Mexican cuisine is one of my favorite foods, but sometimes it’s not exactly the healthiest of choices. I am always trying to create recipes that are lighter on calories without losing flavor. Salads are a great option when choosing to eat lighter and if you are trying to increase your vegetable intake, like most of us are trying to do. They also make a great dinnertime option because if you top with some protein, they become a satisfying meal.
It’s always wise to start with a good steak, and that begins with a quality cut of meat like filet mignon, or hanger steak. I recommend to choose something in your budget. Hanger steak, if cut properly (across the grain) can offer some of the same tender qualities as other expensive cuts, but at a much more affordable price.
To transform your beef into a Mexican paradise, rub it first with dried spices like; onion powder, chili powder and cumin. Searing beef in an extra hot iron pan, or on an outdoor grill, forms a crust that locks in the juices and gives the steak outstanding texture. Always cook your beef to your liking, and be sure not to overcook it because you don’t want it to dry out.
The onions and peppers in this recipe turn into a caramelized companion and go so nicely with the hardy meat. This salad is easy to prepare and can be served warm, room temperature or cold, which makes it great for small gatherings too, especially if you double the recipe.
8 ounces filet mignon or hanger steak
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt + more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
5 cups of baby spinach leaves
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of salt & pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil + more for cooking
1. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Rub on both sides of steak. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil in pan and heat on high for 2 minutes, or until lightly smoking. Place meat in pan and cook on first side for 4 minutes. Flip over and cook on the other side for 3 minutes, depending upon how you like your steak.
2. Remove steak from pan and rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes, while you sauté vegetables. Place onions, peppers, 2 teaspoons oil in same sauté pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, until crisp tender, yet slightly caramelized.
3. Place vinaigrette ingredients in a sealed jar and shake until combined. Place spinach in a large serving bowl and top with sautéed vegetables.
4. Slice steak thinly and place on top of vegetables. Top with cheese and drizzle with half of vinaigrette, serve remaining with salad. Enjoy!