Grilled steak Caesar salad is zippy and garlicky and fresh and hearty, all at once, in the very best way. This steak version of a classic Caesar salad works on hot summer days when the grill offers quick dinners and easy cleanup, yet the light coolness of a salad is a must. But it's equally appropriate year-round, when a cast-iron skillet over the stovetop is your go-to.
The healthy, homemade Caesar dressing is extra thick and creamy, studded with bits of Parmesan and minced garlic.
Crisp romaine and snap peas make the perfect bed of greens for tender sirloin, but you really can't go wrong with your favorite cut of steak. In fact, the better the steak, the better the salad.
why you'll love it
Steak Caesar salad has been the salad of our summer. Like a Cobb or a simple Summer Peach Salad, the flavors are always on point! Each time we make a Caesar it's a different iteration, based on our mood and what we have on hand.
This one is tasty with a little bit of crumbled cotija cheese or a traditional crouton topping for crunch (notes below for making your own homemade garlic croutons using keto bread!), and even with a little bit of grilled zucchini or grilled corn (if you allow it).
Other yummy toppings can range from creamy avocado, fresh tomatoes or tangy pepperoncinis tossed in.
The total prep time is not too shabby either, and you can even cut it down by making the dressing in advance for extra quick and easy salad prep when you need it.
This steak Caesar salad is:
- Versatile. Keep the ingredient list simple a la classic Caesar, or jazz it up with your favorite fresh vegetables. I often use sirloin for this recipe but you can choose your favorite cut of steak.
- Healthy. Skip the store-bought Caesar salad dressing and make your own! My version features healthy fats and clean ingredients. It's also low carb, keto-friendly and gluten free.
- A quick, no-fuss recipe. The dressing is simpler than ever (and doesn't even call for a raw egg). You can easily make this salad, start to finish, in under 30 minutes. A dinner win!
My version calls for a Cajun rub on the steak, which adds a little kick that pairs well with the rest of the flavors. The flavor is similar to my Kale Caesar Salad with Cajun Shrimp, but with less spice and more true to a classic Caesar salad.
Unlike the kale version, the creamy dressing calls for avocado oil mayonnaise instead of creating an emulsion of raw egg yolk and olive oil. It's just another way this easy Caesar salad checks all the boxes for taste and simplicity!
Here's a look at the main ingredients you'll need:
- Sirloin steaks. Sirloins have great flavor and are more budget-friendly than other cuts. But ribeye and New York strip are great substitutes, too.
- Cajun seasoning. You can use a store-bought Cajun seasoning or rub, or create your own with a recipe like this one!
- Romaine hearts. Crisp, fresh romaine is chopped into ¾" to 1" pieces. I like using 3-4 hearts of romaine.
- Parmesan cheese. An essential Caesar ingredient that adds a rich cheesy flavor and nuttiness to the salad and the dressing.
- Garlic. For the dressing, which gets a big punch of garlic flavor!
- Anchovy paste and Dijon mustard. These add a rich, umami flavor to the dressing.
- Fresh lemon juice. A little bit of acidity creates the perfect amount of tanginess.
- Avocado oil mayonnaise. The creamy base of the dressing. Using mayo prevents the need to create an emulsion from raw egg yolk and oil. For the cleanest ingredients, choose a mayo that is made with 100% avocado oil (like Chosen Foods), rather than a mix of high-inflammatory oils like canola oil or vegetable oil.
- Heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk. To thin out the dressing.
- Salt and black pepper. Necessary seasonings that will give your Caesar dressing the best flavor!
how to make it
Here's a look at how to prepare it - be sure to check out the full recipe card at the bottom of the page for all of the details.
Turn your grill on to high heat and let it preheat (if you're using a pellet grill, set it to 500°F). If using a cast iron skillet, heat it over medium-high heat until smoking.
Season the steaks with salt, pepper and the Cajun rub. Cook them on the grill or in the hot pan for 3-5 minutes per side or until done.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the minced garlic, anchovy paste, mustard and lemon juice.
Tip: The steaks are done when they've reached your target internal temperature. For medium rare, that's about 130°F measured with an instant-read thermometer. The time will vary based on the thickness of your steak. Set them on a plate and top the hot steaks with a little bit of butter; let the steak rest.
Stir in the avocado oil mayonnaise, cream and Parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped romaine, chopped snap peas and the rest of the Parmesan. Toss with half of the dressing, then add more dressing, if desired.
On a cutting board, slice the sirloins into thin slices or bite-size pieces. Serve the salad with the steak strips, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and more Parmesan. Add other toppings of choice!
tips for the best results
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for one day. Since the romaine is tossed in the dressing, the lettuce will quickly wilt and get soggy. If you expect to have a lot leftover, I suggest tossing a small amount of dressing with half of the salad greens. Store any leftover romaine, dressing and steak separately in the fridge.
- Cook the steaks until they reach your target temperature, measured by a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the steak. For medium rare, that's 130-135°F. Medium is 140-145°F. I recommend pulling it off the grill a few degrees before it reaches your target temperature since it will continue cooking as it rests.
- If cooking the steaks in a hot skillet, add the butter to the skillet at the very end and then baste it over the steaks.
- Other toppings that work well with this salad include sliced avocado, roasted pepitas, cotija cheese and sliced radishes.
- For added umami flavor to the Caesar dressing, you can add 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or even coconut aminos.
what to serve with steak Caesar salad
- Broccoli Almond Soup
- Easy Keto Cornbread
- Keto Biscuits
- Low-carb Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Garlic
you might also love...
- Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing is a hearty and zesty salad that works as a delicious side salad or main course topped with your favorite protein. A garlicky-Parmesan dressing, creamy avocado and toasted pine nuts transform kale into the superfood you'll want to enjoy on repeat!
- Keto Egg Salad makes the perfect lunch or filling for a tasty, low-carb wrap! Creamy, fresh, and packed with protein, you'll love the fresh flavors of herbs, celery and seasonings.
- Keto Steak Salad with Dijon Balsamic Dressing is a 30-minute meal that is nutrient-dense and so satisfying! Tender ribeye, a tangy balsamic dressing, crumbled blue cheese and bacon- flavors to the max!
- 2 large sirloin steaks, about 8 ounces each and at least 1 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1-½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 3-4 large romaine hearts, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup chopped sugar snap peas (optional)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (shredded or grated)
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- Optional toppings: 1 sliced avocado and more Parmesan cheese
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1-½ teaspoons)
- 1-½ teaspoons anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup avocado oil mayonnaise (like Chosen Foods)
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat the grill to high heat (or heat a cast-iron skillet over the stovetop). Rub the steaks with the avocado oil, Cajun seasoning and salt.
- Grill the steaks: When the grill is hot, add steaks to the grill and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook another 3-5 minutes or until it reaches desired temperature. For medium rare, shoot for an internal temperature of 130°F. Extra thick steaks may need to cook longer.
- Remove the steaks and set them on a plate to rest. Divide the butter (if using) and place it on top of the steaks to melt.
- Make the dressing: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the minced garlic, anchovy paste, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Add the avocado oil mayonnaise and heavy cream and mix to combine. Stir in the ½ cup of Parmesan. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Assemble the salad: Add the chopped romaine, snap peas and remaining ½ cup Parmesan cheese to a large salad bowl. Pour about half of the dressing on top of the salad. Toss to combine. Add more dressing as needed.
- Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and slice thin. Divide the steak slices between portions of the Caesar salad. Top with extra Parmesan, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and avocado, if desired.
- You can substitute the sirloins for other cuts of steak like ribeye or New York strip.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for one day. Since the romaine is tossed in the dressing, the lettuce will quickly wilt. If you expect to have a lot leftover, I suggest tossing a small amount of dressing with half of the salad greens. Store any leftover romaine, dressing and steak separately in the fridge.
- Cook the steaks until they reach your target temperature, measured by a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the steak. For medium rare, that's 130-135°F; medium is 140-145°F. The cook time will vary based on the thickness of the steaks. I recommend pulling them off the grill a few degrees before it reaches your target temperature since it will continue cooking as it rests.
- Other toppings that work well with this salad include roasted pepitas, cotija cheese and sliced radishes.
- For added umami flavor to the Caesar dressing, you can add 1 teaspoon of gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce/tamari or even coconut aminos.
- For a keto-friendly crouton, tear 3-4 slices of store-bought keto bread into ¾-inch pieces. Toss them on a baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil, garlic powder and salt. Toast at 300°F for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.