Vietnamese Steak Salad

May/June 1998

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Crisp spring greens, crunchy carrots and cucumbers are tossed with plenty of fresh herbs (a signature of Vietnamese cuisine) and a savory lemongrass vinaigrette in this refreshing salad. Topped with slices of grilled, marinated flank steak that are reminiscent of the street food of Hanoi, this dish makes an excellent lunch or light supper. Add a few slices of crusty baguette (also a Vietnamese tradition) to finish the plate.

"Very tasty, light, and wholesome way to enjoy steak! I liked to add some rice noodles to get a little extra starch. Our whole family loved it, including a seven- and ten-year-old! "
Vietnamese Steak Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:



  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce, (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chile oil
  • 12 ounces flank steak, trimmed


  • 8 cups watercress, or spinach, trimmed, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Lemongrass Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 small stalks lemongrass, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped shallot, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hot chile oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint


  1. To prepare steak: Combine lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce and chile oil in a large sealable plastic bag. Add steak and seal the bag, turning to coat the meat with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator, turning the bag occasionally, for 4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare vinaigrette: Combine broth, lemongrass and 2 tablespoons shallot in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain into a small bowl, discarding solids. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons shallot, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and chile oil; whisk to combine. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and mint.
  3. Preheat grill to high.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade (discard marinade). Grill the steak, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly on the diagonal, across the grain.
  5. To prepare salad: Toss watercress (or spinach), cucumber, carrot, cilantro and mint with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette in a large shallow bowl. Arrange the steak over the greens. Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the top and serve.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Marinate the steak (Step 1) for up to 8 hours.
  • Note: Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian section of large supermarkets and in Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce, lower in sodium than other brands (1,190 mg per tablespoon), in our nutritional analyses.


Per serving: 224 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 48 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 28 g protein; 2 g fiber; 715 mg sodium; 749 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (127% daily value), Vitamin C (63% dv), Selenium (39% dv), Zinc (32% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Iron (18% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 1/2 lean meat

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Total Time
1 hour or less
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May/June 1998
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