This mixed greens salad with bell peppers and a soy ginger vinaigrette can be topped with a rare steak or seared tuna for a light and refreshing spring or summer lunch!
There are a lot of things I love and miss about my college town of Tucson, Arizona.
I don’t miss the hundred-and-ten-degree summer days, but I do miss the lack of humidity and mosquitoes. I love the people I met during college and the amazing symphonies, operas, concerts and shows you can see on campus. I love the mountains, cactuses, and beautiful sunsets. I miss the smell of the creosote after a rain.
And I really miss the food.
Sure, in Charleston I can get the best Southern Lowcountry food in probably the world at almost any restaurant downtown: shrimp ‘n’ grits, chicken ‘n’ waffles, crab cake eggs Benedicts, fresh seafood, and so many fried pickles I’d consider myself a connoisseur.
But there are specific restaurants, and specific items at restaurants, that I miss from Tucson:
- The “pizzookie” aka “pizza-cookie” at Oregano’s (a deep dish half-baked cookie in a miniature cast iron skillet, topped with ice cream).
- The Betty’s Brie sandwich and the sun-dried tomato pasta salad at Beyond Bread.
- The asparagus and lemon crepes, the Southwest penne with blackened chicken, and the black currant iced tea at Delectables.
- The salsa they make fresh at the table at Guadalajara Grill.
We spent much of our time in Tucson last summer making sure to hit all the spots I loved and order all the foods my taste buds ached for. We hit up all the places and items listed above, and then some.
There was one place and meal I didn’t even remember I missed, but it all came rushing back to me when we hit up the B-Line for lunch one blistering 108-degree day.
The B-Line is a small cafe with simple salads, pasta, sandwiches, tacos, a rotating cake display, and huge windows. They take your order at the counter, clip it to a little zipline, and shoot it down the line to the cooks in the back. You can get iced black or herbal tea, and everything is bright and fresh.
I got this steak salad with soy ginger vinaigrette for lunch and Mike got the same thing but with salmon. It was just the light, refreshing lunch we needed for a hot summer day in a cute little bistro.
And at home, it’s the perfect springtime dinner to eat outside on the deck.
Here, I’ve made it with both sirloin steak and a seared tuna steak. I made the tuna steak using this pineapple teriyaki marinade from my dad, which is just divine on tuna or salmon and goes wonderfully with the soy ginger vinaigrette. A little sprinkle of sesame seeds seemed appropriate for the tuna version.
There’s nothing to it, really. Just some mixed greens, shredded carrots, and raw bell peppers. They put raw red onion on it as well at the B-Line, which I choose to leave off but you can add in if that’s your kind of thing.
Top it with an Asian-inspired soy ginger vinaigrette and nice rare slices of steak or fish, and you’re good to go. (Yes, I did mean rare fish – salmon that still has a little glossiness to it is the only way to eat it, and seared tuna is just delicious.)
Doesn’t that just feel like spring?
Spring is about simplicity and freshness after all the heaviness of winter foods. And the simplicity means you don’t have a huge shopping list or a long time in the kitchen, either.
It’s all about the ingredients. And just a few well-matched ingredients is all it takes to make a stunning salad!
I have a feeling that over time the rest of those recipes on my nostalgic Tucson foods list are going to make an appearance here on the blog too. What’s the next one you’d want to see?
Seared Tuna or Steak Salad with Soy Ginger Vinaigrette
For the salad
- 1 lb sirloin steak or tuna steak
- 1 recipe Pineapple Teriyaki Marinade if using tuna
- Salt and pepper
- 5 oz mixed greens
- 1/2 red bell pepper sliced into thin half-rings
- 1/2 orange bell pepper sliced into thin half-rings
- 2-3 medium carrots grated, about 1/2 cup
- sesame seeds optional
For the dressing
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp olive oil
If using tuna
- Marinate tuna in Pineapple Teriyaki Marinade at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.
- Preheat indoor grill (like The Griddler) to high heat or a skillet to medium high heat. Grill tuna for 2 minutes per side per half-inch thickness for a rare steak, or 3 minutes per side per half-inch thickness for medium. Tuna may require an extra minute or so per side if cooking in a skillet instead of on a grill. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
If using steak
- Take steak out of refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, covered. Preheat indoor grill (like The Griddler) to high heat or a skillet to medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and rub into the steak. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side for a medium rare steak. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
For the salad
- Combine all dressing ingredients and mix well.
- In a large salad bowl, combine greens, carrots, and bell peppers. Toss with 2/3 of the dressing and divide between two plates. Top with sliced tuna or steak and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Top with sesame seeds, if desired.