This Steak Salad is hearty enough to serve as the full meal, and has tons of flavor. Steak is pan seared and sliced thinly, then paired with queso fresco, avocado, tomatoes, and a fresh Cilantro Lime Dressing. It is SO satisfying and made in 20 minutes!

Steak Salad - In Low Bowl with Sliced Steak, Cilantro Dressing, Queso Fresco, Avocado, Tomato

If you’re averse to dainty salads that border on rabbit food, this filling and delicious steak salad is for you. My husband and I try to eat salad at least once a day, and we usually prefer to go the “hearty salad” route. We like to have it as our main meal for lunch or dinner so we can take care of the entire meal with minimal prep. Something like a California Cobb Salad or this steak salad works great, where there’s a good mix of protein, greens, vegetables, cheese, and a great dressing to tie it all together.

Sometimes when I get salad at a restaurant and it’s little more than dressed greens, I feel like that just isn’t salad. I need a party in a bowl with some fun ingredients going on. That’s what makes each bite magical and exciting to eat.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To make this steak salad, we’ll use mixed greens, pan seared steak (though you could also do Carne Asada, Grilled Ribeye, or Grilled Flank Steak), queso fresco, cherry tomatoes, pepitas, avocado, and red onion (which I forgot to put in the below picture). Sometimes if I have it around, I’ll swap a scoop of homemade Guacamole for the avocado.

Steak Salad Ingredients on Wooden Board Including Greens, Avocado, Cheese, Tomatoes, and Dressing

Tips for Best Results

Make sure the greens are very dry – Wash and dry the greens well in advance, then keep chilled in the fridge with paper towels to wick away any moisture. Nothing ruins a salad more than wet greens, because it totally waters down the dressing.

Use the freshest ingredients – Most people don’t realize how quickly fresh produce loses its flavor as it sits in the fridge. Try to make your grocery trip pretty close to actually making this.

Use room temperature steak – The best steak for your salad will be a piece of beef that’s freshly made, but this is also a great place to use leftover steak. If you’re using leftovers, try to pull the cooked beef from the fridge 30-60 minutes beforehand and let it warm up to room temperature. If you slice it first, it will warm up faster.

Steak Salad Recipe Plated in White Bowl With Cilantro Lime Dressing Ramekin Inside

What Cut of Beef to Use

You can use top sirloin steak, ribeye, strip steak, flat iron, flank, or even filet mignon. My preference and what I believe to be the best steak for salad is top sirloin because it’s one of the cheaper options, but still has a tenderness to it and sears beautifully.

Do you need to season the beef?

Because the cilantro lime dressing is so flavorful, adding a spice rub or flavoring to the steak is not necessary. You can certainly sear the steak plain with some salt and pepper. However, you may add extra seasoning if you enjoy it. I have a pre-mixed mole seasoning that I like putting on the beef sometimes, and that flavor profile fits in nicely here.

Pan Seared Top Sirloin Steak with Mole Seasoning

Here is a detailed post I have on Pan Seared Steak with complete instructions and step-by-step photos, so you can sear any piece of beef like a boss. You could also do a Grilled Ribeye or Grilled Flank Steak.

For the steak salad dressing, I’m using my Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing:

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing in Mason Jar on Wooden Board

It has absolutely incredible flavor, and all you have to do to make it is blend up fresh cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, greek yogurt, olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s really easy and so delicious!

Other Options for Dressing

The Cilantro Lime Dressing with the Queso Fresco is incredible paired with the steak. However, if you don’t enjoy cilantro or prefer another flavor profile, you may use a Balsamic Vinaigrette and replace the queso fresco with crumbled blue cheese, feta, or goat cheese. This Basil Vinaigrette would also work well with the beef.

Then it’s just a matter of putting all the ingredients together.

Drizzling Cilantro Lime Dressing Over Steak Salad

This is one of my top 3 favorite salads, and I really hope you give it a try. It’s good enough to be served at a restaurant, and actually better than a lot of restaurant salads dare I say, but incredibly easy to make at home. Once you’ve given this a try, check out my Mexican Corn Salad, Carrot Raisin Salad, and Shrimp Avocado Salad. Happy cooking!

Recipe Tips and FAQ

Can you store leftover Steak Salad?

Once a salad is dressed, it won’t keep well for very long. I recommend not storing for more than a day, and know that the greens will be slightly wilted. If you think you might have leftovers, keep the greens and dressing separate, and the salad will keep for at least 2 days.

Can you freeze leftover Steak Salad?

Not recommended.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.

Steak Salad In Low Bowl with Sliced Steak, Cilantro Dressing, Queso Fresco, Avocado, Tomato

Steak Salad

This Steak Salad is hearty enough to serve as the full meal for lunch or dinner, and has tons of flavor. 
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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces top sirloin steak *
  • 5 ounce package mixed greens
  • 2 ounces queso fresco crumbled**
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 avocado cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro Lime Dressing
  • salt
  • black pepper

Instructions 

  • Start by searing the steak per these instructions for How to Sear a Steak or grill your beef with the method in Grilled Ribeye or Grilled Flank Steak. Spice the steak if you wish, but it's not required. I have a mole seasoning I like to rub on the outside of the steak, but you can also just do salt and pepper since there's so much flavor in the salad. For 12 ounces of steak, I recommend 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper, assuming you're not adding seasoning that already includes salt.
  • Once the steak has been seared, let it rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly.
  • In a large bowl, toss to combine the remaining ingredients.
  • Taste and see if it needs more dressing or any adjustments. Serve immediately.

Notes

*You may also use strip, ribeye, flank, flat iron, or even filet mignon steak.
**You can also use queso blanco or cotija cheese.
Storing leftovers: Once a salad is dressed, it won’t keep well for very long. I recommend not storing for more than a day, and know that the greens will be slightly wilted. If you think you might have leftovers, keep the greens and dressing separate, and the salad will keep for at least 2 days.
Freezing: Not recommended.

Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 278mg, Potassium: 1098mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1030IU, Vitamin C: 29.4mg, Calcium: 162mg, Iron: 4.4mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.