Southwestern Steak Salad

One of my favorite meals this pregnancy so far has been steak salads. I just can’t get enough of ’em. Juicy, flavorful flank steak over crisp salad greens and lots of veggies. It speaks to my soul.

My love affair began last fall with The Pioneer Woman’s chipotle steak salad and then grew from there. For the past few months, we’ve been eating several different steak salad variations and I have to say, this Southwestern one is my current fave. Adam totally agreed. The guy was in hog heaven two nights ago when I served him up a big plateful. We both went back for seconds.
The secret is the marinade! The spicy grated cheese and crushed tortilla chips tossed in don’t hurt either. We only buy grass fed meat and I think that really makes a difference, too. Happy cows make for happy steaks, right? {cue vegetarians to start throwing things at me}
This tastes like summer and the best part is that you don’t even have to fire up the grill. You can easily make this on the stove in a grill pan or cast iron skillet!

Just look at that pretty green marinade! Warning though: if you’re not a cilantro fan this recipe might not be for you. That marinade is full of the stuff….and jalapeno peppers….and garlic…and lime. Yum. You can easily whip it up in your blender or food processor, too.
I like to marinate my meat in a plastic ziploc baggie because it doesn’t get another dish dirty — just make sure your baggie is totally sealed before you put it in the fridge!

Just look at that color! Making my mouth water right there.
I tossed cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, avocado, spicy grated cheese and crushed tortilla chips into the lettuce mix I got last week from our CSA box. As much as I love our CSA, I can’t wait until our garden gets growing so we can eat the greens grown right in our own backyard. Two weeks ago I planted kale, Swiss chard, romaine, onions and bok choy out there. I owe y’all a garden post soon!
I kept the salad dressing simple on this one — just a nice, light oil and vinegar. My favorite.
Don’t let the long(ish) list of ingredients scare you away….it’s really just all stuff you’d throw into a salad anyway. If you don’t something I listed, just use whatever you have on hand. Avocados and spicy cheese are definitely a must though, in my opinion.

for marinade ~
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of pepper

for salad ~
  • 1 lb flank steak, preferably grass fed / organic
  • big bunch of salad greens {spinach, romaine…whatever you have on hand}
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • big handful of crushed blue corn tortilla chips
  • 4 oz hot Habanero cheese, grated {we love this one by Cabot!}
  • 1 avocado, chopped

for dressing ~
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp mustard

  1. Place all marinade ingredients in either a food processor or a high speed blender and process until smooth. Pour marinade over steak in a large ziploc bag and seal. Massage marinade all over steak and place in the fridge for 2-5 hours {longer the better!}.
  2. After the steak has finished marinating, remove from the fridge and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes before you cook it. Heat a grill pan over medium / high heat with a little olive oil on the bottom. When hot, add the steak and cook for 6-8 minutes per side, depending on how done you like your steak and how thick of a cut it is. Keep in mind that you can always put the steak back on the heat if it’s not done but you can’t take back if you cook it too long. Plus, it will carry-over cook after you remove it from the pan.
  3. Let cooked steak rest on a cutting board while you assemble the salads.
  4. Put salad greens in two big bowls and top with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, crushed tortilla chips and spicy grated cheese. Mix together the dressing ingredients in a small dish and pour over salads. Toss well.
  5. Cut steak against the grain into thin strips. Place on salads and serve!

total time ~ 4 hours
active time ~ 25 minutes