A big difference lies between a healthy and an unhealthy salad. A big, fatty difference. I realized this when researching the fat contents of those “healthy option” lunch salads you can order at places like Panera Bread and Applebee’s. I’d been tricking myself into feeling responsible and healthy, ignoring the fried chicken, grated cheese, and gobs of honey mustard dressing on my over-sized plate, focusing on the word “salad.”
Even though I no longer fool myself with salads from these joints, I still enjoy the unhealthy salad (still emphasizing the word “salad”). A recent favorite was the Hot Bacon Salad, where the dressing was made from rendered bacon fat. It was delicious, and I gobbled it up, telling myself it’s a salad, why not go for fourths.
The salad I made early this week, however, falls between the categories of a healthy, balsamic vinegary salad and an unhealthy bacon fat salad. It was a perfect dinner-sized salad that didn’t leave us hungry or wanting something more substantial (I think the 2 large beef tenderloin steaks helped in that regard.)
I put in more chili paste than the recipe called for, thinking that such a benign looking red paste just couldn’t be spicy enough, so my salad was scorching. I’ve typed up the original dressing recipe below, so unless you are a spicy-dare-devil, stick with the 1 ½ teaspoons. If you don’t like spicy at all, decrease to 1 teaspoon and add an extra ¼ teaspoon sesame oil.
Asian Style Beef Tenderloin Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light: June 2007
Serves 2 for dinner, 4 for side or first course
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp raw sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 (6 oz) beef tenderloin steaks
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- cooking spray
- 2 tomatoes, cut up
- ¼ cup cilantro, torn
- ¼ cup shallots, sliced
- 6 cups Spring Salad mix
- ¼ cup fresh basil, torn
- Make dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisking well.
- Coat grill pan with cooking spray
- Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Grill for 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. (I love that word, doneness.)
- Cut steak across the grain into slices.
Combine all salad ingredients in a big bowl and add dressing. Mix & Eat!