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Lemon Pepper Steak Salad

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad | Magnolia Days

Food plus family equals memories. Some, well, most are cherished and can go back to long ago and our childhood. The other day I saw this quote: “I don’t know what it is about food your mother makes for you, especially when it’s something that anyone can make – pancakes, meat loaf, tuna salad – but it carries a certain taste of memory.” by Mitch Albom. It resonated with me and yet there was something missing. It completely left out fathers. My dad cooked as much as my mom. I remember times he fired up the grill and how much I looked forward to those meals. One taste memory in particular is what I focused on for Lemon Pepper Steak Salad.

Friday often meant steak night. The menu would be the same; steak, potato, salad, and grilled toast. A bottle of lemon pepper seasoning was always put on the table for the steaks. I have vivid memories of sprinkling it on because it simply was the thing to do. What is quite odd is back then I did not care for lemon or pepper. Something about the punch of tartness while chewing on steak made it an exception.

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad | Magnolia Days

The years passed and lemon pepper was replaced with another flavor. It was the time when a certain marinade became available. Once my parents tried it they never went back to using lemon pepper. As I started grilling my own steaks, I generally kept it simple with only salt and pepper for seasoning. Then Certified Angus Beef® brand’s recipe contest for the Food and Wine Conference sparked the taste memory from long ago. I combined our family menu of grilled steak, lemon pepper, potatoes, and salad into one. I used real lemons and made my own rub and dressing with them.

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad | Magnolia Days

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad has several steps and components. The main flavors tying them together is lemon and pepper. Fresh lemon juice goes on the potatoes along a sprinkling of pepper. Lemon zest and a generous amount of pepper are rubbed on the steaks. Both lemon juice, lemon zest, and a touch of pepper is in the dressing. Citrus lightens and brightens a combination of heavier ingredients.

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad | Magnolia Days

A note on the steak: It is important to use high quality meat to make this salad extraordinary. Look for Certified Angus Beef® brand. Their quality standards address marbling, flavor, tenderness, consistency, and appearance. Those factors combined is what goes into producing the finest beef. For another one of my favorite grilled steak recipes take a look at Chimichurri Skirt Steak. Here’s the lemon pepper steak for this salad – can you see the tiny pieces of lemon zest and flakes of pepper on it?

Lemon Pepper Steak | Magnolia Days

Wish me luck in the recipe contest. Join me at the conference too. You can find more information on the Food Wine Conference website.


Lemon Pepper Steak Salad

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad is made with lemon zest and pepper rubbed grilled steaks, roasted lemon fingerling potatoes, arugula, and homemade lemon dressing.
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Renee


For the potatoes

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the lemon pepper steak:

  • 1 pound top sirloin steaks Certified Angus Beef brand recommended
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Fresh ground pepper about 1 heaping teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the lemon dressing:

  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons about 1/4 cup
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 8 ounces baby arugula leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs parsley, thyme, and/or rosemary recommended
  • Lemon slices optional for garnish


For the potatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Scrub potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place potatoes on a sheet pan.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on potatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper on potatoes. Toss to coat and arrange potatoes in a single layer.
  4. Bake until lightly browned and tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.

For the lemon pepper steak:

  1. Place steak on a plate or platter. Sprinkle lemon zest and a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper on both sides of the steak. Drizzle olive oil on steak and rub to coat both sides.
  2. Allow steak to come to room temperature with the lemon pepper oil coating, about 45 minutes (while potatoes are baking).
  3. Heat grill to medium-high heat (about 450°F).
  4. Season steak with salt. Grill steak until desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
  5. All steak to rest for 10 minutes after grilling. Thinly slice diagonally and across the grain.

For the dressing:

  1. Place garlic, shallot, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a blender. Blend on high to combine, about 30 seconds.
  2. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in olive oil. Transfer to a salad dressing container or small pitcher.

For the salad:

  1. Divide arugula evenly onto 4 plates. Top each with an equal amount of steak and potatoes.
  2. Sprinkle an equal amount of capers and herbs on top. Garnish with lemon slices if using. Serve with lemon dressing.

Recipe Notes

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad is made with lemon zest and pepper rubbed grilled steaks, roasted lemon fingerling potatoes, arugula, and homemade lemon dressing.

Lemon Pepper Steak Salad with roasted potatoes, capers, arugula, and lemon dressing. If you love lemon, steak, potatoes, and salad, this is the recipe to make.

Recipe Rating


Wednesday 5th of August 2015

Making this tonight!


Wednesday 17th of June 2015

Oh this is my kind of salad - I love the idea of potatoes and steak in a salad!!


Saturday 6th of June 2015

There is something about lemon that makes everything taste better! This looks amazing and can't wait to try it on the grill this summer...if we ever get a summer!! ;)

Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere

Thursday 4th of June 2015

I love the idea of putting potatoes in the salad! This looks wonderful!

Mary Frances

Wednesday 3rd of June 2015

I agree, food shared with family means the most. Your steak salad looks so tasty!