Steak and Quinoa Salad

This steak and quinoa salad recipe is spectacularly easy to toss together, especially if you have some leftover steak and maybe even quinoa in the fridge. But it can also be tossed together with spectacular ease even when you start from scratch. Here’s how to make it.

A grey plate topped with steak and quinoa salad with shaved carrots and mustard vinaigrette.

How To Keep Your Salad Low In Sugar

The author savvily suggests you opt for a whole-grain mustard that isn’t honey-sweetened for this steak and quinoa salad as it ensures you can better adjust the sweetness of the vinaigrette when you whisk it up.

Steak and Quinoa Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4
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  • For the vinaigrette
  • For the steak and quinoa salad


Make the vinaigrette

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl or shake them in a jar with a lid. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate the vinaigrette for up to 5 days. Whisk or shake to recombine before using.

Make the steak and quinoa salad

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for up to 30 minutes before cooking.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Sear the steak, turning once, until browned on both sides and cooked to your desired doneness. Figure 135°F (57°C) on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare, 7 to 8 minutes total. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the quinoa, reduce the heat, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Drain the quinoa. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

When the steak is your desired doneness, let the steak rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes.

Thinly slice the rested steak on a diagonal.

Arrange the arugula, quinoa, carrots, and steak on individual plates. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and drizzle with the vinaigrette. (You may have some leftover vinaigrette. Stash it in the fridge.) Add some freshly cracked black pepper if desired. Serve immediately. Originally published May 28, 2016.

Print RecipeBuy the Bon Appétit: The Food Lover's Cleanse cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Note to self: The next time you make steak, perhaps every time you make steak, make extra. I had some leftovers from a T-bone that my husband had grilled. I also happened to have some leftover quinoa. I sliced the steak and arrange it on a plate with the quinoa. I then shaved multi-colored carrots (orange, white, and purple) alongside that until it looked like enough. I toasted sunflower seeds and sprinkled them over the top, again enough until it was “just right.” What a wonderful lunch this turned out to be!

I like having a jar of this vinaigrette in the fridge at all times. I made a half recipe, which yielded 3/4 cup of dressing, and we did not need that much. No measuring. No cooking (since I was able to use leftovers). Now I have the vinaigrette in the fridge, waiting till the next time I have some leftover steak (if it makes it until then).

This quinoa salad is a great weeknight recipe that would be stunning for a casual dinner party. We made this for just the two of us and it's a nice meal to cook as a team. I would absolutely serve this to guests with the salad arranged on a long platter to be taken to the table.

We made a half recipe of everything except the quinoa (extra quinoa can always gets incorporated into other meals here). In the time it took to season the flank steak and let it come to room temperature, I could prepare the quinoa, salad, and dressing.

For extra drama, I used dark red rainbow carrots, peeled into long ribbons. I had fresh pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in place of sunflower seeds and pan-toasted them for a few minutes in the same cast-iron skillet we later used for the steak. Just 3 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second yielded a perfect rare steak. 

Initially I arranged the salad ingredients to match the picture, but the carrots ribbons seemed to want to overflow the plate, so I tossed the salad (but not the dressing) and replated, then drizzled with the vinaigrette. After adding the sliced steak on top, I drizzled a little more dressing.

The only thing I would change is to make the dressing a bit brighter. I used white wine vinegar and the ratio was just a bit too mild—it needed more acid. I adjusted the dressing the next day with some red vinegar and it popped nicely. My usually ratio is more 5:2 (oil to acid) and this was more of a 4:1. Just a matter of taste.

The other thing I would consider would be adding a little chopped preserved lemon if I had it on hand or some pomegranate seeds.

This was a very generous and satisfying dinner for 2 or 4 or 6...a very scalable recipe! Not only were we willing to eat this again, we probably should eat like this more often.


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