Recipe Of The Day: Grilled Steak And Potato Salad

Steak and potatoes go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or broccoli and cheese. But come summertime, you may not always crave a hunk of meat served with a loaded baked potato (as delicious as that is). When you want to break out the grill and satisfy the carnivores in your home but want things lightened up a tad, try reimagining steak and potatoes in salad form. 

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This recipe really is the best of all worlds. It is, at its base, a salad — so you can feel good about eating it! But it is also as filling as salads get with loads of hearty toppings. Plus, it takes full advantage of the microwave (to quickly pre-cook the potatoes) and grill so you don't have to turn on the stove when it's a million degrees out. Finally, the whole thing is topped with a homemade spicy ranch dressing that is going to put any storebought bottle to shame.

Here's how to build the ultimate grilled steak and potato salad:

The base

Choosing a base for your salad really determines the whole character of the dish. The differences between fibrous kale, bitter arugula or delicate baby spinach are stark. Here, romaine provides a hearty base that can stand up to the toppings while providing a refreshing, crispy foil to the rich ingredients. That being said, this salad would be absolutely delicious with just about any green.

The grilled steak, potatoes and onions

First, this recipe takes a shortcut without cutting any corners on flavor by using the microwave. Simply zap the potatoes until they are almost tender but still firm, then oil them up and throw them on the grill along with onion slices and boneless beef top sirloin steaks or New York strips. The steak doesn't need to be marinaded or prepped ahead, just seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Make sure to slice your steak super thin against the grain then pile it, along with the grilled onion and potato, on top of your romaine.

The homemade spicy ranch dressing

One of the best and easiest ways to truly take a salad to the next level is by making your own dressing. While we love a good homemade vinaigrette, sometimes nothing but a creamy ranch will do. This super fast blender recipe gets its luxurious texture from mayo and sour cream, freshness from chives and cilantro and a serious kick from hot sauce. You'll want to keep this recipe on hand on your next game day. Just saying.

The toppings

After you've dressed your salad, it's time to guild the lily. The finishing touches include diced tomatoes and avocado in addition to crumbled blue cheese and thinly sliced basil. If blue cheese isn't your thing, you can use feta or goat cheese instead, or leave it out entirely.

Grilled Steak and Potato Salad With Spicy Ranch Dressing

This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.


For the salad:

  • 3 small russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • Coarsely ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steaks (or New York strips), each about 1-inch thick
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, tough outer leaves removed
  • Spicy ranch dressing (recipe follows)
  • 3 small tomatoes, halved, seeds shaken out, flesh cut into small dice
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (or feta or goat cheese)
  • Thinly sliced fresh basil (optional)

For the spicy ranch dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the salad:

Step 1: Prepare a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to hot.

Step 2: Pierce 3 small russet potatoes in several spots with a fork. Microwave on high (100 percent power) until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Cool, then cut into 1/3-inch thick rounds. Brush both sides with olive oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Step 3: Generously season 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steaks (or New York strips) with salt and pepper to taste. Then drizzle lightly with olive oil. Lightly brush 1 medium sliced red onion with olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4: Arrange the potato slices over the hotter part of the grill; put the onion slices around the cooler edges. Cook, turning once, until all are golden and tender, about 5 minutes for the potatoes and 15 minutes for the onions. Transfer potatoes to a plate. Separate onions into rings; slice rings in half.

Step 5: Grill the steaks over the hotter portion of the grill, turning only once, until medium-rare (or as preferred), about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest a few minutes.

Step 6: To assemble the salads, cut four 1-inch thick center slices from 1 large head of romaine lettuce. Alternatively, cut the head of romaine lengthwise in quarters. Transfer one romaine slice to each serving plate. Divide the potatoes and onions over the romaine. Very thinly slice the steak; lay the slices on top of the salad. Drizzle steak and greens lightly with spicy ranch dressing (recipe follows). Sprinkle 3 small diced tomatoes, 1 diced avocado and 1/3 cup blue cheese evenly over all four salads. Garnish with thinly sliced basil (optional). Serve salad while the steak is warm.

For the spicy ranch dressing:

Step 1: Into a blender, put 2 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red pepper hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Step 2: Process to mix. Dressing will keep several days in the refrigerator.