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Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus-Mint Cabbage Salad

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It is officially spring. But official spring never feels like the spring that exists in my imagination. The mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful spring with green shoots and sun peaking through rain and warm breezes and new beginnings.

Official spring in Chicago is something altogether different. It is one day in a series of false starts. It is a mud bath with occasional treacherous icy patches hidden below. It is overwhelmingly, relentlessly brown with ground denuded of snow but not yet covered with grass or much in the way of new growth.

Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad. From Blossom to Stem | Because Delicious #glutenfree #dairyfree
Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad. From Blossom to Stem | Because Delicious #glutenfree #dairyfree

Despite the crocuses and snowdrops and the hints at daffodils, late March is a time when even early vegetables and fruits like ramps and rhubarb and asparagus feel impossibly far away.

It is a reminder that thawing from the deep winter freeze is a slow process, that new beginnings take time.

Which is where this Vietnamese flank steak with a bright and sunny citrus-mint cabbage salad comes in.

It comes from Melissa Clark’s excellent book of totally-doable-but-still-special weeknight meals, Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Makea book I just love for gems like this one.

Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad. From Blossom to Stem | Because Delicious #glutenfree #dairyfree

Its seasonal recipes are organized by month. This particular recipe comes from the April section, which is close enough for me.

Here, Clark offers me a solution on how to look at cabbage with new eyes when I am so tired of slow braises and stewy things by turning to Vietnam for inspiration and bringing bright lime and ginger and garlic and mint flavors to the fore.

Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad. From Blossom to Stem | Because Delicious #glutenfree #dairyfree

Flank steak soaks in a ginger-garlic-lime-soy-marinade and then gets broiled and thinly sliced.

Meanwhile, napa cabbage gets shredded along with a couple of carrots and tossed in a bright lime vinaigrette and sprinkled liberally with refreshing bits of fresh mint.

Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad. From Blossom to Stem | Because Delicious #glutenfree #dairyfree

You could eat the cabbage salad on its own, but it feels much more substantial accompanied by the marinated flank steak (vegetarians could top the salad with cubes of marinated extra-firm tofu).

It’s a great way to give a wintery vegetable a springtime makeover while we wait for the new crops to come into season. (And when summer rolls around we can start making this grilled cabbage salad with a similar flavor profile.)

Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus-Mint Cabbage Salad
Yield: 4 servings

Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad

Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad. From Blossom to Stem | Because Delicious #glutenfree #dairyfree

This salad is bursting with bright and refreshing flavors. It feels like warm weather food, even if cabbage is still among the few greens in season. It comes together quickly, and you could eat the salad on its own, or add cubes of marinated extra firm tofu if you’d like to do a vegetarian version. I prefer to use grass-fed beef when I can, and cuts like flank steak are more affordable than ribeye or strip steak, which makes it feel reasonable for a weeknight meal. You could use skirt steak if you can’t find flank steak. To make this gluten free, be sure to use a wheat-free tamari instead of soy sauce.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


For the steak:

  • 1 1/4 pound flank steak
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • kosher salt for seasoning

For the salad:

  • 10 cups shredded napa cabbage or green cabbage, about half a head
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • a small handful of mint, stems removed
  • a small handful of cilantro, stems removed (optional for cilantro haters)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce, optional
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek or sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  1. Make the marinade. Whisk together the soy sauce (or tamari), ginger, garlic, lime juice and zest, and sesame oil. Pat the steak dry and place it in a shallow dish, pour the marinade over the steak and flip it over to coat both sides. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to twelve.
  2. Make the salad. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, mint, and cilantro until well mixed.
  3. Make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce (or tamari) rice vinegar, olive oil, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and sambal oelek (or sriracha).
  4. Preheat the broiler. Scrape the solid bits of marinade off the steak (to prevent burning), season with kosher salt, and transfer to a sheet pan. Broil for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare or 4-5 minutes per side for medium. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Serve heaping portions of salad with slices of steak.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 2384mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 46g
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Nancy | Plus Ate Six

Thursday 16th of March 2017

Flank steak is my favourite cut - it's cheap and cheerful and has all the flavour! As does the salad here - lovely combination and a great meal.

Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine

Thursday 16th of March 2017

Loving all these flavors. And cilantro is not optional :) Haha, I have such a hard time understanding the haters. I use it almost daily!

April J Harris

Thursday 16th of March 2017

Spring has definitely sprung in California where I'm visiting, I sure hope it has sprung at home in the UK as well!! Your Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus Mint Cabbage Salad looks delicious. Love all the fresh and flavourful ingredients, and the cabbage salad looks so colourful and tasty!


Thursday 16th of March 2017

Technically the first day of Spring is March 2oth, so you'll have to forgive mother nature her false starts as she tries to embrace the coming change. This steak looks so yummy and I'm such a fan of napa cabbage!


Thursday 16th of March 2017

"False start" is the perfect way to describe the dawning of spring where I am, too! (Brussels.) We've already had a couple of them, and my goodness gracious, are we all just ready for the sun to come out and stay out already! In any event, I have really grown to appreciate seasonal cooking over the past couple of years, so I love that the cookbook is organized that way. I will put it on my list to check out!