Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Roasted Tomatoes & Blue Cheese
Leftovers. My fridge is full of them after last Saturday night’s dinner party. I’ve got grilled flank steak, caramelized onions, roasted poblano sauce, etc. And I hate let things go to waste. Especially when they’re this delicious.
But we already had leftover fajitas on Sunday night (dare I say they were possibly even better the second day?). So I wasn’t about to have fajitas again on Monday night. Time to mix things up with these leftovers. Plus, I was in the mood for something a little bit lighter, to counterbalance all this red meat (we’re usually not big meat eaters around here). So a salad it was: an arugula salad with grilled flank steak, roasted tomatoes, blue cheese, caramelized onions, and pecans, to be exact.
This salad was ridiculously easy to throw together. Grilled flank steak? Leftover from Saturday night, check. Caramelized onions? Also leftover from Saturday night, check. Roasted tomatoes? Well, that’s the only thing I had to cook for this salad. Awesome.
The ease with which this salad came together is a real testament to menu planning. Sit down on Saturday or Sunday morning (or whatever day you do your weekly grocery shopping), and plan out your menu for the week. How many dinners are you going to make? And what are you going to make each night? For example, here’s this week’s menu:
- Saturday: Cilantro-Lime Steak Fajitas with Roasted Poblano Sauce
- Sunday: Leftover Fajitas
- Monday: Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Roasted Tomatoes & Blue Cheese (using leftover steak and caramelized onions from Saturday night’s dinner)
- Tuesday: Carrot Cilantro Soup with Roasted Poblano Crema (re-purposing leftover roasted poblano sauce from Saturday night’s dinner, and using up leftover cilantro)
- Wednesday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes (using extra roasted tomatoes from Monday night’s dinner)
- Thursday: Lemon Tofu Stir-fry with Kale
- Friday: Dinner out in San Francisco. Maybe this place…
I started doing this almost a year ago, and (to be honest) Patrick thought I was a little crazy at first. Planning out dinner for each night, a week in advance? Really? But it has changed the way that we eat. It forces you to try new recipes each week. And when you have a plan—and ingredients on hand—it’s somehow much easier to make a delicious (and healthy) dinner when you get home from work, rather than just revert to ordering take-out, or making the simplest thing you can think of. Plus, when you plan out your menu in advance, you can think about how to use leftovers effectively. Like roasting extra cherry tomatoes on Monday night, so that you don’t have to roast more on Wednesday night (making the pesto pasta a breeze to cook). Or incorporating leftover steak and caramelized onions into this delicious salad. These are real time-savers when it comes to weeknight meals. And this salad is case-in-point.
Jane over at This Week for Dinner does this. She posts each week’s menu on Sunday. It’s great inspiration and motivation to keep up with your own weekly menus. Check it out!
GRILLED FLANK STEAK SALAD WITH ROASTED TOMATOES AND BLUE CHEESE
Adapted, in a whole bunch of ways, from Smitten Kitchen
As noted above, I assembled this salad using a whole slew of leftovers. But if you don’t have leftovers on hand, you could easily grill up some flank steak or caramelize some onions to order. For directions on the flank steak, see here (you don’t have to use the marinade, if you’re pressed for time, just season well with salt and pepper), and for directions on caramelizing onions, see here and/or here.
Serves 2 as an entrée-sized salad
For the salad:
1/2 lb. grilled flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
1/2 cup caramelized onions
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 pt. cherry, grape, or sugar plum tomatoes
salt & pepper
For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (to taste)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, clean and halve the tomatoes. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and toss with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for approximately 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and looking a little bit wrinkled (see photo). Once the tomatoes are roasted, remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Make the vinaigrette.* Put the mustard, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a large jar, and give it a good shake to emulsify the vinaigrette.
Assemble the salad. Place a few big handfuls of arugula—along with the caramelized onions, blue cheese, pecans, roasted tomatoes, and a drizzle of the vinaigrette—in a big bowl (reserve some pecans and a little blue cheese as a garnish for each salad). Using tongs, toss well. Divide among two bowls (or plates), and top with the flank steak, some freshly ground pepper (and salt, if you feel the meat needs more seasoning), along with a sprinkling of pecans and blue cheese.
Serve with a crusty baguette. And enjoy!
* A quick note on the vinaigrette: feel free to experiment with the ratios of mustard to balsamic, balsamic to olive oil, etc. Everyone’s tastes are different (some may want a little more spice from the mustard, or a little more bite from the balsamic). Play with the ratios until you find the right balance for you.