Balsamic Steak Salad with Pickled Cherries and Blue Cheese

26 Dec

balsamic steak salad

You may take a look at this photo, then at the title of the post, and back, noticing that I left off a crucial ingredient when photographing this salad – the blue cheese. As soon as I sat down to eat it, I knew something wasn’t quite right. Once I added the cheese, the flavors came together perfectly. Umami-laden balsamic-marinated steak, sweet and tart pickled cherries, and tangy blue cheese ensure all your taste buds get involved with each bite. With, of course, a little crispness from cucumbers and crunchiness from walnuts. So imagine that there are pretty blue-veined crumbles scattered atop the salads in the photo, and don’t forget the blue cheese – although you can substitute with goat cheese for a milder take, if you’re not a fan of blue cheese.

Balsamic Steak Salad with Pickled Cherries and Blue Cheese (adapted from Foodie Crush)
Yield: 4 – 6 servings


  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar*
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 head lettuce, torn into pieces***
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup balsamic pickled cherries**
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

*If you’re using balsamic pickled cherries, substitute half of the balsamic in the marinade and all of the balsamic in the dressing with the cherry balsamic pickling liquid, and omit the honey in the dressing.
**You can substitute with plain cherries or another pickled fruit, if desired.
***I actually used half a head of red-leaf lettuce and half a head of green-leaf lettuce.


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp orange juice, 1 tsp dried rosemary, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, and 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced.
  2. Combine this marinade with 1 1/2 lbs skirt steak or flank steak in a sealable container or gallon-sized plastic bag, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least half an hour and up to 4 hours, flipping halfway through to ensure even marinating.
  3. Meanwhile, make the salad dressing by whisking together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp honey, and salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
  4. When ready to cook the steak, heat a pan (ideally cast iron) over high heat, or heat up a grill.
  5. Cook the steak until medium-rare, about 2 – 4 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the steak), then remove to a plate, cover with foil, and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
  6. In a large bowl, combine 1 head lettuce, torn into pieces and 1 cucumber, thinly sliced with about half of the dressing, and toss together. Taste, and add more dressing, as needed.
  7. Serve topped with slices of steak, 1 cup balsamic pickled cherries, 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped, and 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled. Drizzle with extra dressing, if desired.

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4 Responses to “Balsamic Steak Salad with Pickled Cherries and Blue Cheese”

  1. Mark December 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    The concept of pickled cherries makes an impression. Not unlike a hammer to the forehead. I’ve gotta try this, even if it fails.

    • Claire December 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      Definitely sounds strange at first, but if you like savory-sweet, it’s a must-try! Let me know what you think 🙂

  2. Mark January 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Ha! Have Cherries. Will pickle (and update).

    I’m reminded of an Onion headline: Hidden Valley Ranch bombed by balsamic extremists.

    • Claire January 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      I’d definitely have to side with the balsamic extremists 🙂

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