Apple Balsamic Steak Salad with Summer Fruit (Paleo, Whole30)
Juicy tender marinated steak over a bed of fresh summer greens, sweet summer fruits and earthy fennel, the perfect ending to a beautiful summer day. The marinade for this steak is pretty much Ah-mazing and better than anything you’ve ever had! Sweet and delicate apple balsamic vinegar is the star of the dish as it brings the perfect sweetness to the smoky steak in the marinade, and is even more pronounced if you pair the salad with this Apple Balsamic Vinaigrette. This simple and fabulous summer salad is Paleo and Whole30 friendly, just omit the blue cheese from it and you are good to go!
What is the difference between Apple Balsamic Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple balsamic vinegar is made by fermenting grapes to produce a sweet and rich balsamic vinegar which is then enhanced with fresh apple. This vinegar is much sweeter, less acidic and has a very delicate flavor compared to that of apple cider vinegar. I love to use this vinegar when I am looking for a sweeter vinaigrette or marinade, and it is so good just drizzled over a fresh bed of bitter and earthy arugula with some fennel and good EVOO, and don’t forget the fresh cracked pepper!
Apple cider vinegar is made through the fermentation of pure apple cider and it produces a light, tangy, and very acidic vinegar. This vinegar is a lot less sweet than apple balsamic vinegar and is great for pickling, tangy vinaigrettes and marinades, and is my go-to with a little water after dinner to help with digestion.
Why Grass-Fed Beef vs. Conventional
Let’s first talk about why I prefer grass-fed beef over grass-finished and conventional beef. In their natural habitat, cows eat grass and small amounts of grain when the grass is seeding . This provides the cow all the nutrients it needs to healthy, and we want to eat healthy animals. When cow are fed a lot of grain, like in conventional beef, the food source is not the natural source of food for the cows and it lacks the nutrients the cow needs to stay healthy, thus creating a less nutritious beef.
Additionally, because grass-fed cows are eating what they are supposed to be eating, the beef they produce is the most nutrient dense and has the omega-3’s that are supposed to naturally be in the beef. Due to the lack of nutrients in conventional beef, it does not contain the omega-3’s thus creating a nutrient deficient beef.
Grass-fed beef is not necessarily the same as grass-finished beef, so make sure you ask your butcher or the farm you source your beef from to clarify. Ideally you want beef sourced from an animal that grazed on grass its entire life, however there are farms that grain-feed most of the life and then “finish” on grass, or even grass feed most of the life and “grain-finish” to fatten the animal up in the last few months. As mentioned before, 100% grass-fed beef is the most nutrient dense beef and is my preferred choice when eating any beef nose to tail.
Grass-fed beef is loaded with nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.
- Protein is an essential nutrient and beef is a complete source of all essential amino acids you need. Amino acids are the building blocks to the proteins in your body, including collagen, and they are necessary in cellular health and repair.
- Over one third of the fat found in beef is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat that is also found in avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil. Oleic acid supports brain and nervous system function and support healthy blood sugar regulation .
- Vitamins: B3 (niacin: support healthy blood fat levels and blood sugars ), B6 (supports a healthy immune system), B12 (essential vitamin necessary in red blood cell formation.)
- Iron: Heme iron that is easily absorbed and is necessary in the formation of hemoglobin.
- Phosphorus: Supports healthy teeth and bones, muscle recovery after working out, and detoxification.
- Selenium: Supports thyroid health  and supports your immune system.
- Zinc: Essential in digestion, thyroid health, and a healthy immune system.
So grab some 100% grass-fed beef and let’s get cooking!
Apple Balsamic Steak Salad with Summer Fruit Ingredients
Makes 4-6 Servings
2# Grass-Fed Flank or Skirt Steak
½ cup Apple Balsamic Vinegar*
¼ cup EVOO
¼ cup Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Shallot, minced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Fine Sea Salt or Pink Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
* This is different from apple cider vinegar, if you can’t find it, you can use a good aged balsamic vinegar in its place.
For the Salad
6 cups of Arugula
6 cups of Spring Mix
1 cup of Radicchio, sliced
1 Small Fennel, thinly sliced
2 Fresh Peaches, sliced
4 ounces of Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Stilton Blue cheese, crumbled**
**Omit for Paleo and Whole30
How to Make Apple Balsamic Steak Salad with Summer Fruit
1. In a shallow baking dish, add all the marinade ingredients and whisk to combine.
2. If needed, trim your steak and then marinate for at least 4-hours to overnight, flipping over halfway through.
3. Preheat the grill to 425 degrees
4. Grill the steak for 3-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your steak, I had two 1-lb steaks and they cooked much faster than a 2-lb steak would. When in doubt, use a meat thermometer.
Internal Temperature Range
- RARE – 120°F – 125°F
- MEDIUM RARE – 130°F – 135°F
- MEDIUM – 140°F – 145°F
- MEDIUM WELL – 150°F – 155°F
- WELL DONE – 160°F
5. In a large salad bowl, combine all the salad ingredients, set aside.
6. Remove the steak and allow to rest at least 10-15 minutes before slicing.
7. Slice against the grain and serve on top of the salad with Apple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
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Q: Can I marinate the steak in less time than and hour and still get good flavor?
A: If you are in a hurry, you can marinade for 1-hour at room temperature, but you will not achieve the same depth of flavor as you would if you marinated it overnight.
Q: Can I use apple cider vinegar in place of the apple balsamic vinegar in the recipe?
A: Yes, but use only half the amount of ACV compared to the apple balsamic vinegar and add 1/4 cup of pure honey or pure maple syrup to temper the acidity of the ACV.
Q: What could I substitute for the radicchio in this steak salad?
A: You can add or subtract anything you like in your salad, if you’re looking for a good replacement for radicchio, try thinly sliced red cabbage!
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I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.
Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.