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Jam-packed with delicious ingredients and lots of texture, this salad is both filling and amazingly satisfying. Tastes great both warm and cold and can be made ahead of time! Paleo, Whole30, and AIP friendly
Do you get to that point in winter when you look outside and just see brown for as far as you can see (or white) and get depressed?
Yeah, me too.
I think that's why I turn to food to provide color and interest at this time of year.
Citrus, pomegranates, brussels sprouts, kale – all beautiful, colorful ingredients that are at their peak when the rest of the world is so blah.
Even though a salad isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind to cheer one up, this one does the job with the combos of these beautiful colors and flavor!
Table of contents
- What are the main components?
- Ingredients in this steak salad (plus substitutions)
- How to make the salad
- Make this salad coconut-free
- Make this ahead of time
- More Paleo, Whole30, & AIP salad (and bowl) recipes:
- More Helpful AIP & Paleo Resources in the Freebie Library
- Winter Steak Salad Recipe
What are the main components?
This salad has a few main components, which give it different textures and flavors. That's what makes it so interesting!
• Raw kale
• Fresh fruit
• Toasted coconut
• Candied pecans or tigernuts (for AIP)
• Pan sautéed brussels sprouts
• Pan seared steak
• Citrus Vinaigrette
Ingredients in this steak salad (plus substitutions)
• Kale – this is the leafy green base of this salad and I use it as it's in season during the winter and offers more crunch than other leafy greens. You can substitute it with any leafy green you'd like though – other good options could be baby spinach or mixed greens
• Mandarin Oranges – I prefer the clementine variety, which are easy to peel and break apart into segments. Plus they are full of flavorful citrus juice!
• Apple – another element of crunch in this salad, it pairs well with the other ingredients
• Pomegranate Arils – Also known as pomegranate seeds (but aren't really seeds so they're AIP compliant), they give a pop of flavorful juice and color. You can buy whole pomegranates and de-seed them yourself, or just buy the arils themselves, which is the easiest way since it's a LOT less work (and way less messy).
• Brussels Sprouts – my favorite veggie always seems to make an appearance in my meals during the winter. This sulfur-rich veggie is so good for you though, and even if you don't love them, there are enough other ingredients in here to cover up the flavor.
• Steak – this protein pairs beautifully with the rest of the ingredients and is quick to make. However, you can always substitute another protein if you prefer. I use sirloin steak in this recipe because it's juicy and slices into perfect bites for a salad. You don't need a lot either, so one 4-5 oz steak works for 2 salads.
• Coconut flakes – Another element of crunch to this salad, you'll toast these to bring out amazing flavor. You can also use shredded, unsweetened coconut if that's what you have on hand.
• Pecans or Tigernuts – I love a candied topping on a salad, so I had to include one on this. If you're on AIP use sliced tigernuts (don't use whole ones as they'll be too hard). You'll mix the nuts with some maple syrup and sea salt and roast them in the oven until they reach perfection.
• Apple Cider Vinegar – this gives the vinaigrette a punch of acid. You can use white wine vinegar instead if you prefer
• Orange Juice – freshly squeezed or from a bottle – it doesn't matter that much. Just need the citrusy flavor!
• Honey – just a small amount to give the dressing some sweetness, but it's totally optional. Omit if you're on Whole30!
• Garlic – just one clove is all it takes to give a savory spicy punch to the dressing
How to make the salad
While there are a lot of components to the salad, it's really not difficult to make. Most of the ingredients either have an easy cooking process or are served raw.
• Make the crunchy topping – you'll mix the pecans or sliced tigernuts (for AIP) with maple syrup and sea salt and bake in the oven. If you're on Whole30 you'll skip the maple syrup and sea salt and just roast the pecans for several minutes to bring out flavor.
• Toast the coconut – you can do this in either the oven at the same time as the crunchy topping or separately in a pan on the stove
• Slice and cook the brussels sprouts – you'll toss them with oil and sea salt and saute for 7-10 minutes
• Cook the steak – this is a pan seared steak, which means cooking it over high heat on the stove. It's a simple process though – heat the pan, add oil, season the steak with salt, and then put the steak in the pan. Leave for several minutes, then flip. Continue cooking until desired doneness!
• Make the citrus dressing – this is literally just “put stuff in a bowl and whisk” so it's pretty easy 🙂 However, you can also put it into a sealed jar and shake until mixed. I personally find that way more fun.
• Slice and chop the raw ingredients – This includes the kale, apple, orange, and pomegranate arils if not already de-seeded.
• Assemble the salad – just divide the ingredients between the plates! Serve the dressing on the side or drizzle on top of each plate.
Make this salad coconut-free
This one's mainly already naturally coconut-free, so the only modification you'd need to make is to omit the toasted coconut!
You'll still get the crunch from the candied pecans or tigernuts (for AIP)!
Make this ahead of time
This salad can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. There are a few things to note though if storing it for longer than 24-ish hours:
• I'd keep the toasted coconut and crunchy topping separate from the rest of the ingredients and at room temp because they'll get soggy otherwise.
• Also, if you want to reheat the steak before serving, keep that separate as well.
• And keep the dressing separate and only pour over the salad before serving, otherwise everything could get too soggy again as well.
• Wait to slice the apples until right before serving or toss the apples with a bit of lemon juice so they won't brown
Otherwise, this salad makes a great candidate for meal prep!
More Paleo, Whole30, & AIP salad (and bowl) recipes:
I hope you may find these just as delicious as this one!
Green Goddess Bowl (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)
Thai Chicken Salad (Paleo, Whole30, AIP) (Coming next week)
Steak Bowl (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)
Winter Bowl (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)
Brussels and Candied Carrots Bowl (Paleo, AIP)
More Helpful AIP & Paleo Resources in the Freebie Library
If you find this recipe helpful, you may really enjoy the resources in my Paleo & AIP Freebie Library! There's a “dump” freezer meal plan, a list of AIP-compliant breakfast toppings, and so much more. Plus, you'll get even more ideas sent to your inbox! Get the password here.
Winter Steak Salad Recipe
If you make this salad, I'd love to hear how it turned out! Either comment below or share a pic on Instagram and tag me @thrivingautoimmune!
Winter Steak Salad (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)
For the Crunchy Topping and Toasted Coconut:
- 1/2 cup Sliced Tigernuts (for AIP) or Pecans
- 1 tbsp Maple Syrup (omit for Whole30)
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup Coconut Chips or unsweetened, shredded Coconut (omit for coconut-free)
For the Brussels Sprouts:
- 2 cups Brussels Sprouts (ends removed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices)
- 2 tbsp Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, or Coconut Oil
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
For the Steak:
- 4 oz Sirloin Steak
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, or Coconut Oil
For the Citrus Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar ((or White Wine Vinegar))
- 1/4 cup Orange Juice
- 1 tbsp Honey (omit for Whole30)
- 1 clove Garlic (minced)
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
For the Salad:
- 4 cups Kale (tough stems removed and chopped finely)
- 2 Mandarin Oranges (peeled and segmented)
- 1 Apple (cored and sliced thinly)
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate Arils
First, make the crunchy topping + toasted coconut:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the pecans or sliced tigernuts(for AIP) with the maple syrup and sea salt and spread evenly on one half of the baking sheet. If you're on Whole30, just roast the pecans dry with no salt or maple syrup.
- Spread the coconut flakes on the other side of the baking sheet.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, stirring the coconut at least once, until the coconut is toasted.
Cook the brussels sprouts:
- While the crunchy topping is baking, slice the brussels sprouts.
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the oil, and then add the brussels sprouts. Season with the sea salt and toss a bit to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7-10 minutes, until the brussels soften a bit.
Cook the steak:
- While the brussles are cooking, heat a separate skillet (cast iron if possible) over high heat until smoking hot. Add the oil, and swirl around a bit to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Once the oil in the pan is hot, place the steak into the pan and leave for 5 minutes without disturbing, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. This is a great time to slice the other veggies if you haven't done so yet! Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer and remove it from the pan when done. (130 F for rare, 135 for medium-rare, 145 for medium and 155 for well done). Cover with some aluminum foil or a kitchen towel and let rest while you go onto the next step.
Prep the rest of the ingredients:
- While everything is cooking, slice the apple, peel and segment the oranges, remove the arils from the pomegranate (if you didn't buy just the arils), and chop the kale.
- Also make the vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients together (you can also just put everything into a jar and shake really well)
Assemble the salads:
- Divide the ingredients between the plates and serve!