cool steak and noodle salad

It’s springtime! When it starts to get warm and toasty outside, a refreshing and light meal is a must. These slurpy rice noodles with strip steak are tossed in a vibrant sauce that hits all notes of sweet, spicy, umami, savory and acidic. Crisp cucumbers, crunchy cabbage and cool mint elevate the dish to springtime quality.

I LOVE noodle dishes. There are so many excellent asian eateries in town. Hands-down, every time, I will get some sort of noodle dish, whether it’s a bowl of ramen or plate full of Pad Thai.

Noodles are such an amazing vehicle for all kinds of sauces and add-ins This recipe is no different. It incorporates raw veg with warm beef that are tossed in a zippy banging sauce that doubles as a marinade. A squeeze of lime and showering of mint give an unexpected brightness that noodle dishes often lack.

The best part is all the components are prepared at different times, so it can be served hot, lukewarm or cold. We preferred it cool, giving the flavors time to develop and meld. I snagged this recipe from Bon Appetit because I could not resist the bright colors. Per usual, I added my own flare. It can be riffed in so many ways, starting with swooping out the protein for chicken or pork.



  • 3 small serrano chiles, sliced into rounds (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 3-4 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • ½ lb. skirt steak
  • 6 oz. wide rice noodles
  • ½ small head Napa cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup finely chopped mint, plus more leaves for serving
  • ½ cup finely chopped roasted, salted peanuts, plus more for serving


  1. Mash chiles and garlic in a mortar and pestle until broken down into a coarse paste. Transfer to a large bowl. Add lime juice, fish sauce, honey, and 1 Tbsp. oil, stirring vigorously to dissolve honey.
  2. Place steak in a medium bowl and pour 3 Tbsp. dressing over, holding back any pieces of chile with a spoon; reserve remaining dressing in bowl. Let steak marinate, turning every minute or so, at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Remove from heat, add noodles, and cover. Let sit, stirring every minute to keep from sticking, until noodles are al dente, 5–8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well again and set aside.
  4. Combine cabbage and cucumbers in bowl; season lightly with salt. Massage with your hands to release excess water. Drain off any water that pools in bottom of bowl.
  5. Pat steak dry; season lightly with salt. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add steak and cook, turning once, until browned all over, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice against the grain into bite sized pieces.
  6. Add cabbage mixture, noodles, steak, ½ cup chopped mint, and ½ cup peanuts to bowl with reserved dressing. Toss to combine; taste and season with salt if needed. Top with more mint and peanuts before serving.