By Carl Hanson

These 12 top-rated recipes call for lean cuts of beef. But they still bring big flavor, by replacing the fat with flavorful marinades or slow, flavor-building preparations. But before we get to the recipes, here's the skinny on lean versus extra-lean beef. According to the USDA, a serving (3.5 ounces) of beef is considered lean if it has less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. Extra-lean beef has less than 5 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat. For more on cuts of beef -- including tips on the best cuts for the grill, slow cooker, roasting pan, or wok -- check out It's all about the beef!

Low-Calorie Beef Recipes with Big, Big Flavor

1. Sirloin Marinara

Strips of lean sirloin are sauteed with onions and garlic and simmered in a rich tomato and red wine sauce. "Very easy and delicious," says Kathy. "We are trying to eat less carbs so I served it with cauliflower rice instead of potatoes and that worked great!"

Photo by Allrecipes

2. Steak Fajitas

Look for a lean steak for these fajitas, like sirloin steak or flank steak.

Photo by Meredith

3. Slow-Cooker Pepper Steak

Strips of sirloin cook slowly until very tender and flavorful. "This recipe is one of our family's favorites," says MJWAGNER68. "It's great to make ahead of time in the slow cooker and then serve over rice, egg noodles, or chow mein."

Slow-Cooker Pepper Steak | Photo by Allrecipes

4. Adobo Sirloin

"Juicy top sirloin is marinated in a spicy chipotle chile sauce. This meat is great by itself, but could also make great fajitas," says Tracie Commins.

Photo by SunnyByrd

5. Cuban Beef and Zucchini Kebabs with Mojo Sauce

Skewers of lean sirloin steak are grilled with fresh zucchini and served with a flavorful sauce of OJ, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, and olive oil.

Explore more Sirloin Steak Recipes.

6. Momma's Healthy Meatloaf

This healthier versions of meatloaf is made with extra-lean ground beef and loads of fresh vegetables.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

7. Healthier Stuffed Peppers

"This healthier stuffed peppers recipe uses an assortment of colored peppers, lean ground beef, brown rice, fresh onion, garlic, and tomato sauce," says MakeItHealthy. "So colorful and so healthy!"

Photo by Meredith

8. Cabbage Rolls II

"Use VERY lean ground beef! You don't cook the meat before rolling it into the cabbage leaves, so there will be no way to drain off the fat." — KRANEY

Photo by lutzflcat

9. Northern Italian Beef Stew

Top round steak is one of the leanest cuts of beef around. Here it simmers in a hearty beef and veggie stew. And as Karen Barris Calabro says, "If you actually find yourself with leftovers, this stew is also the backbone for an excellent beef soup."

Photo by Naples34102

Find more 5-star Round Steak Recipes.

10. Flank Steak a la Willyboy

Flank steak is another lean choice. It also goes by the name London Broil. Remember to cut flank steak across the grain into thin strips -- it will be more tender and easier to chew.

Flank Steak a la Willyboy | Photo by Allrecipes

11. Caprese Salad with Grilled Flank Steak

Top a simple Caprese salad with grilled flank steak. "This is a fresh, healthy, easy-to-make salad with a twist," says cookinmama.

Photo by Nicolette

12. Greek Flank Steak and Veggie Salad

"Tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers roast along with the steak, creating a crunchy, juicy salad that just begs to be topped with feta," says Molly Gilbert.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Discover more top-rated Flank Steak Recipes.

Check out our collection of Healthy Beef Main Dish Recipes.