Steak Salad With Cucumber, Peppers, and Spicy Fish Sauce Vinaigrette Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life gives you pounds and pounds of leftover top quality dry-aged beef, you make a steak salad with cucumbers, peppers, herbs, and a spicy fish sauce-based dressing. At least, that's what I do.

It'd be a stretch to call this salad a particularly Thai or Vietnamese or any other South East Asian dish, but the flavors of the dressing—fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chilies—are straight out of their playbook.

Cucumbers and sliced red peppers add freshness and crunch, while peanuts, shallots, and cilantro round out the flavors. The rare-cooked beef makes a great vehicle for the sauce, which helps soften it up a bit as it sits. This is one of those salads that's even better when eaten the next day, making it ideal make-ahead lunch box fare.

Recipe Details

Steak Salad With Cucumber, Peppers, and Spicy Fish Sauce Vinaigrette Recipe

Active 25 mins
Total 25 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • 1 pound flank, skirt, or boneless ribeye steak (about 1-inch thick)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons juice from about 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dried Thai chilies (or red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, split in half lengthwise, de-seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces on the bias
  • 1 large red pepper, seeds and stem removed, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted peanuts
  • handful fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems


  1. Season beef on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat until smoking. Add meat and cook, turning regularly, until well-browned on both sides and the center registers 125°F on an instand read thermometer, about 6 minutes total. (Reduce heat while cooking if necessary). Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. slice into thin strips against the grain and set aside.

  2. Combine lime juice, fish sauce, dried chili, sugar, and garlic in a large bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more fish sauce if desired.

  3. Add cucumber, red pepper, shallots, peanuts, cilantro, and steak, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator overnight and serve the next day.

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