Recipe: Marinated Flank Steak Salad
For those who are keto-curious, here’s a meal Lindsey came up with that can give you a taste of what it’s like — high fat, tons of veggies, a little protein, and no grain in sight. It looks amazing and I’m sure it tastes even better. But maybe my favorite part of the post is learning about smoked salt. I’d never even heard of it!
I really love that Lindsey teaches us about ingredients and techniques when she shares her amazing recipes. I always learn new things from Lindsey’s posts.
Here’s what Lindsey says:
One of my children asked what my favorite food was and it started a little discussion with everyone. I had a hard time answering because I just love food of all kinds. My oldest daughter said, “I think your favorite food is salad, Mom.” And you know what? She’s right! Give me a huge bowl of salad filled with an array of toppings and I’m in heaven. This Marinated Flank Steak Salad is no different!
I have at least one big salad a day. It’s a great way for me to get in a bunch of leafy greens and veggies and it takes a little while to eat so I can’t just eat on the go. (I’m trying to be more intentional about taking time to enjoy my meals.) Salad as a meal is my favorite because it’s one of those things that can easily be modified, if needed, to fit my family’s preferences. Though if I’m honest, my son modifies his so that it only includes the steak. Ha!
Busy nights are great for salad. And while this may seem complicated at first look, it’s really very easy. You just mix up the marinade, add to the meat, let it sit for at least 30 minutes or longer, if needed. I like to prep this in the morning while we’re getting kids ready and off to school and put it together at dinnertime. To make things even easier, you could use store-bought marinade and dressing.
The marinade is one of my favorites and I hope you’ll give it a try yourself. It’s based a little bit on a rub that I use for roasted chicken. The secret ingredient is the smoked salt.
Smoked salt has been in my cupboard as a staple for almost about 8 years now. It used to be a special order kind of ingredient, but not you can find it in most grocery stores. It’s a great way to add a smoky flavor without using a grill. It adds tons of flavor to this steak. If you can’t find it or prefer not to use it, just substitute with regular salt. Smoked paprika can also be used in place of the regular paprika. (As a note, the paprika in this recipe is not the hot, spicy one. It’s “sweet” paprika.”)
The dressing can be prepped in advance. It’s a great all-purpose red wine vinaigrette with fresh oregano. Dried oregano can be used, as it is in the marinade, but I like the herb-y punch of flavor from the fresh.
Now let’s talk about the salad fixings. Arugula is one of my all-time favorites. It is tender and has loads of flavor. Some arugula is a little peppery, which can be off-putting to some. I opt for wild or baby arugula because it’s more mild in flavor.
Spring is on the horizon and asparagus is popping up in stores again. I love lightly sautéing asparagus in a hot pan and adding it to salads. The pieces stay bright green and tender crisp.
For color and sweetness, grape or cherry tomatoes are perfect. If tomatoes aren’t your thing, strawberries are so, so good in this salad too.
And to top it off, a trio of salad classics: crumbled feta, red onion, and toasted almonds. Each bite is a combination of sweet, savory, salty, crunchy, herb-y, and tangy.
The steak is just a bonus to turn it from a side into a meal.
Be sure to check out the recipe notes for extra tips and variations for the best dinner salad ever.
Marinated Flank Steak Salad
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 2 hours (including marinating and resting time)
Cook time: 15 minutes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons paprika (sweet, not hot)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1.5 to 2 lbs. flank steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
16 ounces fresh asparagus
Salt and pepper, to taste
10 ounces wild or baby arugula, washed well and spun dry
1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted slivered or sliced almonds
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely minced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Combine marinade ingredients and place in a shallow dish or large resealable plastic bag. Add the flank steak and turn it over a few times so it’s coated in the marinade. If using a bag, squeeze as much air out as possible and seal. Place steak in refrigerator to marinate at least one hour, or up to overnight. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cooking.
2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together or place in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until well-combined. If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Just before cooking the steak, snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Preheat a large skillet (the same one you’ll use for the steak) over medium-high heat.
4. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the skillet and add the asparagus pieces. Season with a little salt and pepper. Allow the asparagus to brown a little on each side, but only cook until tender-crisp and bright green. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly.
5. Wipe out the skillet. Add a little olive oil to the skillet, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat for 10-15 seconds until shimmering. Place the steak in the pan and allow to cook for 7-8 minutes. It should sizzle and form a deep brown crust. Flip over and cook on the other side for 7-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the flank steak and desired level of doneness. Remove from the heat and set on a platter. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for about 10-12 minutes .
6. While the steak is resting, prepare the salad. Place the arugula into a large bowl or on a platter.
7. After the steak has rested, place on a cutting board and thinly slice with a very sharp knife against the grain. (Leave any juices on the cutting board.) Transfer the steak strips to the bowl or platter with the salad. Drizzle with half of the dressing and serve immediately. Pass extra dressing alongside the salad.
– Chicken, pork tenderloin, or salmon are good substitutes for the steak. If using fish, marinate for a maximum of 30 minutes. Cooking time will be different depending on which protein is used.
– To save time, pre-marinated meat (or other protein) can be used or use your favorite store-bought marinade.
– A store-bought dressing can be substituted for the red wine vinaigrette.
– Baby spinach or lettuce mix can be used in place of the arugula.
– Other veggies can be used in place of the asparagus: sugar snap peas, green beans, carrots, or broccoli would make great choices. Leave raw or quickly saute as directed in the recipe.
– Any salty cheese can be substituted for feta such as Parmesan, Romano, ricotta salata, chevre (goat cheese), Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, etc.
– Strawberries make an excellent substitute for the tomatoes; red bell peppers (fresh or roasted) are another great alternative.
– Walnuts or pecans can be substituted for the almonds.
Oh my goodness. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Thank you, Lindsey! I want a giant plate of this in front of me right this minute. Anyone else a big salad fan like Lindsey?
P.S. — Easy sheet-pan dinners.
Credits: Photos and recipe by Lindsey Rose Johnson.