This marinated flank steak salad with horseradish dressing recipe spans the divide between just a light dinner and a loaded plate of goodness. It is full of flavors and textures from the crunch of the sugared pecans to the creamy bite of the gorgonzola cheese.
I can’t take credit for coming up with this dish on my own. The recipe is a copycat of a salad served at Brio restaurant. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then kudos to the Brio for the inspiration.
The Best Steak Marinade
The meat for this main-dish salad is the flavorful flank steak. This lean cut of meat has an intensely beefy flavor and is so easy to grill or roast whole. Or you can butterfly it to cut it into a large thin layer of beef which is perfect for roasting as in Stuffed Flank Steak Pinwheels. You can even slice it into thin strips (against the grain please) for use in stir-frying.
Slice the flank steak correctly goes a long way to making a delicious steak. But marinading the meat boosts the flavor and tenderizes the steak at the same time. This marinade is my go-to beef marinade that is so simple to whip up. I use it for steaks and cheaper small beef cuts to give the meat a little something. It is very similar to the Zesty Grilled Pork Chop Marinade.
Creamy Horseradish Dressing
This creamy dressing starts with just that—heavy cream that is whipped until it begins to get thick, but before it looks like sloppy whipped cream (about 2-4 minutes depending on the power of your hand mixer.) The other ingredients are mixed together and then folded into the thickened cream to make a wonderful dressing that stays together. It can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Just give it a quick stir before adding to the salad to loosen everything up again. If you whip the cream too much and the dressing is too thick, add a splash of milk to thin it to the consistency you want. Remember to taste and add the horseradish to your preference (the cream will cut the sharpness, but you may want to add 3 tablespoons and then taste before adding the remaining tablespoon of prepared horseradish.
Candied Pecans for Flank Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing
While these delicious nuts may seem like a garnish for the salad, they bring both crunch and sweetness to the meal. I usually double the recipe and keep the remaining candied pecans in an air-tight container to use in other dishes or just to snack on.
A flavorful marinated flank steak salad with horseradish dressing is bursting with tastes and textures. A full meal on your plate.
- 1 pound flank steak
Balsamic Steak Marinade
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced (leaves from about 2” of rosemary twig)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 6 cups salad mix, (I usually combine a handful of spring mix with chopped romaine)
- 3 ounces white or brown bella mushrooms, halved and sliced (about 10)
- 4 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 English cucumber, sliced into half rounds
- 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 2/3 cup pecan halves
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoons water
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup creamy horseradish (add 3 tablespoons and taste before adding the last tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
- 1–1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/4 cup Balsamic Glaze, to drizzle on the finished salad
- In a gallon-sized zip-close bag, add the ingredients for the balsamic steak marinade and squeeze the bag to combine everything. Add the flank steak. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. I always marinate a flank steak overnight.
- In a small bowl whip the heavy cream until it begins to thicken (see the above section about Creamy Horseradish dressing).
- In a separate small bowl, combine the remaining dressing ingredients together. (Except hold back 1 tablespoon horseradish.)
- Gently fold the thicken cream into the dressing ingredients until combined. Taste and add remaining tablespoon of prepared horseradish as desired. Set aside
- To candy the pecans—stir together the sugar, water, vanilla and salt.
- In a shallow medium frying pan over medium heat, add the pecans and toast for about 3 minutes while stirring until you smell the nuts toasting.
- Drizzle the sugar mixture over the pecans, while stirring the nuts. Toast for about 30 seconds until the pecans are completely coated. (Make sure the nuts do not blacken or begin to burn.)
- Spread the shinny nuts in a single layer on a parchment sheet and allow to cool. (Try to arrange them so they aren’t touching as much as possible.
- When the nuts are cool, you can gently break any clusters apart, if needed.
- When the flank steak has marinated, remove and discard the marinade. Pat the meat dry.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan to high (about 400°F -450°F).
- Place the flank steak on the hot grill and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Rotate the meat 90° and cook for an additional 2 minutes to get good sear marks.
- Turn the steak over and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes or until the internal temperature is 132°F for medium rare.
- Remove the flank steak to a platter and let rest for about ten minutes.
- Assemble the salad greens, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes on plates or a large platter if serving family style.
- When the flank steak has rested, cut thin slices against the grain and arrange over the salad greens.
- Sprinkle the steak slices with gorgonzola cheese and candied pecans.
- Pour the dressing over the salad.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.
Keep the salad components separate since dressed salad doesn’t hold up well. That way you will be able to enjoy any leftovers with minimum fuss, just assemble the salad the next day with all the prepared ingredents.
Keywords: flank steak, main dish salad