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thai beef steak salad

Thai Beef Salad

dairy free gluten free low carb main course paleo recipes salads

Topped with slices of marinated steak, still warm from the grill, this salad will satisfy all of your taste buds. One of the best parts is the Nam Jim dressing: salty, sour, spicy, sweet, and surprisingly, oil-free. It may look like a small batch, but trust me, a little of the Nam Jim goes a long way. 

For those of us who are avoiding gluten and dairy, the cuisine of Thailand can offer satisfying options that are not built upon these ubiquitous (and inflammatory) Western staples. This Thai Beef Salad recipe happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, and low-carb. 

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Chef's Notes:

Thai food demonstrates “Intricacy; attention to detail; texture; color; taste; and the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits, as well as good flavor,” according to Thai food expert, chef, and writer, McDang. It also takes a “more is more” approach when it comes to combining lots of bold ingredients to create a final dish with what I call KABOOM flavor!

That’s why 20+ years after tasting this salad at a surf-side cafe in Byron Bay, Australia, I can remember the taste and texture like a high-def flavor photograph. Do you have a collection of those meal memories that leave such a bold imprint? Maybe it’s just me… 


Further Reading: How to Grill a Perfect Steak Every Time


Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights:



Thai Beef Salad

Thai Beef Salad

Yield: 3
Author: Ginny Mahar
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 40 Min
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, Low-Carb


For the Salad:
  • 1 pound flat-iron, hanger or flap steak (grass-fed)
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 1 large head of leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 med. carrot coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped (sub. chopped macadamias for Paleo)
For the Nam Jim Dressing:
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 bird’s eye chilies (aka Thai chilies), seeds removed for less heat (or sub. Sriracha, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or sub. 1 1/2 tsp. Maple syrup)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot


  1. First, prepare the Nam Jim Dressing: Combine the garlic, salt, and chilies in a mortar and pestle and grind to a paste. Add cilantro and continue to pulverize. Combine with sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and shallot and stir until sugar has dissolved. Alternately, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until well-blended.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine steak with a tablespoon of the Nam Jim dressing, a hefty pinch of fine sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil. Toss to coat evenly. Set aside to marinate briefly while you prepare the salad ingredients.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, combine shallots with remaining 2 tablespoons avocado oil, and a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally until soft and browned in spots. Set aside.
  4. To prepare the steak: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill steak 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, or to desired degree of doneness. (Alternately, steak can be broiled: Place on broiling pan, on upper third rack of oven, and broil 3 to 5 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness.)
  5. Remove steak from grill or broiler and tent loosely with foil while you arrange lettuce, peppers, carrots, and cucumber on serving plates. Slice beef thinly across the grain and arrange on top of salads. Garnish salads with green onion, cilantro, peanuts (or macadamias for Paleo version), and caramelized shallot.
  6. Drizzle lightly with Nam Jim Dressing (a little goes a long way) and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts



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