This Flank Steak Salad with citrus-garlic marinated flank steak, easy quick-pickled red onions and a homemade creamy balsamic dressing is the best summertime salad! It’s loaded with flavor and texture and comes together quickly and easily.
There’s nothing better than a loaded salad with all of the goods: a combo of crisp lettuce and peppery arugula, tender flank steak, flavorful quick-pickled red onions, crumbled goat cheese, baby tomatoes, avocado and a creamy balsamic that brings it all together!
It’s perfect for dinner or meal-prep, or any meal that you want to keep light but filling and nourishing!
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is from the bottom abdominal area of the cow, so it has a lot of muscle fibers.
While skirt steak and flank steak are different cuts, they are interchangeable in this recipe. Flank steak is typically wider and thicker than skirt steak, but they are similar in taste and texture. So if you can only find one at the store- it’s okay! I can more often find flank steak in the store than skirt steak.
How to Cook Flank Steak without a Grill
Because flank steak contains a lot of muscle fiber and is more lean, I find that marinating it in an acidic marinade is crucial to it becoming tender, instead of super tough and chewy.
Not only does this citrus-garlic marinade give the steak an amazing flavor, but it helps break down the protein and muscle fibers so that it is super tender.
The citrus-garlic marinade is super easy to make. Simply whisk together orange juice, low-sodium soy sauce (or substitute coconut aminos), rice vinegar and minced garlic. Pour the marinade over the steak and store in a container in the fridge. I like to marinate the steak for at least two hours, preferably closer to 8!
When it’s closer to time to eat, be sure to pull the flank steak out of the fridge an hour before you’re planning on cooking it. This will allow it to come to room temperature, which is really important before cooking so that it cooks evenly. If the flank steak is cold from the fridge, the outside will cook quickly and the inside will remain undercooked.
The best thing about this flank steak is because of the marinade tenderizing the meat, there’s no grilling required- it turns out so delicious when cooked in a cast-iron!
If you prefer to grill, you can definitely do that. But if you don’t have access to a grill, simply heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add a thin layer of avocado oil and sear the flank steak on each side for about 7-10 minutes (depending on thickness) until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 for medium rare. If you don’t have a meat thermometer… get one! They are one of my most-used kitchen tools because it takes all of the guessing work out of cooking steak.
Be sure to always rest the skirt steak for 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain!
How to Make Homemade Creamy Balsamic Dressing
The Homemade Creamy Balsamic Dressing that goes on this salad really brings together all of the flavors and is so easy to make!
To make the Homemade Creamy Balsamic Dressing, add the balsamic glaze, mayo, olive oil, salt and pepper to a bowl and whisk or to a mason jar and shake to combine. Taste to adjust the seasoning to your preference.
If you only have balsamic vinegar, you can sub that for the balsamic glaze, but the salad dressing will not be as thick and creamy as if you use balsamic glaze.
How to Make Quick-Pickled Red Onions
The only other ingredient to prepare for this salad is the quick-pickled red onions which are only of my absolute favorite things to always have in my fridge! They go so well on salads, sandwiches and even scrambled eggs for breakfast.
To make these quick-pickled red onions, thinly slice a red onion using a mandolin or sharp knife. Combine the water, sugar, salt and vinegar and pour over the red onions. Let onions sit in the fridge or on the counter for at least an hour before using.
Store the leftovers in the fridge and use them as a topping on almost everything!
Did you Make this Flank Steak Salad Recipe?
If you made this Flank Steak Salad, please let me know what you think by leaving a review and comment below.
You can follow me on Pinterest and Instagram for more recipe inspiration, and here’s a few more recipes that I know you’ll love:
Flank Steak Salad with Homemade Creamy Dressing
For the Flank Steak:
- 1.5 lb flank steak
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce or sub coconut aminos/tamari
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 5 minced garlic cloves
For the Quick-Pickled Red Onions:
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup white vinegar or sub apple cider vinegar
For the Creamy Balsamic Dressing:
- 2 tbsp mayo
- 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
For the Salad:
- 16 oz greens (I used a mix of arugula and butter lettuce)
- 8 oz baby tomatoes
- 1 sliced avocado
- 8 oz crumbled goat cheese
- Make the flank steak marinade by mixing together the 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 5 minced garlic cloves. Pour over the steak and marinate for at least two hours, preferably closer to 8.
- To make the quick-pickled red onions, mix together the 1 cup water, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup vinegar. Pour over the thinly sliced red onions and allow to pickle in a container for at least an hour.
- Make the Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette by adding 2 tbsp mayo, 2 tbsp balsamic glaze, 1/4 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Mix well and taste for adjustments.
- To cook the flank steak, heat a large cast-iron over medium heat for 5 mins. Add a couple tbsp of avocado oil and sear the flank steak until it reaches an internal temp of 130 for medium rare (about 7 minutes per side, but use a meat thermometer).
- Remove the steak and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice against the grain.
- Assemble the salad with the greens, sliced baby tomatoes, avocado, crumbled goat cheese, quick-pickled red onion, sliced flank steak & creamy balsamic vinaigrette!