Looking for a fresh way to enjoy a beautifully cooked steak at home? Consider a delicious steak salad. While a classic dinner of steak and potatoes is always a treat, there may be times when something a bit lighter is preferred. A steak salad is still hearty and filling but also packed with nutritious veggies for a health-conscious twist. It's also a wonderful way to use any leftover steak from a previous dinner. By transforming some sliced steak into a salad, you can enjoy a wonderfully cooked cut over multiple meals.
What Type of Steak Is Best for a Salad?
A number of different cuts of beef are a great match for a steak salad. Some popular options include:
- Top sirloin steak
- Flat iron steak
- Flank steak
- Hanger steak
- New York strip steak
Each of these steaks slices well into nice, thin strips perfect for pairing with leafy greens. These cuts of beef also have a hearty flavor that can stand up to bold flavors in the salad, such as peppery arugula, tangy balsamic vinaigrette and funky blue cheese.
Although the cuts listed above are some of the most popular choices for a steak salad, feel free to experiment with other flavors. For example, if you prefer a rich, luscious flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture, pair your salad with a beautiful piece of authentic Wagyu beef. The exquisite marbling in this type of beef gives it a buttery richness that makes for a luxurious at-home dining experience.
Steak Salad Recipe
This recipe is just like a classic steak salad you might enjoy at a fine dining restaurant. It has all the comfort of your own home. It involves pan-searing the steak, which gives each slice a beautifully crisp crust. However, grilled steak is another great option for steak salads, especially if you enjoy a bit of that charred flavor on your steak.
- 1 lb. steak of your choice
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 red onion
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups mixed greens (spinach, romaine, kale, etc.)
- 2 cups arugula
- 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
- Balsamic vinegar dressing (see below for instructions)
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. This will ensure that the steak is able to cook evenly throughout.
- Pat the steak dry with paper towels. Then, liberally season with salt and pepper on each side.
- Heat the pan on medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
- Sear the steak for about three to four minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Allow the steak to form a nice crust on the exterior. Use tongs to turn the steak on its sides to render the marbling and sear the edges. (Note: Very thin or high-end steaks such as Wagyu beef may cook much faster and have less fat to render. Monitor them closely to avoid overcooking.)
- Remove the steaks from the heat once they reach the desired internal temperature. Allow the steaks to rest for at least five minutes prior to slicing and adding to the salad. This allows the juices to be redistributed and the steak to become more tender.
- While the steak rests, combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure the greens are washed and dried before adding them. Toss to combine.
- Slice the steak against the grain, then add the steak to the salad. The steak slices should be about ¼" wide.
- Drizzle with homemade balsamic vinaigrette (instructions below).
Balsamic Vinegar Dressing Recipe
Balsamic vinegar dressing is an excellent match for a steak salad. It allows the steak to take center stage, but it still has a wonderfully complex and punchy flavor that serves as a nice complement. A good balsamic vinaigrette will also help to cut some of the richness of the steak and highlight the light and fresh flavors it's being paired with.
When following this balsamic vinaigrette recipe, consider making extra by doubling the batch. You can keep this versatile and flavorful dressing in your fridge for several days to pair with other salads and meals.
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional to taste
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a medium-sized bowl or large measuring cup.
- Whisk the ingredients together, then place in a cruet, bottle or jar that makes it easy to pour.
Ideas for Different Flavor Profiles
The recipe above is a very classic and simple steak salad primarily based on arugula, steak and dressing. However, this is only one way to enjoy a steak salad. The great thing about this dish is that it's easy to switch up the flavor profiles. With so many options, you may find yourself adding steak salad to your regular meal rotation at home so you can try them all.
The most classic add-ins for this salad are cherry tomatoes, red onion and blue cheese. However, you can create all kinds of fun twists on this classic combination by using other veggies. Here are some ideas to spark your culinary creativity:
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
- Roasted red peppers
- Roasted beets
- White onions
- Grilled corn
- Crumbled bacon
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Chopped walnuts
- Sliced almonds
- Par-boiled potato
- Dried cranberries
- Goat cheese
Of course, you can also switch up the dressing that you use. Balsamic vinaigrette is a popular option for adding an acidic and tangy bite. However, other dressings can also add a lot of flavor to steak, including blue cheese dressing, honey mustard dressing, cilantro lime dressing and Caesar dressing.