Hot Ginger-Lime Beef Salad with Peanut Dressing

While my parents were here, I went grocery shopping with them. I knew I wanted steak for a salad, but now that flank steak is so popular the prices have become quite expensive. I ended up getting some steak strips marked "fajita meat." They were very lean and cut against the grain. I got home to look at the recipe only to find out that I needed a full piece of beef. So, I basically chucked out the recipe and decided to go along with a concept: crispy veggies with beef flavored with soy, ginger, and lime grilled and served hot on baby spinach that would wilt the tiniest amount. I was going to do a vinaigrette, but then I thought about a dressing with peanut butter...sort of like satay sauce. As much as it sounds weird, I really like the flavor of meat and peanut butter. It reminds me of my favorite burger back at the Triple XXX diner near Purdue's campus. It was called the Dwayne Purvis (named after some sort of athlete, I'm sure). It was a huge burger fully loaded with the usual suspects of toppings, plus creamy peanut butter. This particular burger was sampled by Guy Fieri from the Food Network Show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and he threw a fit about it not being good. I beg to differ. Anyway, this salad is a hit of nostalgia from my time at Purdue combined with Thai flavors: a rich dressing that melts with the heat of the meat, soy-salty, gingery beef, and crispy veggies. It's basically a salad for those people who think salad is wimpy food. If you have leftovers, keep the components separate, then the next day toss them together and place them in a wrap for lunch and eat with as much greed as possible to make your co-workers jealous.

Hot Ginger-Lime Beef Salad with Peanut Dressing

For the beef:

3/4 lb extra-lean beef (such as top sirloin), cut into long strips
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, peeled and cracked open
1 tbsp lime juice (juice of half a small lime)
sugar or sugar substitute, to taste
black pepper

For the salad:

6 cups baby spinach
1 bell pepper (any combination of colors), cut into strips
3 scallions

For the dressing:

3 tbsp natural peanut butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced (a hand grater works best here)
1/4 tsp chopped fresh red or green chili, or to taste (optional)
2 tbsp cider or rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar or sugar substitute, to taste

sesame seeds for garnish

1. Combine the 1/8 cup soy sauce, ginger, garlic clove, lime juice (along with the bits of lime rind leftover after squeezing out the juice), sugar or sugar substitute, and pepper with the beef in a plastic zip-top bag. Marinate at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray and add the meat. Cook the meat until desired doneness.
3. Meanwhile, combine the spinach, bell pepper, cucumber, and scallion in a salad bowl.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside.
5. Toss the hot beef with the salad and the dressing. Serve immediately. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

Servings per recipe: 3
Per serving:
Calories: 362
Fat: 15.6 g
Saturated fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 101 mg
Sodium: 1103 mg
Carbohydrates: 14.2 g
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 42.3 g

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