Steak Salad

Steak salad loaded with juicy marinated steak, a rainbow of fresh veggies, crunchy croutons and creamy blue cheese dressings AKA this black n’ blue steak salad is the salad of your dreams!

This Steak Salad recipe is a hearty, fully loaded salad that’s simply irresistible.  The succulent steak boasts complex savory, tangy, sweet and spicy notes from an easy balsamic marinade that infuses the steak with tons of flavor. The buttery tender steak is complimented by smokey grilled sweet corn, crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, sweet strawberries, creamy avocados, and crunchy homemade croutons drizzled with tantalizing blue cheese dressing.  You will want to do douse the dressing on EVERYTHING.  You can dress this steak salad up or down with your favorite ingredients and prep everything ahead of time so all you have to do is grill your steak and eat!

top view of grilled steak salad with grilled corn,tomatoes and avocado in a wooden bowl

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STEAK SALAD RECIPE

I can count the times I’ve ordered steak salad on one hand.  But the last steak salad I ordered was epic.  I finished every last bite and have been dreaming about it ever since.  That was months ago, and I’ve just kept dreaming, so I thought it was time to make dreams a reality – enter this ridiculously delicious steak salad recipe.   

This steak salad recipe is even more delicious than the best steakhouse salad plus it serves your entire family at a fraction of the cost.  Furthermore, it’s not a wimpy salad, a salad that leaves you dissatisfied, unfulfilled and disappointed with your food choices; rather, it’s a robust salad, a hearty, savory, fresh, creamy, crunchy, flavorful, AKA deeply satisfying salad with unparalleled vibrancy that will have you swooning with every bite.   Here’s why you’ll love it:

How To Make BEST STEAK SALAD RECIPE:

  • The steak:  sure, you can use steak simply seasoned with salt and pepper, but for the best steak salad, the steak needs to be utterly delicious.  This steak is utterly delicious.  It’s marinated in soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar and seasonings that make the taste buds sing and leave it buttery tender.  The best part is the marinade takes 5 minutes to whisk together and then it’s hands off until the 10 minute grill time. 
  • The dressing: homemade blue cheese dressing is where it’s at for steak salad.   It’s SO creamy and flavorful with just the right amount of kick to complement the succulent steak. Plus, it’s easy to customize with more or less blue cheese so you can make it as subtle or as sassy as you like.
  • The salad add-ins: now that we have unabashedly flavorful steak and luxuriously creamy dressing, it’s time to fortify the steak salad with add-ins.  I’ve loaded the salad with crispy romaine lettuce, juicy cherry tomatoes, creamy avocado, caramelized sweet corn, sweet strawberries, punchy red onions and crunchy croutons.  The hypnotic blend of flavors and textures will delight you anew with every crunchy, creamy, sweet and tangy bite. 

You will also love that this steak salad recipe is very flexible.  I’ve selected my favorite veggies for this salad that are bright and fresh with plenty of crunch but you can also swap them with YOUR favorites or whatever you have on hand.  You can also swap the croutons for crunchy pepitas or pecans and the strawberries for sweet mangos, pineapple, peaches or craisins.

Another huge win for this steak salad is that it’s easy to prep ahead.  You can make the dressing, make the croutons (or use store-bought of each), chop your veggies and marinate you steak so all you have to do is grill the steak when ready to serve.

What steak to use for steak salad:

Steak salad can be made with flank steak, top sirloin steak, ribeye or even filet mignon.  I tend to use flank steak because it makes steak salad an economical, weekday option instead of upholding the reputation for fancy or special occasion fare.   

Of course, you are welcome to use a pricier cut but of beef, but usually these cuts aren’t marinated, and I love the blast of flavor this marinated flank steak adds to the salad that pairs beautifully with the blue cheese dressing. Intoxicating I tell you.   

Plus, I love the how buttery tender flank steak emerges from the marinade and how quick and easy it is to cook – no special pans required, no special techniques – just throw it on your grill for 5-6 minutes per side or broil it your oven and you have gorgeously seared steak.

making steak salad by adding lettuce, steak, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, steak and blue cheese to a wooden bowl

HOW TO PURCHASE STEAK

Flank steak should be easy to find at every grocery store – another win for easy weeknight steak salad! Here are some tips and tricks for purchasing flank steak:

  • Is flank steak expensive?  Flank steak is generally one of the least expensive cuts of beef.  It is traditionally slightly more expensive than skirt steak and flap meat at $7-10 per pound.
  • Where to buy flank steak? Flank steak is widely accessible and should be easy to find at any grocery store.  It is located in the beef section or at the butcher counter. Flank steak sometimes comes packaged in marinade, so make sure to double check the packaging – for this flank steak recipe, we want just the steak.
  • What to look for when buying flank steak? Look for flank steak that’s an even, deep red color with a fair amount of fine fat running along the length of the muscles. Look for steak that is smooth verses poorly buttered steak that suffers nicks or gouges from the membrane aggressively being removed. Finally, look for the steak that’s the most uniform in thickness to avoid overcooking thin ends.
  • How do I store raw flank steak? Uncooked flank steak should be stored in its packaging until ready to marinate or transferred to a freezer bag with all excess air squeezed out. Store in packaging for up to three days.
  • How do I store cooked flank steak? Cooked flank steak should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.  Flank steak can also be frozen in an airtight container with excess air squeezed out or vacuum-sealed to prevent freezer burn.  Frozen flank steak is good for up to three months.

INGREDIENTS FOR STEAK SALAD

The ingredient list for this steak salad recipe is lengthy because it includes the steak marinade and the salad fixings.  Just keep in mind that the marinade ingredients require just seconds of dumping together and you can chop your veggies while your steak is coming to room temperature.

STEAK MARINADE

  • Olive oil: use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Soy sauceuse reduced sodium soy sauce or your grilled steak will be too salty.
  • Balsamic vinegar:  quality balsamic vinegar for the best flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce: adds a depth of complex umami, slightly tangy flavor.
  • Lemon juice: freshly squeezed is best but you can use bottled.
  • Brown sugar: balances the tangy lime juice and umami of the soy
  • Dijon mustard:  I promise it won’t make your steak taste like mustard!  It adds a depth of tanginess.
  • Seasonings: you will need common seasonings such as paprika, pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried rosemary and then dried dill weed and ground coriander to round out the flavor profile. If you don’t keep dried dill weed and ground coriander stocked, you can skip them, but I use them in a lot of other recipes so they are worth keeping stocked.

THE SALAD FIXINGS

  • Romaine lettuce: I love how crunchy romaine is but you can also use half romaine, half iceberg lettuce, your favorite spring mix or mix in some arugula, kale, etc. When using lettuce, discard any flimsy outer leaves for the crunchiest lettuce.  If you use Romaine hearts, use 8-10 cups worth.
  • Corn: you will need two ears sweet corn on the cob.  You can slice the kernels directly off of the cob OR char them for an amped up layer of smoky, juicy YUM like I do in my Corn Salsa, Avocado Corn Salsa, and Mexican Salad recipes (instructions to follow). I highly promote fresh corn in the spring/summer months but you can get away with using canned or frozen corn in the winter.  If using canned corn, take care to rinse and drain it first. If using frozen corn, you don’t need to thaw it before you add it to the hot skillet to char.
  • Tomatoes:  cherry or grape tomatoes are the perfect bite size morsels when sliced in half. Cherry tomatoes are inherently sweeter than grape tomatoes, so aim for cherry if you can.
  • Cucumbers:  I use English cucumbers so you don’t have to bother peeling them, but you may also substitute with a peeled, slicing cucumber.
  • Strawberries: might sound like on odd addition but their sweetness imparts the requisite balance to the tangy steak and pungent dressing.  If you don’t add strawberries, I suggest adding another sweet fruit.
  • Red onion:  I like the fresh pop of red onion but you may also use green onions.  If you’re not a fan of raw red onions, you can submerge them in a bowl ice water for 10 minutes to tame the zing. Make sure to dry well before adding to the salad.  
  • Avocados:  add sliced or chopped avocados for a satisfying creamy burst to complement the crunchy textures.  Make sure you use ripe avocados but not overly ripe or they will turn to mush.  To tell if an avocado is ripe, squeeze it gently. A ripe avocado should yield slightly to pressure but not feel overly soft.  If your avocados ripen before you are ready to use them, they can be stored in the refrigerator which will dramatically slow down the ripening process.  For more detailed information on how to select avocados, see my guacamole recipe.
showing how to make steak salad by thinly slicing steak

STEAK SALAD VARIATIONS

This steak salad recipe is extremely customizable.  Here are a few recipe variations:

  • Greens:  spring mix, spinach, arugula and/or kale.  It can be fun to mix and match a few options.  I just wouldn’t use all arugula as its strong pepper taste can overpower the salad.
  • Vegetables: add in or swap in broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, asparagus, mushrooms, jicama, etc. Roasted bell pepper, roasted beets, roasted potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes or roasted butternut squash would also be tasty.  
  • Fruit:  the strawberries balance the tangy dressing so I don’t promote omitting the fruit altogether but you can swap the strawberries for dried cranberries, dried cherries, pineapple, peaches, clementine oranges or mangos. If you are intimidated by mangos, don’t be, just check out my How to Cut A Mango Post that teaches everything you could ever want to know about mangos.
  • Olives: offer a delectable tanginess if olives are your thing.
  • Pickled jalapenos:  are fabulous if you love SPICY, otherwise, you might want to serve them as an optional topping.
  • Eggs:  a soft boiled egg with a runny yolk – no words, SO GOOD!
  • Bacon:  because bacon makes everything better.  I recommend thick-cut bacon so its wonderfully meaty texture doesn’t get lost in the salad.  You will want to add the bacon to the steak salad at the end with the croutons.
  • Beans:  chickpeas (especially seasoned and roasted), kidney beans or black beans.
  • The CRUNCH: every salad needs a super crunchy element whether nuts or seeds; for this steak salad, it’s the homemade croutons.  Croutons are just made for steak salad and blue cheese dressing, but you may also swap them for pepitas, sunflower seeds, pecans, etc. 

STEAK SALAD DRESSING

There are many dressings that pair well with steak salad but I don’t know if there’s one better than blue cheese dressing.  It’s the favorite pairing for steak house salads because it’s delightfully decadently creamy, pungent, sharp, zippy, sassy and salty and just plain scrumptious.   It marries all the flavors and textures together of the steak salad and requires less than 5 minutes to whisk together. 

The best part about making homemade blue cheese dressing (other than it tastes AMAZING) is you can add as little or as much blue cheese as you want.  You can even omit it altogether if you have eaters that are vehemently opposed to blue cheese (and be left with ranch) and just add blue cheese crumbles to individual servings of steak salad.  

You can also make this blue cheese dressing up  to a week ahead of time so it’s waiting for your steak salad or even double the batch because I promise you will be OBSESSED and want to put it on everything!  It’s also tasty on wedge salad, baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes, burgers, sandwiches, buffalo chicken sliders, wraps, pizza, a dip for hot wings, roasted broccoli, etc.

showing how to make steak salad by stirring blue cheese dressing in a glass jar with a gold spoon

How To Make Blue Cheese Dressing:

This homemade blue cheese dressing comes together in minutes by whisking together just a few simple ingredients.  You will need:

  • Blue cheese: crumbles can be found in the deli/specialty cheese section of your grocery store.  There is a huge range in pungency so you might want to start with less crumbles and add more to taste.
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt: I prefer sour cream but Greek yogurt also works well because we are making a tangy dressing.  If the dressing is too tangy by using Greek yogurt, add a teaspoon or so of honey.  Fat-free sour cream or yogurt both work great as well, just don’t use regular yogurt because it is not nearly as thick as Greek yogurt.
  • Mayonnaise:  provides the creamy base of the dressing and binds all of the ingredients together.  You can also use avocado mayonnaise for a healthier alternative.
  • Lemon juice:  we only need one tablespoon so you can use fresh or bottled lemon juice and use more or less to taste.  I like to freeze fresh lemon juice in ice cube trays so I always have fresh juice on hand.
  • Fresh herbs:  you can use 1 tablespoon fresh parsley and dill or 1 teaspoon dried.
  • Seasonings.  dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder salt, pepper round out the flavor profile.  Along with the parsley and dill, these seasonings create the swanky DIY ranch flavoring.  

STEAK SALAD DRESSING VARIATIONS

Although blue cheese dressing is our favorite for this steak salad recipe, the salad is also tasty with other dressings which might be your favorite depending on your mood. I’ve listed some of my other favorite salad dressings below.  Some recipes are strictly salad dressing posts and others are salad recipe posts, so just use the dressing portion.  Here’s a breakdown of your other options:

  • Tomatillo Avocado Ranchadds a southwest flair and is a tasty option if you still want ranch undertones without the blue cheese. This dressing is not only made with tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime but avocados!
  • Jalapeno Ranch:  is another great option for the non-blue cheese loves.  Simply mix together 3 tablespoons ranch dry seasoning dressing mix, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup milk and 1 seeded, chopped jalapeno.  You can also use the seasonings in the homemade blue cheese dressing instead of the ranch dressing mix.
  • Creamy Lemon Chive Dressing:  is bright and fresh made with lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon, and herbs.
  • Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing: made with tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime and smoked paprika to create a luscious dressing packed with irresistible tangy, punchy flavor – one of my favorite dressings of all time!
  • Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette: is bright, tangy and refreshing made with cilantro, lime, mint, apple cider vinegar, garlic and a touch of honey.
  • Mojo Vinaigrette: is a fabulous olive-oil based dressing that’s bright, fresh, tangy, zesty, citrusy, garlicky, peppery and slightly sour.  
  • Balsamic Lemon Basil Vinaigrette:  is layered with hints of balsamic, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon, honey, garlic, and of course basil.  It’s boldly flavorful yet complementary and not overwhelming at the same time.
  • Italian dressing:  is 1000X better than store bought! It is a balanced tangy and testy blend of olive oil, red wine vinegar, pantry herbs and spices and the best part – Parmesan Cheese! 
  • Honey Lime Vinaigrette: is bright, tangy, zippy, sassy.

HOW TO MAKE STEAK SALAD

Tenderize steak.  Place steak in between two pieces of plastic wrap or I just place it in a freezer size plastic bag.  Pound it evenly with a meat mallet or side of a can. 

showing how to make steak salad recipe by tenderizing with a meat mallet

Marinate steak.  Whisk the flank steak marinade ingredients together directly in a freezer size Ziploc bag (yay for no dishes!).  Add steak, press out excess air and seal.   Massage the marinade into the steak with your hands through the outside of the bag.  Turn the bag over a couple times so it wraps up and the steak is completely enclosed in the marinade.   Marinate for 4-12 hours.

showing how to make steak salad recipe by marinating steak in freeze size plastic bag

Make dressing.  While the steak is marinating, make the blue cheese dressing, the croutons and chop the veggies. To make the dressing, add the blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, parsley, chives, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper to jar or bowl and whisk to combine.  Add additional milk as needed.  Cover and store in the refrigerator. Can be made up to one week in advance.

showing how to make steak salad recipe by adding dressing ingredients of mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, dill, parsley and blue cheese to a tan bowl

Make croutons.  Homemade croutons are SO easy to make at home and absolutely scrumptious! Simply add cubed bread and drizzled with olive oil then sprinkle with spices; toss until evenly coated. Spread bread into an even layer onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until golden.

a collage showing how to make croutons for steak salad recipe by tossing croutons in olive oil with two hands then baking until golden

Grill steak. Place steak on a hot, clean, greased grill over direct heat. Grill steak for 5-6 minutes per side and only flip ONCE.  The steak needs constant direct heat to develop the intensely flavored, signature crust.  If you keep rotating the steak, it will brown but won’t char.

showing how to make steak salad by grilling flank steak on a gas grill

Rest steak before slicing.  Transfer the grilled steak to a plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing across the grain.

Assemble.  Add chopped lettuce to a large salad bowl followed by all remaining salad ingredients except croutons. Top with sliced or chopped steak.

showing how to  make steak salad by pouring blue cheese dressing onto the salad

Add dressing – or don’t.  You can either drizzle with dressing and toss OR drizzle dressing over individual plates. Garnish individual servings with croutons.  Serve immediately.

HOW TO CHAR CORN FOR STEAK SALAD

For this steak salad, you can use corn straight off the cob or you can grill it.  I love grilling corn because it results in deeply sweet, succulent, smoky corn, instead of just sweet corn.  If you don’t have time, don’t worry about it, if you do, you will LOVE it!

You can char your corn directly on the grill (no foil needed) or you can sizzle it a hot cast iron skillet.  Here is how:

TO GRILL CORN ON THE COB:

  • Peel the corn
  • Remove all the silk
  • Lightly brush all over with olive oil
  • Season with salt and pepper on all sides
  • Grease and heat grill to high heat
  • Grill corn over direct heat for 10-12 minutes, turning until lightly charred on all sides, closing the lid in between rotations.

TO CHAR CORN IN A SKILLET:

If you don’t have corn on the cob or have access to a grill, you can still char frozen, canned, or fresh corn in a cast iron skillet:

  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  • Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn starts to char, approximately 5 minutes (a few minutes longer if frozen)
  • Transfer kernels to a large bowl to cool so they don’t continue to cook.
showing how to make steak salad recipe by charring corn in a skillet

HOW TO STORE AND SERVE STEAK SALAD RECIPE

This steak salad recipe can be served with hot or cold steak, but I prefer steak hot off of the grill.  Here are three ways to serve this salad:

  • If not expecting leftovers:  add all of the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl.  You can toss everything together with the dressing or serve it on the side and let everyone dress their own salads.
  • If expecting leftovers: steak salad is best served fresh because once all of the veggies are combined, the juicy tomatoes, strawberries etc. begin making the salad wilt. If you expect leftovers, it is ideal to keep the ingredients separate; otherwise you can toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large salad bowl except avocados and croutons. Serve avocados, croutons and dressing on the side.  This will prevent the salad from getting as soggy when storing.
  • Salad Bar.  If you have picky eaters or want a fun entertaining idea, then consider a salad bar where everyone can pile on as much or as little of their favorite toppings.  This also works the best for storing leftovers.  Everyone is a winner with a steak salad bar!

TIPS FOR BEST STEAK SALAD RECIPE

Steak tips

Cooking flank steak is pretty fool proof, but here are some tips and tricks for the best steak every time:

  • Tenderize steak.  Even if your steak looks even, you’ll still want to give it a good pounding to tenderize it and for even cooking (works wonders!). 
  • Don’t over-marinate.  This steak marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the steak much longer than 12 hours because the acid in the marinade will begin to change the structure of the meat and the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy. That being said, I would marinate it as close to 12 hours as you can for optimal flavor and juiciness. 
  • Bring steak to room temperature. One of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking steak is grilling it straight out of the refrigerator – this is a big no-no.  Instead, the steak should be transferred to the counter 30-60 minutes before grilling so it cooks evenly.   
  • Use a hot grill. Heat the grill with the lid closed cranked to the maximum temperature so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes.  Once the grill is hot, you can adjust the temperature.  Don’t add the steak until the grill reaches temperature or it won’t sear as nicely.
  • Clean grill.  Once the grill is fully heated, clean it thoroughly with a wire grill brush.  A clean grill ensures direct contact with the heat to create a beautiful sear and grill marks and helps prevent sticking. 
  • Grease grill.  It is important to grease your grill with olive, canola or vegetable oil even though the marinade contains oil.  To do this, first clean grill per directions above.  Next, make a wad of paper towels, drench them in oil, then use tongs to rub it along the grill grates. NEVER spray a firing grill with cooking spray.
  • Only flip steak once using tongs.  Don’t use a fork to flip your steak or you’ll lose valuable juices.  Instead, use tongs to gently flip steak over ONCE for the perfect caramelized crust.
  • Cook to medium.  Flank steak is a lean cut of beef, so it is best not cooked above medium or else it can be tough and chewy instead of juicy.  I would aim for medium, meaning it will be pink in the middle.  That being said, the marinade gives you a little wiggle room, but I wouldn’t push it. 
  • Don’t overcook/use a meat thermometer.  Most steaks will take 5-6 minutes per side but this can vary depending on thickness of your steak and desired level of doneness.  The best way to see if your steak is cooked properly without overcooking is to use an instant read thermometer.
  • How to check steak temperature.  Insert the instant read thermometer into thickest part of the steak to check the temperature.  You want the temperature to register 5°F lower than the desired doneness temperature because the steak will continue to cook while resting.  I aim for 140 degrees for medium.  The steak will rise to 145 degrees after it rests. 
  • Let steak rest.  Transfer the grilled steak to a plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. While the steak cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole steak for optimal flavor and juiciness.  If you don’t allow for this calming period, valuable juices will seep out and be lost when you slice into the steak, resulting in less juicy beef.
  • Cut steak across the grain. Flank steak has dense muscle fibers that that you can see running through the steak in one direction – this is called “the grain.”  It is important to slice the steak across the grain (meaning the opposite direction/perpendicular to the grain) in order to shorten the fibers.  This will ensure your steak is melt-in-your mouth tender instead of chewy.

salad tips

  • Shortcuts.  You can use store bought blue cheese dressing and croutons. I LOVE Lite House Chunky Blue cheese. You can also purchase store-bought croutons. Go flavorful like Italian herb.
  • Use day old French bread. 1-2 day old bread is easier to slice without it caving in on itself.  Fresh bread will also work; it just isn’t as sturdy.
  • Customize ingredients.  The steak salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions.  You can use add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits.
  • Customize dressing.  Add more or less blue cheese depending on how strong your cheese is and personal preference.  You can also customize the seasonings and consistency.  
  • Chill dressing.  You’ll want to refrigerate your dressing for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, so the flavors deepen and meld. Cold dressing is also much more appetizing than lukewarm dressing. I suggest making the dressing the same time as the marinade.
  • Serve steak warm.  You can serve the salad with cold or hot steak, but I prefer the steak fresh off of the grill.
  • Salt to taste.  If the steak salad feels like it’s missing something, it is probably salt and pepper. Every part of your salad should be seasoned with freshly cracked salt and pepper to enhance the flavor – just like the restaurants.
  • Prep ahead:  You can marinate your steak, make your dressing, make the croutons and chop all your veggies ahead of time and store in air-tight containers so all that’s left is to do is assemble and EAT! Detailed prep ahead instructions to follow.
  • Multi-task. If you don’t prep ahead, it’s easy to chop all of the ingredients while your steak is coming to room temperature before grilling. 
  • Don’t dress salad.  Wait to drizzle the dressing on the steak salad until you’re ready to serve.   Don’t dress the entire salad unless you don’t expect leftovers because dressed salad will become soggy.
  • Hold avocados.  If you’re anticipating leftovers, you may want to omit the avocados from the salad and use them as a topping so they don’t brown upon storage. 
top view showing how to serve steak salad recipe by layering Romaine lettuce with grilled steak, tomatoes, corn, croutons, avocados, cucumbers and strawberries

DOES THIS SALAD KEEP WELL AS LEFTOVERS?

Steak salad only lasts 1-2 in the refrigerator even if you hold the dressing because the juicy tomatoes and strawberries make the lettuce wilt. If you plan on storing leftovers, hold the strawberries, tomatoes, avocados and croutons and store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. If you follow this technique, the salad can last 3-5 days.

WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?

I love that you can prepare this steak salad recipe ahead of time so that the salad can come together in minutes when it’s time to serve. Here’s how:

  • Steak:  can be marinated 12 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  
  • Chop vegetables: you can chop your lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers ahead of time.  You can also grill your corn. I will add the chopped vegetables to separate paper towels, fold up the paper towels around the contents and place in sandwich bags – this keeps excess moisture away from the veggies to keep them fresh.  I do not recommend storing your pre-cut veggies longer than a day because the beauty of this salad is its freshness.
  • Croutons: can be baked, cooled completely and stored in an airtight container up to one week in advance.
  • Make dressing: can be made in advance and stored it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  The dressing stores for about 7 days in the refrigerator, so just take into account how long you will store it after making the salad to know how long you can make it in advance.

HOW TO MEAL PREP STEAK SALAD

The key to meal prepping steak salad is layering the salad ingredients in a specific order so the ingredients don’t become soggy.  Layer the ingredients in the desired number of containers in the following order:

  • 1) steak, 2) corn, 3) tomatoes, 4) strawberries, 5) all other veggies 6) lettuce
  • Divide croutons into separate airtight containers or plastic bags.
  • Keep avocados whole and slice/chop just before serving
  • Divide dressing into smaller airtight containers or plastic bags.

WHAT DO YOU SERVE WITH STEAK SALAD?

Steak salad is practically a meal-in-itself with the protein, veggies and croutons  – the only thing left to add is fruit!  We love this salad with a simple side of watermelon or grapes or slightly more elaborate fruit salad with honey lime vinaigrettetropical fruit salad, melon salad or berry salad in honey mascarpone.

It’s also scrumptious with carby cornbread,  garlic breaddinner rollsgarlic Parmesan butter breadsticks or pesto pull apart bread.

Looking for more summer salad recipes?

side view of steak salad recipe in a wooden bowl with sliced steak, corn, croutons, tomatoes, avocados and strawberries

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Black and Blue Steak Salad

This Steak Salad recipe is a hearty, fully loaded salad that’s simply irresistible. The succulent steak boasts complex savory, tangy, sweet and spicy notes from an easy balsamic marinade that infuses the steak with tons of flavor. The buttery tender steak is complimented by smokey grilled sweet corn, crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, sweet strawberries, creamy avocados, and crunchy homemade croutons drizzled with tantalizing blue cheese dressing. You will want to do douse the dressing on EVERYTHING. You can dress this steak salad up or down with your favorite ingredients and prep everything ahead of time so all you have to do is grill your steak and eat!
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

Steak

Salad

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce chopped
  • 2 ears corn on the cob
  • half English cucumber halved and sliced
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 avocado chopped or sliced
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced

Blue Cheese Ranch

  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise I use low-fat
  • 1/2 cup sour cream may sub Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Blue cheese crumbles more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 TBS EACH freshy chopped parsley and chives OR 2 tsp EACH dried
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk more or less as needed

Easy Croutons

  • 1/2 loaf French bread, cubed preferably day old
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried basil, dried parsley, garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH dried thyme, dried oregano salt, pepper

Instructions

  • STEAK. Click on “marinated flank steak” in the ingredients. You can use the “jump to recipe" button at the top of the page to go directly to the recipe. Marinate steak according to recipe directions. Grill steak after the salad is assembled and you are ready to serve; best served slightly warm.
  • DRESSING. Add the Blue Cheese Dressing ingredients to jar or bowl and whisk to combine. Add additional milk as needed. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Best if chilled at least one hour. Dressing can be made up to one week in advance.
  • CROUTONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or use a nonstick mat. Add cubed bread to the baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil then sprinkle with spices; toss until evenly coated. Spread bread into an even layer and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  • CORN: Grilling the corn is optional but adds a delicious smokiness. You may also cut the corn straight off of the cob and use raw in the salad.
  • Lightly brush each ear of corn with olive oil, and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Grease and heat grill to high heat. Once hot, add corn and close the lid. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, rotating the corn until all of the sides are lightly charred, about 10-12 minutes, closing the lid in between rotations. Set the corn aside and allow to cool enough to handle. Cut the kernels off of the cob.
  • ASSEMBLE: Add chopped lettuce to a large salad bowl followed by all remaining salad ingredients except croutons. Season with freshly cracked salt and pepper. Top with sliced or chopped steak. You can either drizzle with dressing and toss OR drizzle dressing over individual plates. Garnish individual servings with croutons. Serve immediately.

Notes

HOW TO STORE AND SERVE 

This steak salad recipe can be served with hot or cold steak, but I prefer steak hot off of the grill.  Here are three ways to serve this salad:
  • If not expecting leftovers:  add all of the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl.  You can toss everything together with the dressing or serve it on the side and let everyone dress their own salads.
  • If expecting leftovers: steak salad is best served fresh because once all of the veggies are combined, the juicy tomatoes, strawberries etc. begin making the salad wilt. If you expect leftovers, it is ideal to keep the ingredients separate; otherwise you can toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large salad bowl except avocados and croutons. Serve avocados, croutons and dressing on the side.  This will prevent the salad from getting as soggy when storing.
  • Salad Bar.  If you have picky eaters or want a fun entertaining idea, then consider a salad bar where everyone can pile on as much or as little of their favorite toppings.  This also works the best for storing leftovers.  Everyone is a winner with a steak salad bar!

salad tips and tricks

  • Shortcuts.  You can use store bought blue cheese dressing and croutons. I LOVE Lite House Chunky Blue cheese. You can also purchase store-bought croutons. Go flavorful like Italian herb.
  • Use day old French bread. 1-2 day old bread is easier to slice without it caving in on itself.  Fresh bread will also work; it just isn’t as sturdy.
  • Customize ingredients.  The steak salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions.  You can use add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits.   
  • Different dressing.  You can also use a different dressing if blue cheese isn't your thing.  I've included several dressing options in the post. 
  • Customize dressing.  Add more or less blue cheese depending on how strong your cheese is and personal preference.  You can also customize the seasonings and consistency. 
  • Don't skip fruit.  The strawberries balance the tangy dressing and steak so I don’t promote omitting the fruit altogether but you can swap the strawberries for dried cranberries, dried cherries, pineapple, peaches, clementine oranges or mangos. 
  • Chill dressing.  I suggest making the dressing at the same time as the marinade.  If you're short on time, stick the dressing in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.  
  • Salt to taste.  If the steak salad feels like it’s missing something, it is probably salt and pepper. Every part of your salad should be seasoned with freshly cracked salt and pepper to enhance the flavor – just like the restaurants.
  • Prep ahead:  You can marinate your steak, make your dressing, make the croutons and chop all your veggies ahead of time and store in air-tight containers so all that’s left is to do is assemble and EAT! Detailed prep ahead instructions in post.
  • Multi-task. If you don’t prep ahead, it’s easy to chop all of the ingredients while your steak is coming to room temperature before grilling. 
  • Don’t dress salad.  Wait to drizzle the dressing on the steak salad until you’re ready to serve.   Don’t dress the entire salad unless you don’t expect leftovers because dressed salad will become soggy.
  • Hold avocados.  If you’re anticipating leftovers, you may want to omit the avocados from the salad and use them as a topping so they don’t brown upon storage. 

HOW TO MEAL PREP 

The key to meal prepping steak salad is layering the salad ingredients in a specific order so the ingredients don’t become soggy.  Layer the ingredients in the desired number of containers in the following order:
  • 1) steak, 2) corn, 3) tomatoes, 4) strawberries, 5) all other veggies 6) lettuce
  • Divide croutons into separate airtight containers or plastic bags.
  • Keep avocados whole and slice/chop just before serving
  • Divide dressing into smaller airtight containers or plastic bags.v

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