Healthy Autumn Steak Salad with Pecans, Apples & Raspberry Vinaigrette


This healthy steak salad recipe with toasted nuts, apples, and raspberry vinaigrette is high in protein and wonderfully satisfying. The perfect light lunch or dinner.

overhead shot of healthy autumn steak salad drizzled with maple raspberry vinaigrette

This healthy Autumn Salad with Pan-Seared Steak, Pecans, Apples & Raspberry Dressing makes for a delicious light dinner! 

As much as I love living in Mexico, I do really miss a couple of things. Mostly chowing down on a delicious and tender steak whenever I feel like it.

The province I used to live in, Alberta, is pretty much synonymous with choice cuts of AAA beef and while Merida has great steakhouses, it will never ever be quite the same.

I created this salad recipe after having eaten an incredible steak salad in Calgary. It was one of those meals you eat and obsess over for days and days after. Does that happen to you guys or am I the only one who gets that excited over food. Can’t be.

Well, trust me when I say, this healthy steak salad recipe is UHU-MAZING! If you’re the kind of person that thinks that eating a salad for dinner is kinda lame, then you clearly haven’t made this healthy steak salad recipe. 

What makes this steak salad recipe healthy? 

Ordering a steak salad at the steak house might seem like a healthy choice at first glance but let’s face it. Often it is not. Croutons, creamy, sugary mayo dressings and, ahem, cheese? 

This steak salad has loads of healthy ingredients and a very light sugar-free healthy raspberry dressing. The salad vinaigrette features healthy fresh raspberries, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil all which are linked to numerous health benefits.

As a fruit, I added apples which are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. Those phytonutrients and antioxidants we find in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the pecans! Like most other nuts, pecans contain various nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that offer some wonderful health benefits.

overhead shot of a healthy steak salad with perfect pan-seared steak strips, apples, pecans and raspberry dressing

How to make this healthy Steak Salad recipe:

The perfect steak salad needs 3 things – a perfectly cooked steak, something crunchy (here pecans and crisp apples) and a delicious creamy dressing that complements the red meat.

This healthy steak salad ticks all the boxes! 

How to pan-sear a steak perfectly: 

  • The best pan for cooking a steak on the stovetop is a stainless steel pan, a cast-iron skillet or a carbon steel pan. The latter is basically a lighter version of cast iron, offering many of the same cooking benefits. 
  • The best steaks for cooking on the stovetop are boneless steaks. Look for ones that are between one and one-and-a-half inches thick. Thicker cuts such as New York strip  or a boneless rib-eye work best for this method. Bone-in steaks are more difficult to properly pan-cook and can lead to uneven cooking. Save those for the next bbq.
  • Remove your meat from the fridge at least 30 minutes before frying to let it come to room temperature. Never put a cold steak in a hot frying pan, it will not cook evenly!
  • After marinating, dab your steak dry with some kitchen paper towel.
  • Use avocado oil or ghee for frying. Don’t use olive oil or butter as they will burn and get bitter.
  • Put your heaviest pan (I like cast iron) over high heat and let it get smoking hot. The high heat is essential to creating a nice crisp crust on the outside that adds a ton of flavor to the finished steak.
  • I never fry more than 2 steaks at once in my pan of the temperature in the pan drops too much.

overhead shot of a perfectly cooked sirloin steak cut into slices on a wooden chopping board

  • Use tongs to flip the meat. Don’t use a fork because the delicious juices will have a chance to escape through the wholes you poke into the meat.
  • I check for doneness with a  probe thermometer. Begin to check the steak’s internal temperature about halfway through cooking.

Measure the internal temperature:

  • For a rare steak, remove the steak from the heat at 125°F, about six minutes total cooking.
  • If you want a medium-rare steak, remove the steak from the heat at about 130°F, about eight minutes total cooking.
  • For a medium steak, 140°F is the sweet spot at a total of nine to 10 minutes cooking.

overhead shot of healthy autumn steak salad drizzled with maple raspberry vinaigrette

  • Finally, always let your steak rest before cutting it into strips. That way the juices can re-distribute evenly throughout the meat. By letting the meat rest, you will have a juicier steak! To keep your meat from getting cold, I cover the steak in foil and let it sit for 5  minutes before cutting into it. 

What you see in the pictures is medium-rare – more on the rare side actually, which is how I like my steak. I cooked it for a total of 7 minutes.

What’s the best dressing for steak salad? 

I have ordered many many steak salads in my life and I have to say my favorites have always included a really good vinaigrette. And I’m telling you, this raspberry vinaigrette is PERFECTION! 

Berries and red meat, a match made in heaven!So flavorful and it has the prettiest hue of pink!

This raspberry vinaigrette is easy to make, can be made in advance and contains simple everyday ingredients. It’s really the perfect complement to the steak.

a basket filled with freshly picked raspberries standing in a forest

How to make Raspberry Vinaigrette:

Add raspberries and honey to a small pot along with 1 tbsp water and honey and let come to a simmer. Mash the raspberries with a fork as they cook.

Pass the mix through a strainer to remove the seeds and chill the mixture in the fridge. 

overhead shot of a mason jar wit homemade raspberry vinaigrette

Once cooled down, add the raspberry puree to your food processor or blender along with vinegar, sour cream, stevia, salt and blend until smooth.

Now, while blending, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. This also works really well with an immersion blender.

Tips for making this healthy steak salad recipe: 

  • This recipe is great for meal prep. After frying your steak, wrap it up and place it in the fridge until ready to eat!
  • Always wash lettuce before cutting. If you rinse chopped lettuce you will wash out most of the vitamins. 
  • Spin your chopped lettuce after washing it in a salad spinner. Drying the leaves for the salad is important as dressings do not stick well to wet lettuce. 
  • Always toast your nuts before adding them to salads. Whether you toast them in the oven or on the stovetop, it only takes a few minutes and you will dramatically improve their taste. You can toss pecans in oil and salt or spices if desired. Arrange them in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet and preheat your oven to 350F. Toast until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 9 minutes. Or toast them in a pan over medium heat for 2 to 5 minutes.

overhead shot of a healthy steak salad with pecans, apples and raspberry dressing

Variations on this healthy steak salad recipe: 

  • You can use blackberries, blueberries or a berry mix instead of raspberries! 
  • Maple syrup is a great substitute for honey. 
  • Don’t like pecans? Use smoked almonds, cashews or toasted walnuts! 
  • Pears are a great substitute for the apples but peaches would also work well.

Looking for more healthy recipes that are high in protein? Try my Chicken Laap (Larb Gai) recipe, my Healthy Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps and my recipe for Sticky Lime & Ginger Chicken

Did you make and love this healthy steak salad recipe? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

Healthy Steak Salad with Pecans, Apples & Raspberry Vinaigrette

A gorgeous Autumn Salad with pan-seared sirloin steak, toasted pecans and fresh apples drizzled with a refined sugar-free creamy raspberry dressing. A Healthy steak salad that is clean eating approved! 

Course main dish
Cuisine American, Clean eating, healthy
Keyword autumns salad recipe, healthy steak salad recipe, raspberry vinaigrette recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 450 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries heaping cup, 150 g
  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp apple cider or white balsamico
  • 3/4 cup sour cream full-fat, or cashew sour cream for dairy-free
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 2 tbsp

For the salad

  • 1 pound sirloin steak
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 2 romaine lettuce hearts
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil

Instructions

For the raspberry vinaigrette:

  1. Add raspberries and honey to a small pot along with 1 tbsp water and honey and let come to a simmer. Mash the raspberries with a fork as they cook. Pass the mix through a strainer to remove the seeds and chill the mixture in the fridge. 

  2. Once cooled down, add the raspberry puree to your food processor or blender along with vinegar, sour cream, stevia, salt and blend until smooth. Now, while blending, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. This also works really well with an immersion blender. The dressing keeps for 3 to 5 days. 

For the salad:

  1. Put the steak in a freezer bag and add the soy sauce. Massage quickly and marinate the steak in the soy sauce for about 30 minutes. Do this at room temperature.

  2. Toast your pecans in a pan or in the oven without adding any fat. Toast them on medium-low heat for about 3 to 5 minutes until they start to smell fragrant and set the pan aside. Alternatively, toast them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes at 350F. 

  3. Slice cucumber and chop up your romaine hearts. 

  4. Wash the apple, quarter it, remove the seeds and cut it into slices. Drizzle with some lemon juice to keep the slices from browning. 

  5. Remove the steak from the marinade and blot dry a bit with a kitchen towel. Brush the steak with a bit of avocado oil and salt lightly. Put your heaviest pan (I like cast iron) over high heat and let it get smoking hot. 

  6. Put the meat in your hot pan and fry for 3 to 4 minutes (for medium-rare. For detailed instructions please check tips on cooking steak in the blog post). Flip using tongs and fry for another 3 minutes. Once the steaks are cooked to your desired doneness, remove them to a plate or cutting board and tent loosely with foil for 5 minutes. Chill until ready to eat. Cut steak crosswise into thin slices.

  7. Arrange steak slices on a bed of lettuce, sliced apples, and cucumbers and sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with vinaigrette and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe is great for meal prep. After frying your steak, wrap it up and place it in the fridge until ready to eat!
  • Always wash lettuce before cutting. If you rinse chopped lettuce you will wash out most of the vitamins. 
  • Spin your chopped lettuce after washing it in a salad spinner. Drying the leaves for the salad is important as dressings do not stick well to wet lettuce. 
  • Always toast your nuts before adding them to salads. Whether you toast them in the oven or on the stovetop, it only takes a few minutes and you will dramatically improve their taste. You can toss pecans in oil and salt or spices if desired. Arrange them in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet and preheat your oven to 350F. Toast until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 9 minutes. Or toast them in a pan over medium heat for 2 to 5 minutes.

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