Sometimes a Cooking Patient is a vegetarian, and sometimes he or she is not. I have beloved many meatless meals, but this is not one of them. Its spirit is Vietnam.

This is an Asian-style weekday dish that connects raw salad, some rice noodles and the taste and protein of grass fed, beautifully marinated, lean steak. From Sunset mag in 2008; I skipped sugar.

Vietnamese-Style Steak Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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For the rub

3 stalks lemongrass (I grow myself!)

2 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, quartered

1 medium shallot, sliced

1 tbsp. olive or coconut oil

1 tsp. salt

About 1 ½ lb. flank steak


½ cup coconut oil

8 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce


6-8 oz. rice-stick noodles

½ cup shredded carrot

1 cup thinly sliced cucumber

2 qts. chopped napa cabbage

¼ cup each cilantro, chopped fresh mint leaves and chopped green onions


  1. Make rub. Remove tough outer layers of lemongrass and cut off stem ends and coarse leaves. Chop tender core and whirl in a food processor until very finely chopped, about four minutes. Add ginger, garlic and shallots until a paste forms. Add oil and some of the salt; pulse to combine.
  2. Sprinkle steak with remaining salt; cover both sides with lemongrass rub. Chill at least one hour and up to six.
  3. Make vinaigrette. Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook until lightly golden, being careful not to burn. Pour oil through a strainer and save the browned garlic chips on a paper towel to dry. After oil has cooled, whisk in lime juice and fish sauce.
  4. Make salad. Follow directions to cook your rice noodles. Typically that means heating water to a boil, turning the heat off and then adding the noodles until they are cooked through but firm as that versions requires. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, green onions and chopped herbs.
  5. Grilled steak on a medium grill, turning once, until medium rare to medium. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let sit five minutes.
  6. Assemble. Lay out some rice noodles on the plate. Pour dressing over salad and add some salad to each plate. Slice the flank steak against the grain on a diagonal and lay on top of the salad. Top dish with some fried garlic chips.