Steak Salad

4.92 from 45 votes
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Steak salad recipe with juicy slices of seasoned beef on a bed of colorful greens and crunchy vegetables. The pan-seared technique in a cast-iron skillet quickly cooks the meat to a perfect medium-rare. A tangy homemade balsamic dressing brings everything together.

Steak Salad

Tender pieces of thinly sliced flank steak elevate this meal to entree salad status. With simple seasonings and a brief sear in a hot pan, dinner is ready in under 30 minutes. If you prefer, you can even fire up the grill to cook the meat.

To complement the rich flavors of the steak, a variety of lettuce are selected. Arugula, romaine, and radicchio are colorful and robust greens that stand up well to the warm beef. I’ll show you how to make an easy balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle over the salad to balance the rich and peppery flavors in the bowl.

How to make a steak salad

  • Whisk balsamic vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
  • Gradually add the olive oil and whisk dressing is thickened.
  • Dry the surface of the steak and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat, add oil.
  • Cook steak for 4 minutes, flip and cook until medium-rare.
  • Rest the steak for 10 minutes and then slice.
  • In a large bowl combine the lettuce.
  • Add tomatoes, cucumber, radish, onion, avocado, cheese, and meat.
  • Serve with balsamic vinaigrette.
Flank steak cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Meat selection

A lean, tender, and quick-cooking steak like flank steak or flat iron is optimal for this recipe. I use flank which is located below the loin and has visible grains that run down the length of the meat.

It’s a great choice for high-heat and fast cooking methods, such as on the stovetop, grill, broiling, or stir-fry. If you want some extra flavor on the surface, it’s often marinated for carne asada.

Cooking techniques

Use a heavy-duty pan like a cast-iron skillet for high-heat cooking. This material holds heat effectively, and for a long time, so it’s perfect for a fast golden sear on the surface. All you need is about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. You can also grill the steak over high heat uncovered for a similar duration to yield a smokey and lightly charred taste.

Slicing steak on a wooden cutting board.

Slice against the grain

While my example is incorrect, it’s best to slice the beef against the grain, perpendicular to the direction that the grains flow. Flank steak has coarse muscle fibers that run parallel down the meat, making it easy to see how to cut. Go for thin ¼-inch slices to make it easier to eat, or chop them into smaller bite-sized cube pieces.

Choosing the right lettuce

Multiple types of lettuce are used in this hearty salad. They all have a robust and sturdy structure so they do not immediately wilt when topped with the warm food, or tossed with acidic dressing. The flavors also pair nicely with steak. Romaine is crisp with a mild flavor, raddichio is slightly bitter and a beautiful purple hue, while arugula is tender and spicy.

Chopped pieces of romaine and arugula in a bowl.

Vinaigrette dressing

I make this balsamic vinaigrette recipe slightly more tangy to balance out the richness of the beef. It’s prepared with a few simple pantry ingredients like dijon mustard, a hint of mayonnaise to keep the emulsion stable, salt, pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil. For a more creamy option, try a zesty blue cheese salad dressing.

Salad toppings

Colorful fruits and vegetables with a variety of crunchy creamy textures make for a harmonious dish. Cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, radish, diced red onions, and big slices of avocado are added on top.

Chopped bell pepper, carrots or red cabbage are also tasty options. Feta cheese is sprinkled on top for a pungent flavor, but goat cheese or blue cheese work great as well.

Storing

This steak salad will last up to 3 days in an airtight container stored in the refrigerator. Just wait to add the dressing and whisk before serving. This low carb recipe is also ideal for meal prepping individual portions throughout the week.

Steak salad with homemade balsamic dressing.

More classic salad recipes

Recipe Science

When to stop cooking the steak

Target medium-rare doneness, taking the meat off once it hits an internal temperature of 120 to 125°F (49 to 52ºC). This may seem early, but the 10 minutes of rest will allow for carryover cooking to occur. The meat should reach about 130ºF (54ºC). Overcooking the steak will result in tough and chewy pieces.

Steak Salad

Steak salad with juicy slices of seasoned beef on a bed of colorful greens and crunchy vegetables. Mixed together with a homemade balsamic dressing.
4.92 from 45 votes
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, optional
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Steak Salad

  • 1 pound flank steak, or flat iron steak
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
  • black pepper, for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups arugula, 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups radicchio, 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced radish
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced or diced
  • ¼ cup feta cheese

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until it becomes a thickened emulsified dressing.
  • Dry the surface of the steak with paper towels.
  • Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add the oil, once the oil is hot add the steak and press it down into the pan. Cook until the surface is browned, 4 minutes.
  • Flip the steak and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 to 125°F (49 to 52ºC) for medium-rare, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the steak to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain into ¼-inch thick pieces. Cut smaller if desired.
  • In a large serving bowl mix together the arugula, romaine, and radicchio.
  • Top salad with tomatoes, cucumber, radish, onion, steak, avocado, and feta cheese.
  • Serve steak salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 615kcal (31%)Carbohydrates 14g (5%)Protein 29g (58%)Fat 50g (77%)Saturated Fat 10g (50%)Cholesterol 77mg (26%)Sodium 519mg (22%)Potassium 1034mg (30%)Fiber 6g (24%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 4865IU (97%)Vitamin C 22.4mg (27%)Calcium 136mg (14%)Iron 3.5mg (19%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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4.92 from 45 votes (36 ratings without comment)

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14 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Natalie Odom says

    So many great things about this exciting salad but I would like to point out … the dressing is YES!!! So delicious, restaurant style.

  2. Maria T. says

    I used the marinade from your steak fajita recipe on a grilled tri-tip and that was delicious. Had leftover meat so decided this recipe was a good use for it instead of tacos. I took the meat out of the fridge and let it come closer to room temperature because I didn’t want it cold but wanted to be safe. That meat was so delicious in this salad. The dressing complimented the other ingredients. We didn’t have feta so used blue cheese. My husband was satiated and said he’d have it again. Another great warm weather meal, even better if you have leftover steak.

  3. Theresa Roberts says

    The recipe was delicious, but a note to readers that the steak cutting photo is not “against the grain”

  4. Stephanie says

    Excellent. This is the second time I have made it. Used the greens I had on hand but otherwise followed it perfectly. Thank you. Yummy and very filling for dinner.

  5. Tac says

    Maybe it’s just the picture but it sure looks like you are cutting with the grain rather than across. Confusing. Thanks.

  6. Maria Terry says

    Made this last night. It was delicious. My husband liked it too, even the feta. I really enjoyed the dressing and will add that to my repartee. I used what I had in my fridge, which was most of the ingredients. The best part is only the steak requires cooking. Great warm weather meal. Another hit Jessica.

  7. Kris says

    This salad looks amazing! I wouldn’t have thought to use the feta, as I’ve always used blue cheese and left it out of my husband’s salad. Can’t wait to try this recipe – thanks for sharing, Jessica!

  8. Steve says

    Thanks for your scientific approach to food information and recipes. I enjoy your articles and have made many of your recipes, which have all been good. The Cedar Plank Salmon was a hit with everyone each time I make it. Thanks

    I appears to me that your photographer is cutting the steak for Steak Salad with the grain. Maybe they thought the slices would look better cutting it that way.

  9. Marilynne Wilson says

    Hi Jessica! I made your wedge salad with blue cheese dressing last night and it was fabulous. Even my picky father enjoyed it!