Grilled Steak with Summer Tomato-Avocado Salad & Warm Poblano-Bacon Vinaigrette

Oh people, doesn't every year call for at least one big summer feast? This is your meal. The summer steak salad is built, literally and figuratively, on layers of flavor and texture. The grilled beef sits atop a wet and messy salad of juicy summer tomatoes (aren't they just glorious? this salad really shows them off!), avocado and lettuce that wilts, just slightly, in a warm onion-bacon-poblano vinaigrette. It all just works, so well, SO WELL, together.

Fresh & Seasonal Summer Feast. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Low Carb. High Protein.
Grilled Steak with Tomato-Avocado Salad in a Warm Poblano-Bacon Vinaigrette ♥, grilled steak atop a wet and messy salad of tomatoes, avocado and lettuce, slightly wilted in an onion-bacon-poblano vinaigrette. Fresh & Seasonal Summer Feast. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.

August: Unapologetic Gluttony.

For seasonal eaters, August is a month of unapologetic gluttony.

In August, a morning walk to the garden yields a basket overflowing with tomatoes, cucumber, onions and okra. A weekly trip to the farmers market means discovering green beans, sweet corn, eggplant, blackberries and sticky figs. Even the grocery store has faux farmstands laden with the most plentiful local vegetables and fruits: here in St. Louis that means tomatoes, zucchini, sweet corn, peaches and melons.

In August, we eat with the abandon of plenty: just-picked vegetables raw and cooked, sandwiched and stewed and souped; just-ripe fruit eaten over the sink to catch the juices, or sliver by sliver, all to savor the season’s natural sweetness.

In August, we become "salt and pepper cooks" for freshness requires little seasoning to extract the life within.

In August, no meal, including breakfast, is complete without at least a slice of the perfection that is a summer tomato.

In August, we set aside all-things-chocolate for peach cobbler and blueberry pie and fruity soups. We forgo crème brulee when there are cherries and grapes and apricots and plums.

In August, we … but wait! Please share, what is “August food” for you? What are you eating now? What is essential to your August?

Make It for Two, Make It for Ten.

What a hearty, meaty salad this is, a real meal versus a light supper. With a few moving parts, it’s a bit of a production but make it once and you’ll make it again almost without thinking, purposefully moving from one step to the next.

It makes for a companionable Cooking for Two project but can also be made completely ahead, then assembled at the last minute, just before serving.

I’ve made it for two, I’ve made it for ten, it’s that flexible, that good.

Introducing: Family-Style Steak

This is the first time I've talked about what we call "family-style steak". It's our signature way of serving steaks!

But family-style steak isn't a recipe, it's an approach. It's how to accommodate big meat eaters and leaner appetites at the same table. It's how to cater to those who like their steaks cooked rare and those who prefer their steak a little more well-done.

  • CUT STEAKS THICK AND BIG We skip the tradition of individual steaks, one per plate, one per person. Instead, we have our steaks cut thick and big rather than in individual steaks. This way, one big steak serves three or four people. You probably won't find steaks cut thick and large at the grocery but a butcher will happily cut one or two for you.
  • COOK WHOLE Second, we cook one or two (and sometimes three) of these large, thick steaks whole. How to cook big steaks? Any way you like! On the grill, on the stovetop, over a campfire. Over time, we've fixed on our favorite way to cook steak, either individual steaks or family-style steak: on cast-iron that starts on the stove and finishes in the oven.
  • SLICE THIN After the meat has rested awhile, we cut the steaks into thin slices on a big meat platter. If the meat is a little rare for someone, we fire the cast iron back up and cook a few slices a bit more for someone who prefers that. Often, though, it's just not necessary, especially if using a meat thermometer. Those who prefer their steaks more well-done serve themselves slices from the outer portion of the steak. Those who love their steaks rare serve themselves pink slices from the center.
  • That's it! It's all good!

Embrace the Messiness!

Salad prep for Grilled Steak with Tomato-Avocado Salad in a Warm Poblano-Bacon Vinaigrette ♥, grilled steak atop a wet and messy salad of tomatoes, avocado and lettuce, slightly wilted in an onion-bacon-poblano vinaigrette. Fresh & Seasonal Summer Feast. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. ♥

Just one thing.

When prepping the Summer Tomato-Avocado Salad, just let your inner neatnik go and toss it all together in a big bowl.

Really, don't be tempted to compose a perfect-looking salad directly on the dinner plates, a slice of tomato here, a sliver of avocado there.

Instead, combine all the salad ingredients in a big bowl first, then transfer to serving plates. Yes, it's a little wet and messy but it builds the perfect texture and taste.

And it's so-so-so good!


Hands-on time: 1 hour
Time to table: 1 hour
Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 pound beef steak – ribeye, skirt steak, any good cut
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 red onion, chopped small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup beef stock (see TIPS)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce (see TIPS), sliced thin
  • 1 – 2 large perfect summer tomatoes, chopped (see TIPS)
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese, cotija, Romano or Parmesan (see TIPS)
  • Cooked Bacon
  • Thin slices of lime
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Corn tortillas, cut into strips and crisped in a little oil in a skillet

GRILLED STEAK In a large flat container, mix the red wine vinegar, Worcestershire and red wine; add the meat and marinate for up to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Timing Tip: Make both the Warm Vinaigrette and Tomato-Avocado Salad now while the meat marinates, before continuing with the meat. Prep the garnishes too, if using.

Lift the meat out of the marinade (if you like, save the marinade for the Warm Vinaigrette, see TIPS), season to taste and grill to the desired doneness. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then cut into strips on the cross-grain.

WARM VINAIGRETTE While the meat marinates, roast the poblano. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon on medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels to use in the Tomato-Avocado Salad, then sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining bacon grease. Add the beef stock, using a spatula to grab the crispy bits off the bottom (this is called "deglazing’ the pan" and is an essential step for developing flavor). Add the roasted poblano, lime juice and salt and pepper and let the Vinaigrette simmer until slightly thick. Turn off the heat and let rest until ready to serve. The Warm Vinaigrette can be made ahead, just rewarm before tossing into the Tomato-Avocado Salad.

TOMATO-AVOCADO SALAD Meanwhile, in a large bowl, layer the lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese and bacon.

OPTIONAL GARNISH Prep the lime, tomatoes and tortillas, if using.

SERVE & SAVOR Timing Tip: Grill the steak now!

After the steak is cooked, while it's resting, rewarm the Warm Vinaigrette, then toss well with the Tomato-Avocado Salad, wilting the lettuce and wetting the entire mixture. Transfer the salad to individual plates, top with steak slices, garnish as desired. Dig in, devour!

ALANNA’s TIPS What is a poblano pepper? How to roast peppers in the oven or on a gas stove. No beef stock on hand? Build a quick stovetop stock by browning an ounce of the meat, a little onion and garlic in a small skillet, then adding water to deglaze the pan. Other ideas: substitute red wine for beef stock or use the steak’s marinade, just be sure to first boil the leftover marinade for 2 – 3 minutes since it contains raw meat juice. The inspiring recipe calls for frisée, escarole or spinach but I’m hooked on the déclassé iceberg! It has a crisp wetness that really works. To cut tomatoes, nothing beats a serrated knife. I love a Tomato Knife for Clean, Sharp Slices, in fact, it's my #1 knife, one I use day in and day out so obviously, it's not just for tomatoes. For cheese, we’ve fallen in love with an aged cheese from Mexico called cotija [pronounced ko-TEE-hah] that is tangy and salty. The best substitutes would be crumbled Romano or Parmesan (or another aged cheese that's slightly dry and crumbly, not a fresh or semi-fresh cheese like ricotta or feta. But good news! I'm happy to report that Trader Joe's now carries cotija! For the salad to work, it needs to be wet and messy, not perfect and composed, so be sure to work the Warm Vinaigrette into the Tomato-Avocado Salad. When aesthetics are important, garnish the top with slices of tomato and avocado. This salad works beautifully with leftover grilled steak too.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 385 Calories; 20g Tot Fat; 8g Sat Fat; 72mg Cholesterol; 346mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 5g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 29g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 8 & WW Points Plus 9 & SmartPoints 12 & Freestyle 10.

MAKE IT FREESTYLE FRIENDLY It's such an easy change! Just cook up your very best grilled chicken breasts and go easy on the bacon and cheese. That's it!

More Ways to Cook Steak

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Frozen Steaks Steak & Tomatoes Poblano Steaks
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from Kitchen Parade

Salad Suppers with August Produce

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~ bacon recipes ~
~ lime recipes ~
~ tomato recipes ~
~ avocado recipes ~
~ cheese ~

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010, 2015 (repub) & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Yum, Alanna! Our August gluttony has been consisting of fresh Missouri peaches and zucchini. And then there's the vine-ripe tomatoes and the... do I really need to go on? ;)


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna