Sometimes salads can be so blah. When I was growing up, the only salad that I really liked was the typical salad bar selection: romaine or iceberg lettuce, hard boiled eggs, cheese, cucumbers, carrots, RANNNCCCHHHH. So much ranch. Like a ranch swimming pool with some veggie swimmers.
That’s a gross visual…apologies.
BUT the point remains – they were boring salads. It wasn’t until I got older that I ventured into the delicious world of non-boring salad and changed my life FO-eva. Salads definitely don’t have to be boring. They can be so flavorful and satisfying and delicious if you make them right. All you need is the right mix of varied textures and flavors! And the dressing is key, too. Key.
This salad is the antithesis of boring. It’s as far from boring as you can possibly get. The following awesomeness will make your taste buds and tummy so happy:
- Lettuce (duh)
- Steak! Flank steak or flat iron
- Red bell pepper
- Dry ramen noodles
Some of these bullets require much more explanation and commentary. Allow me to ramble.
The lettuce: I used romaine here because it’s crunchy and wonderful. It also doesn’t have as much “flavor” as spinach or arugula, so you really just taste all the toppings and dressing (bae).
The steak: I prefer flank steak because flank steak is my favorite thing ever. But flat iron steak works too and is even cheaper than flank steak. Use whatever your beautiful heart desires! The thing that really makes the steak awesome is the marinade. We blend together pear, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and garlic and throw that in there with our sliced up meat for at least an hour or overnight if you’re feeling productive. The pear might seem weird, but it is common in Korean cooking to use it in marinades. It tenderizes the meat like cray cray. You’ll love it!
Edamame: This topping brings so much Asian deliciousness to your salad. Don’t immediately write it off thinking that you’ll have to pop a million little beans out of their pods. They sell shelled edamame in the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store – HALLELUJAH. Best invention ever.
Dry ramen noodles: this one might have turned a few heads if you haven’t heard of it before. Don’t be weirded out by this – it’s not like eating uncooked spaghetti noodles. They are less hard and more crunchy, like a crouton. Don’t judge what I’m about to tell you, but when I was younger, one of my favorite snacks was breaking up ramen noodles in a big ziplock bag, sprinkling the seasoning over them, shaking it up, and then eating it plain. Like chips. The only reason I stopped is because my brother told me they were going to cook and expand in my stomach and kill me…thanks, bro. Anyway, dry ramen noodles aren’t a super uncommon ingredient in Asian salads (Americanized ones, that is), so if you haven’t ever tried it, you should give it a shot!
The dressing: this dressing is so dang yummy. It’s a perfect mix of olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Shake it together, pour over salad. Fall in love.
Want to know my weirdest and most intense pregnancy craving that I’ve had up to this point? Pop-Tarts. POPPP TARTTSSS. It’s not that weird per se – I mean, we aren’t talking ice cream and pickles over here or anything. But the intensity of the craving is what makes it weird.
I have been craving Pop-Tarts so hard for the last month or so, but I never like the flavors they have at the grocery store. So…Ima bout to get real with ya for a few minutes here and confess my lapse of self control a few nights ago. My Pop-Tart craving hit hard again, I was sick of not being able to find good ones, so…Amazon happened. I went hard, people. I went so hard.
I ordered no less than EIGHT boxes of Pop-Tarts off Amazon prime. WHAT HAPPENED.
In my defense, they came in variety packs (for the most part), so I didn’t add eight individual boxes to my cart. I added three…two four pack variety boxes, and one single box. I wanted a mix of the sweet dessert-y ones and the fruity ones! I literally don’t remember the last time I ate Pop-Tarts before I got pregnant, but I am about two days away from being in Pop-Tart bliss. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
My baby is going to come out being a Pop-Tart fiend. What’s weird is that I posted a status about my Amazon breakdown on Facebook, and a few people commented saying they craved Pop-Tarts when they were pregnant, too. Isn’t that weird?? What do you put in your ingredients, Pop-Tart company, that makes us women who are growing tiny humans come running? WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?
Whatevs. I’m goin’ with it.
As long as I balance my Pop-Tart consumption with healthy salads like this, I think it’s probably okay 😉.
- For the steak:
- 1½ pound (approximately) flank steak or flat iron steak - I like flank steak
- 1 bosc pear, diced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- For the salad:
- 1 large head romaine lettuce, sliced in quarters and roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup shelled edamame beans (they sell shelled edamame in the frozen section!)
- 1 cup sliced cucumber (I like hot house, sliced in half with the seeds scooped out)
- 1 package dry, uncooked ramen noodles, seasoning packet discarded, broken up into small pieces
- For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger (it grates more easily if you keep it in the freezer)
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- Optional extra toppings: cilantro and sesame seeds
- For the steak marinade, combine all ingredients in blender (pear, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, water, and garlic). Blend until totally smooth
- Slice the steak into thin, bite-size slices and add to a large ziplock bag
- Pour the marinade in the bag over the steak
- Close the bag, massage marinade around the steak pieces, and marinate for AT LEAST one hour. You can make this ahead and marinate it overnight, too, if you prefer
- To make the dressing, assemble all ingredients (rice vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic) into a jar or bowl and shake or whisk to combine
- When your steak is done marinating, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with some coconut oil (canola or vegetable oil works too)
- When hot, cook your steak in batches so it can brown really well - if you crowd the pan, it won't brown. I was able to get my steak done in 2 batches. Each batch doesn't take longer than 5 minutes to cook since the slices are so thin and your pan is hot
- Let the steak cool for several minutes before adding to the salad so it doesn't make the salad super hot
- To assemble the salad, add the romaine, bell pepper, edamame, cucumber, and ramen noodles
- Top with the steak, add the dressing, and toss to fully combine. Optional extra toppings include cilantro and sesame seeds
*Total recipe time doesn’t include the time it will take to marinate the steak since that will vary per person*
Nutrition info is for one serving of salad (out of six).
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy salads? Check these out: