Thai Grilled Beef Salad

Thai Grilled Beef Salad

This electrifying beef salad is one of the glories of Thai cuisine: all fresh herbs and chili hellfire. We’re going to give it a smoky dimension by grilling the beef over cherry wood. You don’t normally think of barbecue as health food, but the high proportion of vegetables to this intensely flavored steak definitely makes for healthy eating. It’s a great salad for summer and a very healthy way to eat beef.

This Thai Grilled Beef Salad pays homage to one of my barbecue heroes, Chris Schlesinger. Instead of marinating the beef, we grill the beef simply and then mix it with the marinade ingredients as we slice it. 


More Healthy Grilling Recipes: 



Thai Grilled Beef Salad

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 4


For the beef:

  • 1 flank steak (about 1 pound)
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

For the after-marinade / dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 piece (1 inch) ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 piece (2 inches) lemongrass (the pale stalk), peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro roots, washed and minced (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

For the salad:

  • 2 heads Boston or bibb lettuce, broken into leaves, rinsed, and spun dry
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled and sliced paper-thin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced (for a milder salad, seed the chiles)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Lightly score the flank steak on the top and bottom in a crosshatch pattern, making shallow (1/8-inch) cuts. Generously season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides. Drizzle with sesame oil, rubbing it into the meat.

Step 2: Make the marinade / dressing: Place the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and cilantro roots (if using) in a large bowl and stir to mix. Sprinkle the sugar and pepper on top and mash well with the back of a spoon. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and whisk to mix. Set aside.

Step 3: Set up a grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Step 4: Grill the steak until cooked to taste, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning with tongs. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 1 minute.

Step 5: Meanwhile, arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter. Top with the cucumber, tomatoes, and onion.

Step 6: Thinly slice the steak on the diagonal and add the hot slices to the bowl with the marinade / sauce. Toss to mix. Using tongs, arrange the steak slices over the salad, then spoon the remaining marinade / sauce on top. Sprinkle with the mint, basil, cilantro, jalapenos, and peanuts, and you’re in business.

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