Steak Salad w/ Arugula

July 9, 2008

Posted by: B

Here is a classic salad that is made extremely often in our household. It’s adapted from a recipe featured on Everyday Italian. I’ve simplified her version of the recipe with less herbs and a more classic dressing. I just love the simplicity of this salad – the steak is perfectly grilled to a medium rare (thanks to E’s amazing talent on the grill), the penne is left al dente, and lastly the fresh arugula just barely wilts in the hot pasta (with a little help from the additional pasta water saved). This salad can be served warm or cold. In fact, it only gets better left in the fridge all night, after the dressing has melted into the penne some more. And it packs well for a great lunch. More importantly, it’s perfect for those hot summer nights, when you want something light but you still need a bite to your food. This is no fussy delicate salad, au contrare- instead, you’ll find that it’s as filling as it is healthful. 

Steak Salad w/ Arugula


1lb steak (preferably with no bones – flank steak or a boneless sirloin is best)

1 box of penne pasta (I use whole wheat or smart pasta if you prefer the taste of white pasta)

1 bunch of fresh arugula

olive oil



2 cloves of garlic minced

herbs de provence

dijon mustard

balsamic vinegar

1 ladle full of reserved pasta water 


Preheat the grill. Season steak with the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. Be sure to pat this seasoning into the steak, as the garlic will fall off otherwise. Cook steak to med-rare (or as you prefer). Allow steak to rest at least 5 minutes. 

Bring a pot of water to boil. Season boiling water w/ a salt, and a little bit of olive oil. Cook penne to al dente. 

Tear arugula leaves from stems. Rinse, and tear leaves to bite size. (generally tearing one leaf in half) Put arugula into a large bowl. 

Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Pour the hot pasta directly over your arugula, letting the arugula wilt slightly. 

Slice the steak into thin, diagonal pieces. If you are like me, who has failed to grasp how to slice meat on a diagonal, you let E do it. 

Throw the steak into the pasta bowl. 

For the dressing: Combine two parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar. Add a spoonful of dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk thoroughly, until the dressing takes on a thick consistency. 

Add dressing to the salad with one ladle of pasta water and toss well. 


This showcases E’s amazing grilling & knife skills: 

Finally, here is a good picture of how you want the dressing to emulisify: 



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