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Thai-inspired Beef and Melon Salad

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This dish takes inspiration from traditional Thai green papaya salads, only switching up the ingredients a bit and adding in some grilled and thin-sliced steak for protein.  By combining the pungent saltiness of fish sauce with the sweetness of fresh melon, and the fragrance of fresh cilantro and mint, you end up with a delightfully unique meal that is great for dinner, or saved and divided for a couple of lunches throughout the week.

Gather Up:

  • 2 lbs grass-fed round steak
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (we use the lowest sodium one we can find)
  • 2 tsp raw local honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 medium melon (cantaloupe happens to be what we had), seeded and sliced into “matchsticks” about 1-1/2″ long
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2″ long matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2″ long matchsticks
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 red onion, slivered
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

Heat the grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees).  Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with the salt and pepper, then grill to achieve medium-rare (about 8 minutes per side on indirect heat).  Transfer to a cutting board when done grilling and let rest for at least five minutes.

While the steaks are grilling, you can work on getting the melon, peppers, onion, cilantro, and mint all cut up and added to an extra-large mixing bowl.  You can’t see it here, but the spinach is also in the bottom under everything else…

Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, honey, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a small prep bowl.  Whisk with a fork to mix and make sure the honey is fully dissolved.  Set aside.

Using a sharp knife, slice the now-rested steaks across the grain at a slight angle (from top to bottom) into roughly 1/8″ thick slices (that’s pretty thin).  If your steaks are huge, you can also cut them in half lengthwise to keep the pieces of steak down to about 2″ or so long.

Add the steak to the mixing bowl.  Give the dressing another stir, then pour over the top and toss everything to mix well.  Let sit for a few minutes, then toss one more time.

If you’re serving this for guests, you can transfer to a decorative serving bowl from the over-sized mixing bowl.  Otherwise, serve right out of the mixing bowl.  If you live alone…well, I guess you could just eat it right out of the mixing bowl.  Otherwise I’d serve it up into some shallow soup bowls or large plates and dig in!

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