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Seared Steak Salad with Gochujang Dressing

Today has been absolutely insane. I’ve been swamped at work and around 3:30, my Italian instructor messaged me and said “ci vediamo alle 5, giusto?” And, I was like, ‘SHIT!’ I hadn’t eaten anything yet and I was so hungry (hangry?) but I didn’t want to flake, so we did the lesson, although all the words I kept coming back to were food-related!

Keeping on with my month of salads, I went to the grocery store afterwards (against my better judgement) and decided to make this salad a bit more comforting, but still healthy.

This salad features earthy butternut squash and shiitake mushrooms paired with cubed seared flank steak and a punchy gochujang dressing. For an even bigger kick, the salad is topped with very quick-pickled red onions and jalapeños.


Serves: 2 as an entrée (or 4 as a small salad)

Cost: $$

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 45 minutes



1 pound flank steak or skirt steak

2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more

Salt and pepper

Gochujang Dressing

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons gochujang

Juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoons mirin

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

2 garlic cloves

Butternut Squash and Shiitake Mushrooms

2 cups butternut squash

10 large shiitake mushrooms

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Quick-Pickled Onions and Jalapeños

1/2 jalapeño

1/4 red onion

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Flaky sea salt


2 cups baby arugula (or greens of your choice)

A few sprigs of cilantro


Prepare Ingredients: Season the steak with salt and pepper and drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and use your hands to rub the oil all over the steak and set aside. Cut the butternut squash into small cubes and slice the mushroom caps, discarding the stems. Very thinly slice the onion and jalapeño. Pick the cilantro leaves from the stems and toss the leaves with the arugula in a bowl.

Make the Dressing: In a food processor, combine sesame oil, gochujang, juice of 1 lime, mirin, rice vinegar, and garlic cloves. Pulse until smooth. Taste the dressing and season as you like. Transfer to a small bowl or jar and set aside.

Prepare the Quick-Pickled Onions: In a small dish, toss the sliced onions and jalapeño with the rice vinegar and a pinch flaky sea salt. Chill until ready to serve.

Cook the Butternut Squash and Shiitake Mushrooms: Heat a slick of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the butternut squash and cook for 5-7 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown. Add the shiitake mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring regularly, for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms and squash are all browned and beginning to crisp up on the edges. Note: The butternut squash should be fork tender, not falling apart.

Remove the vegetables from the skillet and transfer to a bowl. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm.

Cook the Steak: Wipe out the skillet you used to cook the vegetables and add another slick of oil. Turn the heat to high and once the oil is shimmering and almost smoking, add the steak. Cook without moving for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. (For medium rare, you can increase the cook time depending on how you like your steak cooked or how thick the steak is.)

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain and then cut into cubes, if desired.

Prepare the salads: While the steak is resting, prepare the salads. Divide the greens between bowls and top with the warm butternut squash shiitake mushrooms. Arrange the quick-pickled onions and jalapeños over the dish. Top with the cubed (or sliced) steak.

To Serve: Serve the prepared salads with the gochujang dressing. Enjoy!

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