April 26, 2015

Baja Grilled Flank Steak Salad

We use our grill all year long (yes, even when it's below freezing and snow is on the ground!), but as the days get longer and the weather gets nicer, I add more and more grilled meals to our weekly dinner menu. It's so nice to throw something on the grill then sit and relax with a glass of wine and catch up with my husband after a long day at work. The added bonus? Fewer dishes to clean-up!

I love a good salad for dinner and I'm perfectly content to go completely meat-free, as long as I have enough chopped up veggies to satisfy my appetite. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't mind having salads for a main course, as long as I include some sort of protein. Grilled steak, chicken, salmon or shrimp are quick and easy and make for excellent toppings to a fresh green salad. When I saw this recipe for a flank steak salad, combined with my favorite ingredients (tomato, avocado and cheese), I knew it would be a winner. And, the lemon-lime dressing is super easy and just the perfect flavor for this Southwest meal.

Baja Grilled Flank Steak Salad
SkinnyTaste Cookbook


1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper

1 lb. flank steak, trimmed of all external fat


2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced scallions
1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper


2 medium ears fresh corn or 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
1 large head romaine lettuce cut lengthwise into 4 wedges
1 medium Hass avocado, thinly sliced
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese

For the Spice Rub: In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, salt, cumin, paprika, oregano, and chipotle powder.

Generously season each side of the steak with the dry rub and, using your hands, rub it into the meat. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

For the Lemon-Lime Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, scallions, cilantro, salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Set aside.

Preheat a grill to medium-high (or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat).

For the Salad: If using fresh corn, grill the corn, turning often, until the corn is charred on all sides, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Increase the heat of the grill or grill pan to high. Grill the steak for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or longer to your taste. Remove the steak from the grill, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and set aside.

Thinly slice the steak 1/4 inch thick, across the grain and at an angle to the cutting board, then cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

Put a romaine wedge on each of the serving plates, top each with one-fourth of the grilled steak. Dividing evenly, top with the avocado, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Drizzle the dressing over the salads.

Serves: 4

My Notes:

Flank steak has a tendency to get tough very quickly, so most recipes call for some sort of a marinade to help break down the connective tissues. This recipe could benefit from some sort of a lime-based marinade (perhaps substituting the Asian seasonings with a little bit of cumin and cayenne pepper), as it was a little tough, in spite of my usual cooking methods for this particular cut of beef. I never cook it for more than 10 minutes total (5 minutes on each side). Also, prior to grilling the steak, I allow it to sit out on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes, and I also let it rest for 10 minutes after grilling. If you decide to use a marinade, I recommend that you dry the steak with paper towels before applying the rub.

With this salad, I chopped the romaine into bite-sized pieces rather than four individual wedges. I used regular tomatoes, cut into wedges.

The cotija cheese and lemon-lime dressing create a wonderful flavor with the other ingredients. I recommend doubling the dressing. You'll want to have more for your leftovers.

We ate less than half of the steak with our two salads, so I saved the rest and used some for steak & cheese quesadillas, later in the week. 

Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.


  1. That looks amazing! I'm heading to B&N this afternoon... finally going to spring for the SkinnyTaste cookbook.

    1. So, did you get a copy?! You're gonna love it, JoAnn!

  2. I love to make a flank steak recipe, it makes a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

    1. It really is a great quick-and-easy meal, isn't it, Diane? I have a couple of other recipes for flank steak that are my go-to meals in the summer.

  3. I love the flavor combination here! We're the same way in the summer with salads and grilled meat, especially once my husband went on a low-carb diet. I wouldn't mind going without the meat, but he would miss it. We do meatless Fridays all year round, though.

    1. Laurie, I love the flavor combo here, too. Especially that Mexican cheese. Yum!

      Wish I could convince my husband to go with a meatless day. He'd probably make up for it at work at lunchtime. ;)

  4. Oooo, I'll have to copy down that dressing recipe. It sounds delicious!

    1. Cecelia, I love the fresh, light flavor of this dressing. I'm terrible about making my own salad dressings, but this was so simple. It's going to become a staple, I'm sure of it!

  5. First of all, your new header picture is gorgeous! Second, that salad sounds lovely. When I saw flank steak though I was curious if you would marinade it. That is a tough cut, mostly used for fajitas here. LOL

    1. Oh, thanks Kay! You've inspired to to change my header once again. I used to switch it out every month and got lazy.

      The salad is wonderful, but I'll bet any kind of steak would work. We grilled some tenderloins this weekend and I'm going to use the leftovers for this recipe in a couple of nights. It won't have the rub, but at least it will have all the salad ingredients and the dressing. Should be fantastic! Next time I make this particular recipe, I'm going to marinate the steak for a couple of hours. Hopefully, that will help with the toughness.

  6. I love flank steak, but I know what you mean about a marinade with some acid. We too grill all year round -- even in the snow. Glad to know we're not alone. And I LOVE your header.

    1. Our BBQ is on the deck right outside our dining room, so it's pretty easy to fire it up no matter what the weather's doing. I did discover a few years ago, though, that I need to add time to my grilling when the outside temp is in the teens. I also make sure to warm up our dinner plates since everything seems to cool down very quickly when it's cold & snowy outside!

      Thanks for your kind words about my header. My neighbors have a gorgeous tree that we can see from our front porch. Beautiful blossoms in the spring!

  7. I wonder what we call flank steak here in NZ??? Cheers from CArole's chatter

    1. Carole, do you have skirt steaks? I think this would be similar.

    2. Go here for images of a flank steak. Hope this helps!


I may not answer your comments in a timely fashion, but I always answer. Check back soon!