Culinary LifestyleHow To's

How to Cook Sabana De Res (Recipe and Tips)

In the heart of Colombian cuisine lies a culinary gem, the Sabana De Res. This traditional recipe showcases the rich flavors and techniques that define this vibrant South American country. Sabana De Res is a symphony of textures and tastes, beginning with tender beef that is either grilled or fried to perfection.

The true magic, however, lies in the savory Sabana sauce that blankets the beef, a harmonious blend of tomatoes, fragrant garlic, caramelized onions, nutty sesame seeds, and the fiery kick of Pasilla and Guajillo chillis.

Sabana De Res

As a seasoned traveler and food enthusiast, I’ve had the privilege of tasting Sabana De Res in various regions of Colombia. Each chef adds their unique touch, but the essence of this dish remains a celebration of fresh, local ingredients and a passion for creating an unforgettable dining experience. Whether enjoyed in a bustling city restaurant or a cozy family kitchen, Sabana De Res is a true embodiment of Colombian culinary heritage.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 500 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
    • Dietary Fiber: 5g
    • Sugar: 10g
  • Fat: 30g
    • Saturated Fat: 12g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 100mg
  • Sodium: 600mg
  • Potassium: 800mg
  • Protein: 35g
  • Vitamin A: 10% RDA
  • Vitamin C: 20% RDA
  • Calcium: 15% RDA
  • Iron: 25% RDA

Please note: These values are approximate and according to ingredients used in this recipe. These values may vary depending on the specific ingredients and brands used.

Sabana De Res Recipe

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: MainCuisine: Colombian


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Savor the rich flavors of Colombia with Sabana De Res, a dish featuring succulent grilled or fried beef bathed in a savory sauce made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, sesame seeds, and chilies. Served with your choice of sides.

From the Butcher:

  • 1 succulent beef steak (sirloin, ribeye, or flank)

  • Fresh Produce:
  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 tablespoon vibrant cilantro leaves

  • 2 plump garlic cloves (or minced equivalent)

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 fiery guajillo chili

  • 1 smoky pasilla chili

  • 1 can of ripe tomatoes

  • Pantry Staples:
  • ¼ cup beef broth or stock

  • ¼ cup zesty lime juice

  • 1 cup uncooked rice

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons nutty sesame seeds

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • Dairy Delights:
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese

  • 1 tablespoon creamy cream cheese


  • Marinate the Beef: Begin by marinating your beef to infuse it with flavor.
  • Grill over Charcoal: For the most authentic taste, grill the beef over charcoal.
  • Control the Heat: Use bricks to elevate a single layer of charcoal and adjust the grate for optimal heat control. Keep the top down vents fully open.
  • Rest and Slice: Grill the beef to your desired doneness, then let it rest before slicing it thinly against the grain.
  • Choose Complementary Sides: Serve Sabana De Res with classic sides like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or roasted asparagus.
  • Customer Considerations: If serving customers, allow the meat to cool slightly for easier slicing. Offer a variety of sides to cater to different preferences.


  • Marinate the beef for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, for maximum flavor.
  • Adjust the amount of chilies to your preferred spice level.
  • Serve Sabana De Res with traditional Colombian sides like rice, beans, or avocado salad.
  • Leftover Sabana De Res can be repurposed in tacos, salads, or breakfast hashes.

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Sabana De Res

Elevate your Sabana De Res game with these expert tips:

  • Choose Your Cut: Opt for tender cuts like sirloin, ribeye, or flank steak that can handle grilling without becoming tough.
  • Marinating Mastery: Don’t rush the marinade! Give your beef ample time to soak up the flavors, ideally overnight.
  • Grill Like a Pro: Preheat your grill thoroughly and use the “hand test” to gauge the heat. Aim for a medium-high heat to achieve a beautiful char without overcooking.
  • Sauce Secrets: Balance the sweetness, acidity, and spice in your Sabana sauce. Taste as you go and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

READ: Baked Italian Ground Beef Meatballs

Creative Serving Suggestions

Beyond the traditional plate, Sabana De Res can inspire a range of culinary creations:

  • Sabana Tacos: Fill warm tortillas with the succulent beef and a generous drizzle of Sabana sauce. Top with fresh cilantro and diced onions for a burst of flavor.
  • Sabana Salad: Toss thinly sliced Sabana De Res with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette for a refreshing and protein-packed salad.
  • Breakfast Hash: Cube leftover Sabana De Res and sauté it with potatoes, onions, and peppers. Top with a fried egg for a hearty and satisfying breakfast.

Customizing Sabana De Res for Your Dietary Needs

While traditionally prepared with wheat-based ingredients, Sabana De Res can be easily modified to accommodate various dietary restrictions:

  • Gluten-Free: Substitute gluten-free tamari for soy sauce in the marinade and ensure any store-bought sauces or seasonings are gluten-free.
  • Dairy-Free: The traditional Sabana De Res recipe is naturally dairy-free, making it a suitable option for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies.
  • Low-Carb: Skip the starchy side dishes like potatoes and opt for roasted vegetables or a fresh salad to keep the carbohydrate count low.
  • Paleo: Use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce and ensure all ingredients are compliant with the paleo diet guidelines.

READ: One Pot Spicy Sausage Pasta

A Note on Marinades and Sauces

While the core ingredients of Sabana De Res remain consistent, there’s ample room for creativity when it comes to marinades and sauces. You’ll find a wide selection of pre-made marinades on the shelves of most grocery stores, and a visit to your local Asian store will open up a world of new flavor possibilities. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sauces and marinades to discover what delights your taste buds.

Remember, the key to a successful Sabana sauce is to control the heat when caramelizing the onions. Adding a touch of cane sugar can help achieve that perfect sweet spot, balancing the acidity of the tomatoes and the spiciness of the chilies.

Sabana De Res Across Colombia

While the heart of Sabana De Res lies in its savory sauce and tender beef, regional variations offer a fascinating glimpse into Colombia’s diverse culinary landscape.

In the coastal regions, chefs often incorporate fresh seafood into the Sabana sauce, adding a briny depth to the traditional flavors. Shrimp, calamari, or even chunks of fish mingle with the tomatoes and spices, creating a unique fusion of land and sea.

Venturing inland to the coffee-growing region, you might encounter Sabana De Res infused with subtle notes of coffee. The coffee grounds are often added to the marinade, imparting a rich, earthy aroma to the beef.

Further south, in the Amazonian regions, exotic fruits like passion fruit or mango find their way into the Sabana sauce, adding a touch of tropical sweetness that balances the heat of the chilies.

Whether you savor the classic version or explore the regional adaptations, each bite of Sabana De Res is a journey through Colombia’s rich culinary heritage.

Pairing Sabana De Res with Beverages

To elevate your Sabana De Res experience, consider pairing it with beverages that complement its rich flavors.

  • Colombian Coffee: The robust notes of Colombian coffee, whether enjoyed hot or cold, create a delightful contrast with the savory richness of the dish.
  • Colombian Beer: A crisp, light lager like Aguila or Club Colombia can cut through the richness of the meat and refresh the palate.
  • Wine: For wine enthusiasts, a medium-bodied red like a Malbec or a Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with the grilled or fried beef. If you prefer white wine, a Chardonnay with a hint of oak can complement the savory notes of the Sabana sauce.

Sabana De Res: A Festive Feast

Sabana De Res isn’t just a weeknight meal; its vibrant flavors and presentation make it a perfect centerpiece for special occasions. Imagine serving a platter of thinly sliced, expertly grilled beef drizzled with the rich Sabana sauce at a holiday gathering or a birthday celebration. The dish’s versatility allows for both casual and elegant settings, ensuring that it fits seamlessly into any festive atmosphere.

To elevate the experience, consider pairing Sabana De Res with traditional Colombian side dishes like arepas (corn cakes), patacones (fried plantains), or a fresh avocado salad. For a touch of indulgence, offer a selection of Colombian desserts, such as the creamy arroz con leche (rice pudding) or the decadent tres leches cake.

READ: Beef and Chorizo Chili

The Health Benefits of Sabana De Res

Sabana De Res isn’t just a flavorful indulgence; it also offers a range of nutritional benefits. The dish centers around lean beef, a prime source of high-quality protein essential for muscle growth and repair. Beef also provides essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and B vitamins, which contribute to energy production, immune function, and overall well-being. Reae here about this study!

The Sabana sauce, with its medley of fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers, adds a wealth of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber to the dish. Tomatoes, rich in lycopene, offer potential protection against certain types of cancer and promote heart health. Onions and garlic, renowned for their sulfur compounds, boast anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

While enjoying the rich flavors of Sabana De Res, you can savor the knowledge that you’re nourishing your body with a wholesome and nutritious meal. Just remember to practice portion control and choose lean cuts of beef to maximize the health benefits of this Colombian classic.


Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious home cook, Sabana De Res invites you to embark on a culinary adventure that celebrates the vibrant flavors, rich history, and cultural heritage of Colombia.

With its versatile nature and adaptability to various dietary needs, this dish is sure to become a cherished addition to your culinary repertoire, gracing both everyday meals and special occasions with its irresistible charm.

So fire up the grill, gather your ingredients, and savor the exquisite taste of Sabana De Res, a true culinary masterpiece that embodies the spirit of Colombian cuisine.


Frequently Asked Questions

What cut of meat is carne de res?

“Carne de res” simply means “beef” in Spanish. Various cuts are used in Mexican cuisine and Latin American cuisine, including sirloin, ribeye, flank steak, skirt steak, and brisket. Each cut lends itself to different dishes, from grilled carne asada to braised bistec encebollado or slow-cooked barbacoa.

What cut of meat is diesmillo?

Diesmillo, also known as “chuck eye roast,” comes from the upper part of the chuck cut near the head. It’s a flavorful cut often used in fortified beef broth, slow-cooked chuck steak, and hearty pot roasts. Diesmillo is a popular choice for dishes like cross rib pot roast or boneless English roast.

Can I make Sabana de Res in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the Sabana sauce and marinate the beef ahead of time. This allows the flavors to meld and saves time on the day of serving.

What are some vegetarian alternatives for Sabana de Res?

While the traditional recipe features beef, you can adapt Sabana De Res for vegetarians by using hearty vegetables like portobello mushrooms or eggplant in place of meat.

Is Sabana de Res gluten-free?

The dish itself is naturally gluten-free, but be mindful of any store-bought marinades or sauces, as some may contain gluten.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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