steak salad with cilantro-jalapeno pesto

steak salad with cilantro-jalapeno pesto

Have your steak and eat it, too.

We’re steak lovers around these parts (and by these parts, I mean me & the hubs). But you know what they say about red meat – that’s it’s not very good for you & shouldn’t be consumed often. My compromise is to make a big steak salad like the one you see above, where the steak is definitely present but we’re still getting lots of vibrant colored veggies along with it. This way, you can have your steak and not stress about eating it!

cilantro jalapeno pesto

The pesto really is the star of the show, however. This is my {current} favorite pesto recipe. I love making any type of pesto, really, since they only take a minute and go with just about anything you can think of. This version isn’t spicy at all; removing the seeds from the peppers also removes the heat and leaves just the jalapeno flavor behind. Here are a few ideas for other ways to use it:

  • As a sauce for fish or chicken
  • On crostini with ricotta cheese
  • In a mexican version of lasagna
  • Toss with spaghetti and top with crumbled queso fresco
  • Mix it into meatloaf
  • Have it with eggs for breakfast
  • Add it to a grilled cheese
  • Toss with potatoes after roasting
  • Slather onto corn on the cob

And I obviously like using it as a salad dressing, too. The hubs mixes a bit of ranch in his {shudder} but I like it straight up. As salad dressings go, it’s not a strong flavor, and I like that it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the actual salad ingredients. Keep this in mind the first time you try it in case you prefer a stronger flavored dressing, too.

steak salad

Steak Salad with Cilantro-Jalapeño Pesto

Steak Salad with Cilantro-Jalapeño Pesto


    For the Pesto
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch cilantro (about 4-5 cups, more or less to taste; use the stems, too!)
  • 5 jalapeños, roasted (just pop under the broiler until they're blackened in spots; no need to peel after, just slice off the stem once roasted and you're good to go)
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the Salad
  • one ribeye steak, grilled to your liking and diced
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 pint small cherry tomatoes (halved if large)
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, cut into small pieces


    Make the pesto:
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I adore my Vitamix) and blend until very smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve (the flavors will develop if you allow it time to sit awhile). NOTE: Pesto can be frozen! Double the recipe so you'll have some for another dinner - it goes really well with EVERYTHING - even on baked potatoes!)
  2. Assemble the salad:
  3. Place salad ingredients in a large bowl. If no leftovers are anticipated, toss the pesto with the salad and serve. Alternatively, divide salad between bowls and add pesto as needed.


    • says

      Thanks Jen! There’s actually not much heat without the seeds although I sometimes leave them in because I love spicy foods! The girls just won’t go there with me yet though (I figure I’ll give them until age 10 then no mercy ;)

  1. says

    Wishing I could eat this for dinner tonight!! We don’t eat much red meat, but when we do, I love a good steak :) I’m going to have to try your take on pesto…my husband prefers cilantro to basil, so I think he’ll really like this!

  2. says

    I could easily eat pesto by the spoonful, so using it as a salad dressing is kind of the next best thing! Kudos for adding the always-sassy, jalapeno!

  3. says

    Pesto is such good stuff, isn’t it? So many uses for it. I really like the addition of jalapeno here – I’ve never tried it that way, but I like spicy so I know I’ll like this. And pesto pairs so well with grilled meats. Really nice post – thanks.

  4. says

    Wow that looks amazing! It’s the perfect meal – protein, veggies, no carbs, and the presentation is gorgeous. My husband is going to love this one.

  5. steve says

    The pesto looks delicious.I love the idea of adding jalepenos! I’ve had some great success substituting chicken broth for at least part of the olive oil. Reduces calories, adds salt, some of the most favored pestos have been done this way.


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