Grilled Steak Salad

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Grilled Steak Salad is inspired by a restaurant favorite! Toss together perfectly grilled steak, lightly salted and grilled pita bread, baby spinach, crisp cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and salty feta cheese. Then drizzle a show-stopping sweet lemon-honey vinaigrette on this salad as the perfect finishing touch!

We love adding grilled steak to a hearty salad; try this Steak Salad Recipe variation next time!

Overhead image of the Grilled Steak Salad

Grilled Steak Salad

I’ve re-created and shared several recipes adapted from the restaurant I worked at through high school and college. This creme brûlée, butternut squash soup, and bread pudding recipe are three favorites I’ve shared over the years.

As employees, we got a free meal if we ever worked double shifts, and since my summers basically consisted of nonstop double shifts, I got to try pretty much every meal several times–and that’s including the bi-yearly menu changes!

One of my favorites on the menu, and a customer favorite, was a grilled pita and steak salad. That salad was one of the few recipes that stayed on the menu all seven years I was there. I mean, I get it — guests were obsessed with it. And I’ve finally perfected my version of it and am so excited to be sharing this Grilled Steak Salad recipe!

Grilled pita bread, medium-rare steak, crisp garden veggies, feta cheese, and the perfect lemon honey dressing? It doesn’t get much better than this! 🙂

Process shots-- images of the pita chips being made

Grilled Steak Salad Ingredients

Let’s first break down the main salad ingredients and then we’ll describe the dressing below!

  • Steak. We like a good New York strip steak best in this salad, but a ribeye is also delicious. Skip ahead for some steak grilling tips later in the post!
  • Pita bread. Here is the exact pita bread I use in this recipe. We lightly salt, then grill the flatbreads, and finally cut them into small triangles for the salad. Think — salad croutons just got an upgrade!
  • Baby spinach. I typically leave the spinach whole, but if you’d like, give it a quick coarse chop for the salad.
  • Cherry tomatoes. The riper and fresher, the better!
  • English or Persian cucumbers (sometimes labeled as salad cucumbers). I don’t recommend regular cucumbers because they lack flavor and texture. They also break down faster, which isn’t ideal in this salad.
  • Kalamata olives. If you don’t love olives, this salad is still tasty without them. Regular black olives also work in a pinch.
  • Feta cheese. This salty addition pulls everything together in this salad! If you aren’t a fan, this salad is still tasty without cheese — it just may need a bit extra salt.

Process shots-- images of the dressing being mixed together

Dressing Ingredients

With only five ingredients in this dressing and the simplest preparation method, you’ll never go back to store-bought dressings again on your Grilled Steak Salad! (I’ll offer my brand recommendations below — none of these brands are sponsors of the site, just my personal preference for this recipe.)

  • Fresh lemons. This recipe calls for fresh lemon juice and zest in the dressing. If you bake and cook with a lot of citrus, I recommend a small juicer or citrus reamer. You don’t need anything special or crazy expensive. This one is budget friendly and a great investment; a microplane is also nice for zesting the citrus.
  • Apple cider vinegar. I love Heinz® or Bragg® apple cider vinegar best in this dressing.
  • Dijon mustard. The mustard helps to thicken the dressing and adds a distinctly intense mustard flavor. I really love Grey Poupon® Dijon mustard.
  • Honey. This ingredient sweetens and balances the acidity and tartness in the dressing. This is an ingredient you can play around a bit with — add more for a sweeter dressing and less for a more tart dressing.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. The oil gives flavor to the dressing and is essential for emulsification to happen with the vinegar and lemon juice. The better your olive oil, the better your dressing (and the entire Grilled Steak Salad) will taste.

QUICK TIP

What does it mean to emulsify the dressing? That’s when it’s mixed so that all of the ingredients are creamy and suspended. Some emulsions settle when they sit for a while. Simply shake again and they’re ready to use!

Process shots-- images of the steak being grilled and added to the salad

Grilling Tips

  • Look for thickness: Try to get a steak that’s at least an inch thick and preferably 1 and 1/2 – 2 inches thick. The thickness helps you get a beautiful red center.
  • Generously oil grill grates. When the grill is fully heated, clean it well with a wire brush, and then roll up a few paper towels, drench them in oil (I use canola or vegetable), and (using tongs that are holding the paper towel wad), rub it along the grill grates generously. Cleaning the grill and brushing it with oil will give your steak gorgeous grill marks and contribute to a beautiful sear.
  • Make sure the grill is completely heated before you add the meat. High heat is going to sear the surface of the meat which gives you a juicier steak and allows the steak to get an amazing char. Char = flavor!
  • Let the steak rest before slicing it. Once the steak is perfectly grilled, it needs a bit of time to rest so the juices can re-distribute evenly throughout the meat. By letting the meat rest, you will have a juicier steak! I cover the steak in foil and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. Of course, for a steak salad, you want the steak warm, not piping hot, so let it stand covered until warm.
  • After pulling the steak off the grill, quickly grill the pita bread. Not only does it add tons of texture and flavor to the salad, but it also makes the pita bread more like croutons in this salad. When grilling pita bread, you’ll want to watch it very closely — it doesn’t take long. The aim here is to infuse a subtle smoky flavor and get the bread pillowy soft with a slightly crusty exterior. We don’t want to grill the bread until it’s hard!

Image of the dressing being poured over the Grilled Steak Salad

Grilled Steak Salad FAQs

1Is steak salad healthy?

This salad has loads of nutritious ingredients! It’s dressed with a light vinaigrette which is especially healthful considering the creamy and cheese-filled dressings typically paired with steak salads. The dressing has fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil all of which are linked to numerous health benefits.

There are a lot of fresh vegetables and of course, the base of this salad is spinach. Spinach is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants and has been linked to improved eye health, cancer prevention, and reduction of blood pressure levels.

To add additional health benefits, you can use whole wheat pita bread.

It’s up to you to define what healthy means for you and your family. If you’re looking for a recipe with lots of fresh veggies, no refined sugars, and protein-rich beef, then this salad fits the bill.

While I have my background in Exercise and Wellness (B.S.), all the content in this post is for informational purposes only. Please consult a doctor or dietician for any specific dietary needs/questions.

2What dressing is good on Grilled Steak Salad?

I’ve had my fair share of steak salads in my life (I’m obsessed!) and I have to say my favorites have always been a really great vinaigrette.

And I’m telling you, this honey lemon vinaigrette does not disappoint! It’s easy to assemble (just throw all the ingredients into a jar and shake), contains simple everyday ingredients, and has so much flavor.

It’s the perfect complement to the vegetables, steak, and pita.

3What temperature should I cook my steak at?

I recommend using a meat thermometer for grilling the steak. The best way to ensure your meat is perfectly cooked to your liking is by using a thermometer. If you grill often, you can often tell just by looking at a steak or by gently pressing on it if it’s done, but I recommend removing guesswork by using a thermometer. Below is the breakdown of temperatures — cook to your desired steak doneness!

  • Rare: 120-125 degrees F
  • Medium-Rare: 135 degrees F (about 4-5 minutes on one side and another 3-5 minutes on the other side; high-heated grill)
  • Medium: 140 degrees F (about 5-7 minutes on one side and another 3-5 minutes on the other side; high-heated grill)
  • Medium-Well: 150 degrees F (about 8-10 minutes on one side and another 3-5 minutes on the other side)
  • Well-Done: 160-175 degrees F.

**Time of course depends on the steak’s thickness, your grill, and the actual temperature of your grill** I usually pull off the steak about 5 degrees below what I want it to be at — it cooks a bit more after being taken off the grill.

4What is a good salad to go with steak?

Pretty much any greens and fresh garden veggies will pair nicely with a steak on top.

We especially like the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese in this recipe with the grilled steak.

This Caprese quinoa salad would also be great with grilled steak on top!

5What is the best way to season a steak?

If you have a good steak, you really don’t need much more than olive oil, salt, and pepper to make it taste phenomenal.

You’ll especially want to avoid a lot of extra seasonings and marinades since the steak will have a dressing on top. Between the steak seasoning and dressing, we don’t want too many competing flavors.

6What should I serve with my steak?

If you have leftover steak after enjoying this Grilled Steak Salad, here are some great sides to pair with the leftovers:

Up-close overhead image of the Grilled Steak Salad

QUICK TIP

Once dressed, Grilled Steak Salad needs to be eaten and enjoyed promptly. The dressing makes the lettuce wilt and pita bread soften. I’d recommend only dressing what you will enjoy the same day. Store the dressing and salad components separately for leftovers.

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Grilled Steak Salad

5 from 2 votes
This Grilled Steak Salad is inspired by a restaurant favorite! We toss together perfectly grilled steak, lightly salted & grilled pita bread, baby spinach, crisp cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and salty feta cheese. We drizzle a show-stopping sweet lemon-honey vinaigrette on this salad as the perfect finishing touch!
Print Recipe

Grilled Steak Salad

5 from 2 votes
This Grilled Steak Salad is inspired by a restaurant favorite! We toss together perfectly grilled steak, lightly salted & grilled pita bread, baby spinach, crisp cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and salty feta cheese. We drizzle a show-stopping sweet lemon-honey vinaigrette on this salad as the perfect finishing touch!
Course Dinner, lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Grilled Steak Salad, steak salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 646kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $17.63

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (453g) steak  (such as New York or ribeye)
  • Olive oil, fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 white pita breads
  • 6 cups (130g) fresh baby spinach, large stems removed and coarsely chopped, if desired
  • 1 cup (155g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-1/2 cup (200g) English or Persian (salad) cucumbers, coined (about 3 Persian cucumbers or use 1 English cucumber)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/3 cup (40g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper and fine sea salt

Lemon Honey Vinaigrette:

  • 1-2 large lemons (1/2 zest and 4 tablespoons (55g) fresh juice)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup (134g) extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Grill Steak & Pitas

  • Heat the grill to high heat (400-450 degrees F). Once the grill is hot, clean it with a wire brush. Roll up a few paper towels and drench them in canola oil. Using tongs, rub the paper towel wad along the grill grates generously. Remove the steaks from the fridge and drizzle with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon total) and then generously sprinkle with sea salt and pepper over the top, sides, and bottom (about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper).
  • Place the steaks on the grill and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Using tongs, flip the steak over and continue to grill for 3-5 minutes for medium-rare (internal temperature of 135 degrees F). (See Note 1.) Once the steaks are cooked to your preference, remove them to a plate or cutting board and tent loosely with foil for 5-10 minutes to give the juices chance to re-distribute. If not serving right away, chill until ready to eat. Cut steak crosswise (against the grain) into thin slices. 
  • Drizzle pita breads on both sides with olive oil and lightly sprinkle on salt. Grill for 10 seconds per side. Remove, let slightly cool, and then cut into small triangles or squares.

Lemon Honey Vinaigrette:

  • Combine lemon zest and juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper), honey, and oil in a large jar.  Put the lid on the jar and shake it well until the dressing becomes emulsified. Place in the fridge until ready to use, shaking again before dressing the salad.
  • You might not use all the dressing--it makes a lot! Add dressing to your preference and store leftovers, up to 1 week, in the fridge.

Salad

  • In a large bowl, combine the baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and half of the feta cheese. If enjoying immediately, toss the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat (don't dress anything you want leftover -- see "storage" note below). Taste and season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Add the steak slices on top of the salad along with pita triangles. Top with remaining cheese and drizzle on a bit more vinaigrette over the steak. Serve and enjoy immediately!
  • STORAGE: Once dressed, this salad needs to be eaten and enjoyed promptly. The dressing makes the lettuce wilt and pita bread soften. I’d recommend only dressing what you will enjoy the same day. Store the dressing and salad components separately for leftovers.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: The grilling time will vary greatly based on your actual grill, your actual steak (the thickness), and the actual temperature of your grill. For best results, use a meat thermometer and remove the meat when it is 5 degrees below your desired internal temperature. It will cook a bit more after being removed from the grill due to carryover heat. Below are the temperature ranges based on how well done you like your steak:
  • Rare: 120-125 degrees F
  • Medium-Rare: 135 degrees F (about 4-5 minutes on one side and another 3-5 minutes on the other side; high-heated grill)
  • Medium: 140 degrees F (about 5-7 minutes on one side and another 3-5 minutes on the other side; high-heated grill)
  • Medium-Well: 150 degrees F (about 8-10 minutes on one side and another 3-5 minutes on the other side)
  • Well-Done: 160-175 degrees F.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 646kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 795mg | Potassium: 1708mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 22547IU | Vitamin C: 86mg | Calcium: 344mg | Iron: 9mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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Grilled steak and pitas tossed with baby spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese dressed in a delicious lemon-honey vinaigrette. This steak salad is simple to make, healthy, and packed with flavor! via chelseasmessyapron.com
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4 Comments

  1. Hi Chelsea,

    This salad looks amazing, excited to try it! And I loved your intro video. I’m a boy mom too and they are just so incredibly sweet. I want to do a better job of letting them help in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s hard because you know it will be a total mess, but I also know the more I let them help, the better they’ll get and then maybe they’ll start cooking the dinners. I can dream, right? 🙂

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