives you an opportunity to include a vegetable in the form of fermented cabbage, and the probiotics in this fermented food help improve digestion, which is key when eating a big, fat, juicy steak — a food that is notoriously difficult to digest, especially when eaten at night.

And the beauty of canned kimchi is that it's already fully prepared. You don't have to do a thing to it. Just pour it out of your can and straight onto your plate, taking care to keep any excess juices from invading your dish. Pair it with any type of steak, as they do in Korea, especially dry-aged ribeye, sirloin, or filet mignon. And choose any type of spice level you like. Kimchi is traditionally spicy, so make sure you go for a version that you can handle!

2. Mushrooms on top

There is a long, documented tradition of cooking steaks with mushrooms. The good news about this is that they don't have to be fresh mushrooms, painstakingly chopped and softened in a pan. They can be premade mushrooms from a can. No shame in that. In fact, you can find many high-quality canned mushrooms on your regular grocery store shelves. They come in different varieties, flavors, and marinades.

Once you have your mushrooms, get cooking. You can skip straight to the sautée step in our white wine and mushroom recipe. Simply pour your canned mushrooms into your sauce of butter, salt, garlic, pepper, and white wine and your dish is practically ready. Serve it on the side of your steak or directly on top. Or you can combine your canned mushrooms in a pan with chestnuts, pearl onions, olive oil, cognac, thyme, bay leaves, heavy cream, lemon juice, and parsley to make a comforting mushroom and roasted onion gravy to pour decadently on top of your steak.

3. Brown bread to soak up the juice

Bread doesn't usually come in cans, but B&M Brown Bread does, and you don't have to worry about it going stale. A big juicy steak is known for releasing those big juices all over the plate, which is quite a shame, really. It often goes to waste. But with a side of bread, you can just scoop it all up and pop it in your mouth as if you'd just licked the plate clean, but in a much more civilized manner.

Any kind of bread would do the trick, but brown bread is an especially good choice for steak. Its deep molasses flavor goes well with red meat, and the porous texture is ideal for soaking up all sorts of juices. Simply remove the bread from the can, slice it up to your ideal thickness, and rip it up into bite-size pieces before digging in.

4. Tomato sauce

The possibilities for canned tomato sauce in recipes are endless. It's used in meatballs, bolognese sauce, pizza, and so much more. Not to mention all the different cuisines from around the world that rely on it.

But there is one recipe in particular that goes very well with steak, ideally a bottom round steak. To prepare this easy Swiss steak recipe, all you'll need is an instant pot, garlic powder, salt, ground black pepper, paprika, corn starch, all-purpose flour, olive oil, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, a medium yellow onion, green peppers, minced garlic, and that can of chopped tomatoes — most of those ingredients are ones you should have in your kitchen already. Layer everything in the instant pot with the steak, and then sit back and relax until it's ready. Not only does this sauce enhance the flavor of the steak, but it also tenderizes it as it cooks away in the instant pot so that when it's time to sink your fork in it, the meat will come right off.

5. Beer pairing

There is a lot of talk about pairing steak with full-bodied red wines. They're both heavyweights in their own categories and seem to team up well as culinary all-stars. But who wants a full-bodied cabernet on a hot summer evening? A light beer is what's needed for such occasions, and it'll work just as well with the steak, too, balancing out that strong flavor with a pop of freshness. Not only that, but given beer's ever-expanding reach of textures and flavors, you're bound to find a complex, rich brew that can match the taste intricacies of your steak. Just think about what kind of drink you're dealing with here. Beers can come as chocolatey stouts, summery citrus blondes, toasted amber ales, and many more varieties. You may have to search far and wide for your perfect pairing, but we're confident that you can undertake this arduous task and succeed.

In the meantime, just enjoy some general beer and food pairing recommendations from those who've traveled this path before. A hearty steak goes extremely well with a robust stout, as its bitterness can balance out the sometimes overwhelming fattiness in your meat. Meanwhile, the carbonation in any good beer can scrub your taste buds clean between steak bites, meaning you get to experience that first bite sensation every time.

6. A side of soup

On cold winter nights, a steak might hit the spot, but it may not be enough to warm your cockles. For that, you'll need a nice, hot soup. Luckily, many great soups come in cans, ready-made. You can opt for a leek and potato soup, which comes with filling potatoes and gives you the opportunity to include a vegetable in your meal. You can go for a simple tomato soup, which can balance out your fatty steak with its lightness and acidity. A cream of mushroom soup might be just the ticket to complement a steak's own richness. All of these require nothing more than pouring a can of soup into a pot and heating them up, or just heating them up in a bowl in the microwave.

Or you could take things a step further and attempt an elegant tomato bisque. You'll just need any can of tomato soup, some heavy cream, and some white wine or sherry. Mix them all in a saucepan, add your favorite seasoning, and top with chives or basil. Alternatively, you can make this into a surf-and-turf venture. Just cook a lobster or crab separately, sautéeing the shells in oil and butter before removing them and mixing in the rest of your ingredients with the butter. You'll be left with a tomato and seafood bisque that will pair nicely with your steak.

7. Artichokes on the side

When fresh, this vegetable is a hassle to prepare. Cleaning it and boiling or steaming it is the easy part because to eat it you have to remove each leaf, one by one, only to get a small chuck of vegetable out of your formidable efforts. Then you get to the center and you come up against these scary, furry things that have to somehow be plucked from the flesh of the artichoke heart before you can eat it.

Canned artichokes are different. They've already been cleaned, cooked, softened, and flavored, so that all you have to do is pop them in your mouth. There are no big, thick leaves to contend with because you're only dealing with the smooth artichoke heart, thoroughly plucked. Now you have a whole host of possibilities before you. You can eat the artichokes with a toothpick, as they are, as simple hors d'oeuvres. Or you can just toss them with some mixed greens and other toppings to make a tasty salad.

8. Chickpea salad

Canned chickpeas are a fully formed, ready-to-eat canned food, which makes them a great ingredient for any side to your steak dinner. They can be blended into hummus with some salt, garlic, a lemon, and some oil, roasted in the oven with some spices until crispy, or added to a canned soup.

But one of the best uses for chickpeas when it comes to steak is to simply add them to your salad. The steak is the main attraction, so you don't want to be taking too much attention away from it. If you elevate your chickpeas, another protein, too much, they might end up taking over your meal. But in a salad, they'll simply add flavor and texture to your main vegetable. One such salad is the Moroccan chickpea salad. Just mix your chickpeas with some baby spinach, chopped onion, dried apricots, Kalamata olives, pistachios, and a garnish of Italian parsley, and dress it all with a mixture of red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, dried marjoram, dried oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. This flavorful salad can hold its own against a steak without taking over completely.

9. Spinach for creaming

Canned spinach is not the prettiest thing in the world, with its oxidized brown color and limp appearance. But the vegetable does retain much of its nutritional content in the can, and as unappetizing as pre-cooked spinach may look, you still get more nutritional benefits from eating cooked spinach than those pretty, bouncy spinach leaves you sometimes put in your salad.

But your canned spinach doesn't have to retain its unfortunate appearance once it's on your plate. Making a creamy spinach dip will remove much of that unsightly color, turning it into another thing entirely. Be sure to drain your spinach before mixing it into your sour cream and cream cheese, along with parmesan, mozzarella, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Then simply blend everything together and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden on top.

10. Wine pairing

The world of wine, winemaking, and wine storage has long been the site of tradition, class, and snobbery. So it's no surprise that many people look down on the idea of drinking wine from a can. And perhaps canned wine is not what you want when you're looking to invest in the beverage and age it to perfection in your vast home cellar.

But if you just want an easy, single-serve option to pop open with your steak without having to go through the trouble of decanting it or finishing it all off in one sitting so it doesn't turn to vinegar, then canned wine might be just the thing. And you don't necessarily have to compromise on quality. While probably won't find that 1937 La Tâche in a can, a growing interest in canned wines has widened the selection and quality of this product. Some wineries in Napa Valley are now canning their famous Cabernet Sauvignon, which is widely considered to be one of the best red wines to pair with steak. You can also find good canned Merlot and Malbec as well as a selection of palatable whites and rosés.

11. Sauerkraut on the side

In principle, sauerkraut is very similar to kimchi, in that they're both made with fermented cabbage. But the end flavor and texture are very different due to the cultures they come from and the ingredients that are used. Sauerkraut, for instance, is not spicy in the least, and it tends to be made on its own, without any additional ingredients.

Sauerkraut is a tasty and healthy side to have alone, but it can also be used successfully in a variety of recipes. You can throw it into salads or use it to make a slaw: Just shred one apple, one carrot, and some fresh green cabbage and mix it in with your sauerkraut, then dress the mixture with white wine vinegar, honey, celery seeds, and salt to taste. Whichever way you choose to use it, the sour taste is ideal for balancing out the heartiness of your steak. Plus, just like with kimchi, its probiotics help improve digestion, which is exactly what you need when dealing with big, fat steaks.

12. Olives for martinis

It may be a cultural norm or it may be a physical need, but there's no denying the powerful affinity between steaks and martinis. If you know this, you also know that the martini comes first. Steaks and martinis are both formidable entities, and pairing them with each other risks having them compete to the point where they would cancel each other out. This would be a travesty. Instead, you want to sip your martini first so that its fresh, surgically precise tang can cleanse your palate and prepare it for the burst of flavor you're about to bite into.

For this, you will need olives. You don't need anything complicated here. Just prepare your martini according to your pleasure — shaken or stirred — then head to the pantry and take out your can of Castelvetrano or Cerignola olives, or, in the case of a dirty martini, pimento-stuffed Manzanilla olives.

13. Dr Pepper marinade

A good marinade is an ideal way to increase the juiciness of any steak. Any traditional steak marinade or sauce will do the trick, but we want to make the case for Dr Pepper here. Just hear us out — this soda has a surprisingly complex flavor profile, which makes it a perfect accompaniment to an equally complex steak.

If you're an experienced home chef, you can play around with Dr Pepper, soy sauce, and a few other ingredients for your marinade. If you want to play it safe, we suggest trying our sweet and spicy marinade recipe. You'll want to start by lightly charring some garlic and jalapeño in a pan before combining the Dr Pepper and myriad other marinade ingredients in a bowl. Soak the sirloin steaks in this for at least an hour, refrigerated, then cook your meat to your desired degree of doneness.

14. Gravy on top

Homemade gravy usually requires a large animal and many hours of cooking. Turkey gravy is pretty easy to come by on Thanksgiving, but only because you've been roasting a large bird in your oven for hours on end. You don't need to do this on a typical steak night. That's what canned gravy is for. All you have to do is open the can and pour it over your steak, then cook your meat in the gravy until done, or heat the gravy separately. Be sure to use enough sauce to pour on top of your plate upon serving. If you're pairing your steak with potatoes, you don't want to make them feel left out.

If your canned gravy doesn't quite taste like the homemade variety, you can use a few simple tricks to liven things up. You can drizzle some soy sauce into the mix, adding some saltiness and umami. Or you can add some dried porcini mushrooms for texture. Or try adding a few drops of Worcestershire sauce for some extra depth.

15. A helping of potatoes

Steak and potatoes are a classic combination, but if you've put your steak on just to realize that you haven't even started on the potatoes, then you can save your meal by switching to the canned variety. A steak might only need a few minutes to sear, but potatoes can take the better part of an hour to prepare properly. Save time with canned potatoes.

Although canned potatoes are not usually ready to eat straight out of the can, they do take a lot less time to cook than fresh spuds. Simply rinse off your canned ingredients and boil them for a few minutes before mashing them up, or dice them up and briefly roast them in the oven. If you're in the mood for something more elaborate, you can use canned potatoes to halve the cooking time of a number of different potato recipes.

In our old-fashioned scalloped potatoes recipe, you can use canned potatoes to skip Step 2 and go straight into melting your butter and cooking your onions and garlic. Then add flour, vegetable stock, seasoning, and milk. This is the mixture you'll pour on top of your sliced potatoes, laid out in a pan in neat layers. Then simply bake your casserole for one hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Few things pair better with steak than an easy, cheesy potato casserole.