I love a crisp, cool salad, especially in the summer time. After all, I’m a woman; isn’t it programmed into my DNA? Just kidding. I also love a nice, juicy, medium-rare grilled steak. And ladies, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about, because I get the feeling you do. Yes, it’s so very lady-like to eat a nice, healthy salad—-so good for the diet, so good for the figure. But you know just as well as I do that there’s something primal that gets touched in your culinary soul when you smell a steak being grilled, smoking and sizzling away, juices spattering, nice, seared crust on the outside… excuse me for just a sec, let me grab a napkin—-I think I’m drooling on my keyboard.
There are times that I crave a little something more substantial, something meaty, and a lean, perfectly grilled steak just sounds so very good; however, I don’t necessarily crave the heavier sides that typically accompany a steak dinner, rather something fresh and light. For those times, a warm, grilled steak salad is the perfect choice. Think about it: when warm, grilled steak is paired with cool, crisp greens, creamy avocado, tart cherry tomatoes, black beans, crumbled Cotija and a zesty vinaigrette, doesn’t that get your mouth watering and your tummy a rumblin’? Sure it does. It’s the best of both worlds, light and satisfying.
So let’s put our desire for a healthy salad together with our love of a grilled steak, and decide to never have to choose between the two again. A bold, warm, grilled steak salad is the perfect combination of fresh, seasonal fare and savory comfort food; and it allows for us all to enjoy the best that summertime has to offer.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Warm, Grilled Steak Salad with Cool Greens, Avocado, Black Beans and Crumbled Cotija with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
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(Serves about 4)
Steak Salad ingredients:
Flank steak (roughly 1 ½ pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle for the grill pan
2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
½ teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons limejuice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
3 romaine hearts, quartered and chopped
1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, drained, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (similar to feta)
2 avocados, sliced
1 lime, sliced into 6 wedges (4 for garnish)
2 tablespoons of raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for garnish
• Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below)
-Marinate the flank steak in a zip lock bag or on a large platter by adding the 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus all of the ingredients through the garlic powder; marinate for about half an hour.
-While steak marinates, prepare the salad by adding the chopped romaine hearts to a large salad bowl along with the black beans, the cherry tomatoes and the Cotija cheese; cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge to hold cold until ready to serve once steak is grilled.
-Next, slice the avocado into equal portions, as each person will get the equivalent of half of an avocado; place the sliced avocado onto a plate and squeeze about 2 of the lime wedges over the slices to prevent the avocado from browning; cover with plastic wrap and hold in fridge until salad is ready to be served.
-Prepare the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette below.
-To grill the flank steak, heat a grill pan on medium-high/high heat; once smoking, add the drizzle of oil and add the flank steak, grilling it for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare; once cooked, remove the steak from the grill pan and allow to rest on a large plate or cutting board for about 10 minutes; once the steak has rested, slice it on the bias against the grain to keep it tender.
-Add equal portions of the salad greens onto 4 large plates, and top with equal portions (about 4-6 ounces) of the warm, grilled steak; add equal portions of the sliced avocado to the side of each salad and sprinkle the salad with a few pumpkin seeds; finish by drizzling a generous amount of the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette over the whole salad to dress well, and add a lime wedge on the side for garnish.
Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette ingredients:
1 large bunch fresh cilantro (about 1 ¼ cups worth)
4 green onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon lime zest
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup olive oil
-In the bowl of a food processor, add all of the ingredients through the lime juice; turn the processor on, and while running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is well combined and emulsified; add to a small bowl and cover with plastic; place into fridge until ready to use.