Fresh vegetables, smoky grilled steaks, and a refreshing summery dressing, what’s tastier than this Smoky Flat Iron Steak Salad (psst..the answer is nothing!)?? This protein-packed salad is more than just a side dish, you could serve this as the main course and no one would leave the table unsatisfied. Take my advice and ditch your boring old salads for this one that is not only mouthwateringly flavorful, but also healthy at the same time.
The grocery list.
The steak marinade.
- Salted butter – You’re going to caramelize your onions in a butter and oil mixture. The butter will give the onions a salty and rich flavor. However, using just butter risks burning your onions, so that’s why you’ll also be using olive oil.
- Olive oil – Avocado oil works as a substitute, but I prefer the subtle olive oil flavor that this lends to the caramelized onions.
- Sweet onions – Sweet onions caramelize best.
- Kosher salt – Salt and sugar assist in the onions’ caramelization process.
- Granulated sugar (or coconut sugar) – If you prefer using coconut sugar to regular granulated sugar, go for it!
- Chipotles in adobo – For those that don’t know, chipotles in adobo are jalapeños that are smoked and dried, canned in a tomato purée, along with some other spices. This ingredient will add some spice to your marinade.
- Maple syrup – A common ingredient in many marinades, maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness.
- Balsamic vinegar – Every marinade needs an acidic ingredient. I use vinegar in a lot of my marinades. I love the flavor of balsamic vinegar!
- Garlic – I love the flavor of garlic and use it in so many of my savory dishes!
- Oregano – I used dried oregano for this marinade.
- Cumin – Cumin has such a bold flavor, it can sometimes be difficult to cook with because it can overpower the other flavors. That does not happen in this dish; it blends in really well in this marinade.
- Toasted sesame oil – Such a great nutty flavor.
- Lime juice – I love adding lemon or lime juice to my salads, it makes them taste so fresh and summery!
- Fish sauce – This fish sauce is just anchovies and sea salt, so it adds a pretty straight up fish flavor. If you don’t like fish, feel free to omit this from your dressing.
- Black pepper – Salt and pepper always help to bring out the other flavors in savory dishes.
The salad fixings.
- Flat iron steaks – It’s always a good month when I can get flat iron steaks in my ButcherBox!
- Lime – To squeeze over your steak, yum!
- English cucumber – Cucumbers are a must for almost any salad! They are so refreshing and add a delicious crunch to your meal.
- Mini heirloom tomatoes – I prefer to use mini tomatoes for salads rather than slicing up full-sized tomatoes because when using regular tomatoes sliced the juices almost always run and can make the other salad ingredients soggy, which is not ideal if you have leftovers that will sit in the tomato juices for an extended period of time.
- Edamame – Edamame has a very subtle nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness.
- Green onions – So crunchy and flavorful!
- Fresh mint leaves – Mint, cilantro and lime is a classic trio of flavors that this dish has mastered.
- Cilantro leaves
- Romaine or little gem lettuce – I would recommend using romaine or little gem lettuce for this recipe because of their crunch.
Marinate the steak.
To start the marinade, you will first caramelize your sweet onions. Begin by heating a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add the salted butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet.
It is important that you use the combination of butter and oil to adequately caramelize the onions. Using butter on its own would cause the onions to burn too quickly because it has a low smoke point. However, the butter adds flavor to the onions. The purpose of the oil is to prevent the buttery onions from burning.
When the butter is melted, add the onions. Make sure your onions are thinly sliced so they will caramelize and cook down. Toss the onions in the butter and oil within the skillet to coat them. Add a teaspoon of salt and coconut sugar to the skillet with the onions. The salt and sugar assist in the caramelization process of the onions.
Reduce the stove’s heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes until the onions are golden brown and caramelized. This should yield about ½ cup of caramelized onions.
Now that the onions are done, you will combine them with the other ingredients to make the marinade for the flat iron steak. To a blender, add ¼ cup caramelized onions, chipotles, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano and cumin. Pulse the mixture a few times to slowly break it down and then blend it completely, for 30 seconds or until smooth.
Place the flat iron steaks in a large glass bowl or baking dish. Slather the steaks wit the marinade and allow them to rest for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
Grill the steaks.
When you are ready to cook your steaks, remove the steaks from the fridge to rest on the counter and preheat the Traeger grill to 450°F.
Add the steaks to the grill, cooking for 2-3 mins on one side before flipping them. Flip each steak 2-3 times. Cook your steaks until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. Remove the steaks from the grill.
Rest the steaks for 5 minutes before slicing. Resting the meat rest after cooking it allows it to reabsorb the juices that were compressed while the steak was cooking. While they rest, squeeze ¼ of a lime over the steak as it rests. When you slice the steaks, slice it against the grain. Cutting against the grain breaks up the muscle fibers in the meat and makes the steak tender.
Prep the salad fixings.
While the steak rests, prepare the salad. To make the dressing, whisk together the fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, edamame, green onions, cilantro and mint to the bowl and toss to coat it.
Fill individual-serving-size salad bowls, or one large bowl, with clean lettuce. Scoop the dressed salad toppings onto the lettuce using a slotted spoon so some of the liquid strains as you scoop and the lettuce won’t become soggy from too much liquid. Toss the lettuce with the dressed toppings.
Slice the rested steak against the grain.
Top the salad with the sliced steak, slices of avocado and additional mint and cilantro to taste.
Make ahead option.
This recipe is relatively quick to make, but if you plan on using it for meal prep it’s a great recipe to prepare ahead of time. Marinate and cook your steaks ahead of time and store them in the fridge after letting them rest and slicing. Prepare your dressing but do not combine with the toppings. Store it on its own in the fridge. Prepare your toppings and store those in the fridge as well. You can also wash your lettuce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you assemble your Smoky Flat Iron Steak Salad. When you are ready to make your salad, combine the ingredients as instructed.
If you have leftovers of this salad, you may want to store your steak, toppings and lettuce separately from each other in the fridge if possible. When you are ready to serve, combine all the ingredients as instructed.
Looking for more salad recipes?
Here are a few to try:
Lastly, if you make this Smoky Flat Iron Steak Salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment! Above all, I love to hear from ya’ll and do my best to respond to every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of your dayyyummm good recreations is my favorite!
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- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 cups sweet onions, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 2 chipotles in adobo
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 Flat Iron Steaks
- 1/4 lime
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cup english cucumber, halved and sliced
- 1 cup mini heirloom tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup edamame
- 1/2 cup green onions
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, rough chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 12 ounces Romaine or little gem lettuce, rough chopped
- 2 avocados, sliced
- Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. To the skillet add the salted butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the thinly sliced onions and toss to coat in the butter and oil. Add a teaspoon of salt and coconut sugar and stir.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes until the onions are golden brown and caramelized. This should yield about 1/2 cup of caramelized onions.
- To make the steak marinade, add 1/4 cup of caramelized onions, chipotles, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano and cumin to a blender. Pulse a few times to break it down and then blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.
- Add the steaks to a large glass bowl or baking dish. Slather with the marinade and rest for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
- Preheat the Traeger grill to 450°F. Remove the steak from the fridge and rest on the counter while the grill preheats.
- Add the steak to the grill, cooking for 2-3 minutes before flipping. Flip 2-3 times and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. Remove from the grill and rest for 5 minutes before slices. Squeeze 1/4 of a lime over the steak as it rests.
- While the steak is resting, prepare the salad. In a large bowl whisk the fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic and pepper. To the bowl add the cucumber, tomatoes, edamame, green onions, cilantro and mint, toss to coat.
- Fill the bowls with lettuce. Scoop the dressed salad toppings, straining some of the liquid as you scoop. Toss with the lettuce.
- Slice the rested steak against the grain.
- Top the salad with the sliced steak, slices of avocado and additional mint and cilantro to taste.
Nutrition Information: Serves 4 / 675cals / 52g F / 15g C / 35g P