Grilled Thai Beef Salad with Crispy Shallots


Bold flavors like soy and sesame make Grilled Thai Beef Salad with Crispy Shallots taste absolutely mouthwatering.


Howdy – happy Monday!

I hope your week got off to a better start than mine did. This afternoon my irrational luck with repeatedly locking my keys in my car joined forces with a growing talent for locking myself out of the house, as I successfully locked both my car AND house keys in the car before I made it to the front door when I went home over lunch.


A frozen phone call for help to Ben rendered the house unlocked and opened 30 toe-numbing minutes later…just in time to turn around and go back to work. Blerg!

Please Ma’am, no pictures. Happy to help.

Note to self: STOP DOING THINGS LIKE THIS also, place a spare house key somewhere other than on your car key ring because, let’s be real, you probably won’t stop doing things like this.

Please tell me I’m not the only one?! 

In other news, if you don’t feel like going out or baking pizza at home tomorrow, I have an amazing recipe that will knock the heart-adorned socks off of you and your loved one(s) on Valentine’s Day – Grilled Thai Beef Salad with Crispy Shallots.


This salad recipe comes from Ellie Krieger, and is absolutely out of this world. Big, bold flavors like soy sauce and sesame oil combine with the sweet-earthy flavors of fresh basil and cilantro for a salad that won’t leave your husband cough making a peanut butter sandwich to fill up on afterwards.

That’s because it’s topped with RED MEAT! I feel like such a wretched Midwesterner – I don’t think I’ve had a good steak since last summer. This salad was far overdue, which made it taste even more delectable.


Grilled Thai Beef Salad is sexy and impressive, yet light and easy to prepare, leaving you with plenty of time to snuggle after dinner.


Start with a flank steak, which is not only lower in fat than other steak cuts, but is cheaper too. Marinate the steak in a sultry combination of fresh lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce or gluten-free tamari (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce) and ginger, then grill it at a very high heat for about 5 minutes a side.


I WISH I would have thought about making this during our stretch of 60 degree days a couple weeks ago, but since our grill is now under 6 inches of snow, my Griddler took over. After the steak is done, let it rest for 5-7 minutes before slicing it very thinly against the natural grain of the meat. This is important!

DSC_0553   DSC_0555

Resting the steak then cutting it thinly results in juicy, buttery, tender, melt-in-your-mouth slices.


What I loved the most about this salad though, were the sauteed shallots piled on top. I know, I know – shallots, which taste like onion and garlic’s love child, on Valentine’s Day?! Thank goodness two funky breaths cancel each other out!


Just thinly slice a couple shallots, then saute them in olive oil until they’re golden brown and crispy. They are indescribably delicious.


Pile the shallots and beef atop a bed of baby spinach and romaine lettuce that’s been tossed with fresh basil, cilantro and a tangy Thai-inspired dressing, and dig in.


Grilled Thai Beef Salad with Crispy Shallots

Serves 2-3


Grilled Thai Beef Salad with Crispy Shallots is full of savory, bold flavors, making it absolutely mouthwatering.


  • 3/4lb - 1lb flank steak
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and microplaned (or minced)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 bag Dole baby spinach
  • 1 bag Dole Romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 shallots, cut into thin rings
  • 1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, canola oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and chili-garlic sauce. Pour half the mixture into a ziplock bag. Add the steak and 2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice to the bag and marinate for 4 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight. Add the remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice to the remaining mixture and reserve to dress the salad.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to high, then spray with non-stick spray. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill for 5 minutes a side, or until cooked to your preferred level of doneness. Remove the steak to a plate, let it rest for 5-7 minutes, then slice it thinly against the grain.
  3. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add in shallots and saute, stirring often, until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the baby spinach, romaine lettuce, cilantro, basil, and tomatoes. Pour reserved salad dressing over and toss to coat. Divide salads among plates, top with steak slices, and crispy shallots.


Slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Each bite is bursting with sweet & salty flavors, accented by pops of freshness from the herbs and juicy tomatoes.


You’ll both (assuming you both eat meat) fall in the love with the steak too. Flank steak never fails. Flank steak for president! Let me know if you try this!



What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you have any fun traditions you do every year?

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  1. Lindsey 02.13.2012

    We always make each other homemade gifts in the morning. Then after work we make a more gourmet supper and dessert at home together, and just have the quality time together – no gym, no video games etc ;)

  2. Angie 02.13.2012

    Looks delicious! Flank steak is the best! I usually make it in the summer with a chimichurri dressing. Wonder if this would get my hubs to eat salad?

    P.S. How do you feel about the Griddler? I’ve been salivating over the commercials but I’m not sure about the cost.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.13.2012

      LOVE IT. Love that you can make pancakes (the plates flip around for a smooth side) paninis, and grill, all with one machine. Although I haven’t used it lately (for whatever reason) I honestly use it so much more than I ever thought I would!

  3. Claire 02.13.2012

    We always eat Chinese food :) for no other reason, than we love it, ate it a lot while dating, and try to limit our intake of it now.

    Last post you mentioned doing prep for the weekly dinners on Sunday. I was wondering, what kind of prep do you do? I’m not sure what can be done in advance, and if it really saves a lot of time during the week? Just curious and thanks!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.13.2012

      I will usually cut up veggies, make soup/any casseroles/dishes that can be made ahead of time, make salad dressings, etc. It saves So. Much. Time! I’ll try and show more on the blog any work that I’ve done ahead of time!

  4. Katie 02.13.2012

    That salad looks too good. I LOVE shallots, too! Gahh, I’m gonna have to try this some time. :) Any time is perfect, since I’m young, single, and nobody has to worry about kissing me with stinky breath yet (except maybe my parents?) Lol, have a happy Valentine’s Day, though! :)

  5. This looks so good! I haven’t had steak in a while either, so I’m also a bad midwesterner :-) And don’t worry – I have locked my keys in my car plenty of times! And lost my apartment key while I was running. And then freaked out that my apartment complex would charge me hundreds of dollars to change the lock, so I looked for the key for hours. And then my apartment charged me $5 :)

  6. delicious! we have dinner plans tomorrow, but this will definitely be added to the recipe rotation. flank steak is one of my faves!

  7. Sara 02.13.2012

    With our wedding a little over 4 months away we’ve been in healthy eating mode/gym mode so for Valentine’s Day we’re taking the night off and going to our favorite sushi place and cracking open a bottle of sparkling pink muscato from Trader Joe’s! So excited!!!

    We’re normally a pretty low key couple, but for Valentine’s Day it’s fun to dress up and go out.

    This looks awesome by the way, pinning it so I can make it soon!

  8. Kasi 02.13.2012

    Don’t feel bad, I’ve locked myself out of a running car! That’s pretty super.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.13.2012

      Ohhhohoho nooo! I think I would have a panic attack if I did that. Yep.

  9. shandy 02.13.2012

    I typically spend Valentine’s day being jealous of everybody. This is a mean day for singles to endure IMO.

    The steak salad looks tasty.

  10. jennyv 02.13.2012

    Heart-shaped pizza… homemade… every year :)

  11. I am loving red meat these days (a pregnancy thing I think) so this salad is making my mouth water as we speak. Off to make some dinner of my own… too bad I don’t have any flank steak in the fridge!

  12. This salad looks like JUST what the doctor ordered!!!!!! Gorgeous pics, too. Um, I locked myself outside with no keys to my house or car in the RAIN once. MY BOSS came to get me. UGH!

  13. Olivia 02.13.2012

    If only my man loved steak! Haha I totally have one waiting for me for dinner tomorrow though!

  14. Gail Orcutt 02.13.2012

    That looks SO delicious! Great Valentine’s idea.

    I made this tonight.
    It was great. I would add another can of chicken broth because it was pretty thick. I also added some shredded carrots that were left over from another soup recipe.

  15. Lauren 02.13.2012

    I have definitely done this before and it is the worst feeling! Thankfully, it was in the summer but still, nothing sucks more than being locked out of your house or car. Good thing you have a handsome man to rescue you!

  16. Kate 02.13.2012

    The security officer at my high school and I were on a first name basis by the end of my senior year because I locked my keys in my car so many times. Imagine my shock the first time I locked my keys in my car at college and I had to pay for the service!

  17. Awesome photos! The bokeh in your photos awesome! What lens are you using? I am Nikon user, and I love my 50 MM 1.4 which gives that effect! Anyways, I always admire your food photos, always makes me super hungry! :)

  18. Sarah 02.13.2012

    I am totally a person who needs to have a spare key hidden near her front door. It’s come in handy more than once. Also, this salad looks amazing! I see it on my menu for the week to come. Thanks!

  19. Kath 02.13.2012

    That is a gorgeous steak salad! Love it!

    Kristin, I don’t know why you don’t get outside and grill! I grew up in Minneapolis and all winter long my Dad would go out through the snow to the gas grill to grill steaks or chicken. These days, I just have to brave the rain and wind in Seattle. :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.14.2012

      I know I am such a wimp when it comes to the snow and the cold. I hate it!

  20. Kevie 02.13.2012

    You’re NOT the only one. When I bought my own place, I locked myself out after the first night I slept in my new place. Spent $60 on a locksmith. Then about one month later, I locked myself out from laying out on the balcony. Luckily, a friend was a phone call away. Then about a year later, I locked my car keys and house keys in my car on my way to class. No one else had house keys except my dad who lived about an hour away. Good thing I’m a daddy’s girl. Wow, that’s a long comment …but it’s def not you.

  21. Katie 02.13.2012

    The Bachelor is driving me nuts too! Yet I can’t stop watching.

  22. Is it possible you’re pregnant? That is about the only time I lock myself out. 3x in one week with my first. Although there was also the time that I locked myself out of the apartment, and I was the apartment manager. DOH!

    The salad looks yummy! Can’t wait to try it.

  23. jan in mississippi 02.13.2012

    i locked myself, my bf, and my dog out of the house a couple of weeks ago, at 10:15 on a saturday night. my 76 y/o uncle and a younger friend have keys to my house. i thought, who was more likely to be up at that time of the night? called the younger friend…she had just gotten home from work! so we hightailed it over to her house and got back in…my dog didn’t really enjoy the ride in bf’s big diesel truck!

    so, no…you’re not the only one!

  24. Allison 02.13.2012

    I am addicted to the Bachelor is well…. I would agree Ben is awful. How are all these women so IN to him? I don’t understand a lot of the decisions he has made when it comes to women he has sent home. Seriously, WHY would he send home Jennifer? Also, he isn’t even cute. That hair! Ick.

    This recipe looks good. I have all of Ellie Krieger’s cookbooks. Was it hard to find chili-garlic sauce? Cannot say that I have used it before.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.14.2012

      Agreed – that hair is absolutely atrocious!!!

      I got the chili garlic sauce at the regular grocery store next to the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, etc.

  25. Eve 02.13.2012

    I have a romantic early evening of parent teacher conferences planned (hahaha). Then I will rush home to see my three little bonzos before putting them to bed. Finally, I plan to share a glass of wine with my husband.

  26. Eleni 02.13.2012

    We’re getting a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s and I’m actually really pumped for it! My dad sends me a chocolate rose every year too.

  27. Love that Griddler! I thought it was going to be too much (size and function wise) but it’s seriously one of my favorite appliances/gadgets now!

  28. Shannon 02.13.2012

    Girl, we do this so often that we finally bought a lock box and hung it on our side door. It has come in handy more times than either of us cares to admit.

  29. We also make a fancy dinner at home (who needs to fight the crowds at a restaurant?). This year, we celebrated a day early and made New York strip steaks with sweet potato fries and green beans. YUM!

  30. Wendy G. 02.13.2012

    This season of The Bachelor is like a train wreck you can’t help but watch. Courtney is so far stuck up her own a*s!!!!! I don’t know how anyone finds his mop hair attractive? However I cant pull myself away from watching it. I even watch it over Gossip Girl!

  31. I’m frying up some homemade chicken parm tonight! I already put together the tomato sauce on Sunday… so hopefully this labor intensive meal will still allow me some cuddle time tonight :)

    Happy Vday!

  32. Traci Wheeler 02.14.2012

    Hi Kristin! I just recently stumbled across your blog (can’t remember how), and I am really loving it. You do a great job!

    Just to make you feel better, several years ago I locked my car keys in the car with both of my young boys still strapped in their car seats. They were too young to get out of their seats and unlock the doors, so I had to wait 30 minutes for my husband to get to me from work. It was pretty stressful, and I felt like a complete idiot!!

    I also know what you mean about the Bachelor. I can’t stand Ben or the women either, yet I continue to watch the train wreck. Go figure!!

    The Thai Beef salad looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it!

    Keep up the good work!

  33. I love everything about this post! Crispy shallots? YUM! One of my favorite things. Also, I feel the exact same way about the Bachelor. I find myself wanting to throw up every time he kisses a girl with his tongue all the way OUT of his mouth. Gross. But yet, I am addicted too.

  34. Kristin 02.14.2012

    Glad to know I am not the only one with the locking keys in the car/house problem! A few years ago it was so bad we had 2 hide-a-keys hidden outside and at least 5 people had both keys to my house and car so someone was always available to come un-lock for me! I blame it on multi-taking—brain is always one step ahead of the task it should be working on. LOL!!

  35. sarah k 02.14.2012

    My husband locked himself out of his truck last year. While the truck was still running. And he had no spare key. It almost ran out of gas before Triple A came to unlock it. Yikes!

    We stay home and make dinner every year. Tonight’s menu is Spaghetti Carbonara and Barefoot Contessa Brownie Tart. Two of our faves, but they are soooo decadent that we only have them once a year :)

  36. Amber "Virginia Foodie" 02.14.2012

    Somehow I only manage to lock myself out of the house when my husband ISN’T home – how convenient right?? Thank goodness I also forgot to lock our back patio door otherwise I don’t know what I would have done!

    I’ve been reading your blog recently and seriously cannot get enough of these recipes. I want to make time to make them all! I also do my prep Sundays for the week, marinating, freezing, assembling, so the week is WAYYY easier when my husband asks “what’s are we eating tonight? (meaning what am I preparing for dinner :))”. I bet he would eat a sandwich after this salad too. He’s sneaky-hungry like that :)

  37. Last night my fiance surprised me and took me to get a pedicure/manicure. How sweet is that?

    Question: What setting did you grill your steak on? Genius btw!

  38. Amy 02.14.2012

    That salad looks so delicious!

  39. Kristen 02.14.2012

    I always make a big heart shaped valentine’s day cookie with valentine’s day M&M’s! Seriously – it is one of my favorite holiday’s purely for the colors and the candy!

  40. Michelle 02.14.2012

    I have to make this salad! Ellie K is my new favorite food network chef, DVR all her shows now.

  41. joe 02.14.2012

    Stash a key on a nail up under your deck. It works. Fail to plan, plan to fail. I see those Griddler things at Salvation Army sometimes. Target has a knock-off brand of the same thing and they end up with the rest of Target’s new old stock donations. The last one I saw was $45. Check early and often.

  42. nat@thesweetslife 02.14.2012

    oh boy can i ever relate to the keys issue…i have locked myself out of the house SO many times. recently i finally hid a key nearby so that next time this happens i don’t have to wait to be rescued (waiting in 30 degree temps is what pushed me over the edge!!)

  43. Tiffani 02.14.2012

    Have you seen that idea on Pinterest to glue a rock to the lid of an old prescription bottle, then bury the bottle with a key inside? Here:

    So easy! Good luck!

    PS – Love your whole blog!

  44. Tom 02.14.2012

    love the locked out of the car face! Thai beef looks wonderful, pair up with a good Riesling to calm the heat?

  45. sharon weaver 02.14.2012

    No garage? I would never get into the house with out hitting the garage door opener in the car. Then you can just walk into the house from the garage. Won’t help you if you are away from home and do it.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.14.2012

      Both the door going into the house from the garage AND the front door were locked. Lucky me! :(

  46. Kristin, where did you get that piece of fabric (tea towel?) underneathe the salad? It’s gorgeous! I’ve been looking for fun patterns to make some throw pillows. Also – The Bachelor is ridiculously frustrating. I’m in the same boat as you, don’t really care for Ben or anybody on that show, but I just dislike Courtney SO much. She’s the devil. But I guess she keeps the ratings up…

  47. Rachel 02.14.2012

    Ok, can we talk about how cute you are? Seriously. :)

  48. All I can say is…crispy shallots. YUM

  49. Roberta 02.17.2012

    This worked out *really* well! you’re right, the shallots were fantastic! For the salad i used a combo of butter lettuce+arugula, but everything else was the same. Fantastic.

  50. […] thinly slice 3/4lb flank steak against the grain. I told you a couple weeks ago that flank steak is a pretty legit cut of beef in terms of tenderness (very), time it takes to cook (none), and price (cheap). It’s also […]

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