If you like entree salads like we do, especially in the summer with fresh ingredients, you’ll love this quick prep spinach salad.
You can mix and match ingredients for your favorite protein, preferred type of lettuce, pears or apples, and type of nuts and cheese. We like to make a homemade garlic dressing to match our preferred flavors rather than a store-bought one, but that’s your choice, too.
This salad as-is makes a great addition to our weekend lunch or dinner, or weekday dinner options. But the easy ingredients leave you plenty of substitutions to your preferences.
We’ve scaled this recipe to make large bowls of salad for two for dinner. You can adjust if you want a side salad, lunch salad, or scale up for more servings.
- Fresh spinach lettuce greens — 4-6 handfuls as needed for 2 bowls of salad
- 8 ounces of steak — tenderloin, ribeye, flank steak, or top sirloin are our preferences
- 1 Pear cut into thin slices
- Small crumbles of blue cheese for good coverage in the bowl to taste
- Several handfuls of pecans, partially crunched into bite-sized pieces, although walnuts work well, too
- Garlic vinaigrette with preferred seasonings like extra minced garlic, pepper and salt to taste, and Dijon mustard
- Rinse spinach or your preferred lettuce, toss to dry, and set aside.
- Slice the steak of your preference into thin strips and season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. We like to add Montreal Steak Seasoning but that’s optional, as are other meat seasonings you like.
- Sear the steak lightly and cook to your desired doneness. We cook ours to just past medium rare and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. If you are eating tonight, place the cooled steak in the refrigerator to cool to room temperature before serving. If you are prepping meat for 2 days of salads, place the one for the future night in the refrigerator right away to cool down. Serve cold the next day.
- Add the greens to the bowl. Layer in the pear slices, crumbled blue cheese to taste, and sprinkle in the pecans or walnuts.
- Lay the steak slices on top.
- Drizzle your garlic (or other dressing of your choice) evenly over the prepared salad.
- Garnish with a sprig of parsley
- You can substitute your protein for the steak — other steak, chicken, pork, or even fish or shrimp.
- You can use your preferred choice of lettuce. I sometimes avoid spring greens because spinach and romaine, for example, can hold the layers of ingredients together in the bowl better.
- If you can’t find good ripe pears, you can substitute apple chunks instead.
- The blue cheese should be small crumbles, but if you don’t like or want blue cheese, you could substitute feta or similar cheeses. Even a thin shredded cheddar can work but I would definitely try to tailor the dressing to match the cheese you use.
- Walnuts can be substituted for pecans. Other nuts aren’t a perfect match but pistachios and chopped cashews might work if you like those better. I find the cashews a bit salty and the pistachios a strong taste for this salad, though.
- You can sub out basil, chives, cilantro, or oregano to taste.
Enjoy! With so many options, you can source for 2 days of salads, mix and match ingredients, or scale up for a dinner party. Cooking the protein for 2 days of servings makes it a fast prep overall. We sometimes even invite friends, provide substituted ingredients for the nuts, cheese, and lettuce, and allow everyone to create their own salad on the spot.