Pesto skirt steak with greens risotto

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

A hug in a bowl for your cold winter months – Pesto Skirt steak with Pea and Swiss Chard Risotto.

As a Nutritionist working in women’s health I’m always keen to find the simple but delicious ways to improve intake of nutrients such as protein and iron and this recipe ticks those boxes and more. It can be tricky to keep on top of iron intake, but dietary sources of iron such as red meat and dark green vegetables (both in this dish), can support your intake of both heme (animal based) and non-heme (plant based) iron. Recipes like these deliver great nutrition in a sustainable way – because you don’t need to overthink it. 

And whilst we’re talking sustainability… did you know Aussie farmers are focused on revegetating the land in their care and that which their cattle graze on? It’s one of the many programs implemented to make farming, including animals, a more sustainable practice. 


Serves 4

Gluten free : Dairy Free (opt) 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes 


650g skirt steak

1.8-2L salt reduced vegetable stock

200g swiss chard, leaves only (approx 5), roughly chopped 

¼ cup(65ml)  extra virgin olive oil 

2 stalks celery, finely chopped 

1 medium (200g) brown onion, peeled and finely chopped 

1 ½ cups (315g) arborio/risotto rice 

1 ½ cups (180g) frozen peas 

½-⅔ cup (approx 75g) grated parmesan cheese 

¼ cup good quality pesto 

Sea salt and black pepper 


Start by preparing the skirt steak. Take out of the fridge, season each side with salt and pepper, and keep it out on the bench to relax the meat whilst you prepare the risotto. Add stock to a medium size saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the swiss chard and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the swiss chard leaves to a blender with about 1 ladle of stock and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then blend until smooth and set aside. Heat a large stock pot on medium heat and add 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to coat, then add the celery and onion and cook for 5-6 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the arborio rice to the pan and toast for 2 minutes, stirring throughout to prevent sticking. Add a ladle of stock to the rice and cook until just absorbed, stirring throughout. Repeat the process, only adding a ladle of stock at a time. When the rice and stock is about half way through cooking, fire up a large fry pan or grill plate on a high heat ready for the skirt steak. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the pan / plate. Add skirt steak to the pan and cook 4 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate, cover and rest for 5 minutes. When the rice is almost cooked, pour the green swiss chard blend back into the pan, add the frozen peas and stir well. Add a final ladle of stock if needed to keep the risotto lovely and loose. Stir through the parmesan cheese and season with black pepper, cover and set aside. Slice the skirt steak into thin 5mm pieces against the grain (the best way to evenly distribute any gristle running through the muscle). Divide risotto between bowls, followed by the skirt steak and finish with a big dollop of pesto on top. 


(This is a partnered post with Australian Good Meat Association, all thoughts and opinions expressed are the author’s own.)