Steak and Arugula Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

This steak and arugula salad with pesto vinaigrette is an easy meal of peppery greens, pan-seared strip, shaved Parmesan, and a pesto dressing, that’s quick enough for a weeknight, yet special enough for guests.

A steak and arugula salad with pesto vinaigrette in a white bowl, with a wooden board and sliced steak next to it.

We’re hearing from our recipe testers that this steak and arugula salad drew raves from all manner of satiated folks, including those picky eaters who are typically meat-and-potatoes types. And you may want to go ahead and double that pesto vinaigrette as you’re going to want to dribble and drizzle it on just about everything.–Renee Schettler

Steak and Arugula Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 2 to 3
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the steak
  • For the pesto vinaigrette
  • To serve


Prepare the steak

Pat the steak dry with paper towels. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt.

Place a heavy, preferably cast iron, skillet over high heat until very hot. Place the steak in the dry skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the steak and cook for 2 minutes more.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook to your preferred doneness, about 5 minutes for medium-rare or 8 minutes for medium well.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes.

Make the pesto vinaigrette

While the steak rests, in small jar with a lid or a small bowl with a whisk, combine the oil, lemon juice, pesto, Dijon, and salt and shake or whisk well.

Serve the steak and arugula salad

Divvy the arugula among 2 or 3 plates. 

Thinly slice the steak and arrange it atop the arugula. Using a vegetable peeler or knife, shave the Parmesan over the steak and arugula. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This dish is really, really excellent! We couldn’t stop talking about how great dinner was last night and my husband wants to have it again next week—and he’s not even a pesto fan!

I used the largest NY strip steak I could get at the grocery store and it weighed 14 1/2 oz and was about 1 3/4 inches thick. Perfect size for the two of us to share. I did trim the thick fat cap from the side so it wouldn’t smoke as much in the skillet. I heated the skillet over high heat for almost 5 minutes to make sure it was ripping hot and added the oiled and salted steak to the skillet and cooked it as directed for 2 minutes on each side on high and 5 additional minutes on medium heat for a perfect medium-rare. The timings were all very accurate. I got a wonderful sear on both sides of the steak and it never stuck to the pan.

While the steak rested on a cutting board, I made the true star of this dish, the pesto vinaigrette! I’m having a problem coming up with the right words to describe it. Just WOW!!! It was so good I now want to put it on everything! I used a purchased organic Genovese pesto and that, combined with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, and salt, created such a wonderfully flavorful and fresh-tasting vinaigrette. Instead of shaking the vinaigrette in a jar, I simply whisked it in a 2-cup measuring cup and it came together nicely.

Every step of this dinner was quick and easy and the assembled dish looked exactly like the photo. After thinly slicing the steak, I mounded baby arugula (about 2.1 oz) on 2 plates and sprinkled some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano over it. I drizzled a little of the pesto vinaigrette over the salad. Then I layered on the steak slices, more Parmesan shavings, and another drizzle of the vinaigrette. I only had about a tablespoon of the vinaigrette leftover. The vinaigrette melded all the flavors of this dish so perfectly!

I served this steak salad with halved oven-browned baby potatoes to round out this dinner. I started the potatoes earlier, but making the steak salad took all of about 22 minutes total! This steak and arugula salad is a KEEPER for any time of year!

Meaty, juicy beefiness perfectly complemented and enhanced by the slightly peppery flavor of the arugula. Thoroughly enjoyed as a breezy summer evening dinner meant to be enjoyed with a glass of California Cabernet. The meat was perfectly seared on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The pesto Genovese was out of this world and the perfect complement to the meat, and the Parmesan cheese lent itself nicely to the olive oil and garlic and the saltiness of the cheese. I topped the salad off with some fresh cracked black pepper and some pita chips.

I tried the pesto recipe on the site and it is most awesome. I used all the pesto in the salad and there was none leftover except what was at the bottom of the bowl at the end, which my husband and I soaked up with some pieces of Italian bread.


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  1. I have made this twice now for my family and it gets major points for being super quick to make and big on flavour. The second time I made it, I didn’t have arugula but used butter lettuce instead and it was still really tasty. It’s also low carb. A perfect weeknight meal I will keep in rotation.

  2. 5 stars
    This salad was delicious. I used a spinach pesto recipe from this site to include in my dressing and it turned out to be a delightfully tangy addition to the salad. The steak was juicy and tender. It’s always nice to look down at a colorful plate and this recipe made for a lovely plate.

    1. I’m delighted that you enjoyed this, April, and that is indeed a great-looking salad. This recipe is one of my favorites, too.

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