Spinach Salad with Beef

One of my go-to salads. I love spinach, and together with red peppers and the beef, this makes for a super-healthy, and tasty salad, with an asian twist.

Serves 3-4, Preparation time: 25m, Cooking time: 10m

The Stuff

  • 150 g mushroom, cut into quarts or slices.
  • 300 g of lean beef, tenderloin would be best but I tend to use cheaper cuts
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into long strips
  • 75g cashew nuts
  • 300g of fresh spinach, washed and cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp of sesame-oil
  • 1 tbsp of fishsauce
  • 2 tbsp of sherry
  • 2 tbsp of oystersauce
  • 1 tsp of palm sugar

The Cook

  1. Prepare the dressing by adding the ingredients in a bowl and give it a quick whisk.

  2. In a skillet or wok, dry-roast the cashewnuts until brown. Put aside.

  3. In the same pan, add oil and sear the beef on high heat until brown on all sides. Let it rest and cool, then cut into strips.

  4. Once more, same pan, lower the heat, put in some sesame oil and fry the mushrooms until brown. Add a splash of sherry, fry for 1 more minute, take em out and let em cool.

  5. In a bowl, add the spinach, meat, mushrooms, pepper and nuts. Chuck in the dressing and give it a good toss.

The Nuts and Bolts

Spinach is great. Not only is is superhealthy, it is also quite versatile. Here in the Netherlands, it is usually prepared by sweating it down and adding loads of cream. This was one of my childhood favourites, and it took me a long time to discover that spinach is actually great when eaten raw in a salad. Following recipe has a nice asian twist and can be adjusted to your wants and needs.

  1. Dressing is usually better if it gets some time to combine the flavours, so we start with this. Add all the ingredients and give it a quick whisk. Taste it. It should be a nice balance of saltiness and sweetness but you should definitely also taste the sherry. Sesame-oil can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, so be sure it isn’t too oily. Once you are happy, put it in the fridge


  2. Time for the cooking. We need to dry-roast the cashews in a clean skillet or wok and I don’t like using extra pots when I can avoid it, so we start with this. Put it on medium heat, add the nuts and let them brown. Keep em moving as they they go from light to black quite quickly, and they aren’t the easiest shape to get a consistent browning. Once brown and smelling o so good, remove and let em cool.


  3. Pan goes back on the fire, but set it to high. It is time to sear the meat. As mentioned in the ingredients, you want a nice, lean cut of beef. No one wants chewy meat, especially not in a salad. So, ideally, you want something like tenderloin or a comparable cut. However, I’m cheap, and I often find it almost a bit of a waste to use a beautiful piece of beef for a salad, so I tend to go for cheaper cuts in this recipe. I’ve even used stewing meat. Just cut off the fat, and fry it up. Not ideal, but the taste is great and I don’t feel guilty about using steak in a salad. Try not to do that if you have guests though. Right, so, high heat, oil in the pan, let it heat up and add the meat. After few minutes, flip it over. Once both sides are nice and brown, take it out and let it rest and cool. Remember, it is a salad, so we need the meat cold this time. Cut into strips.

  4. Back to the stove. In the same pan, there should be some oil left. Add a bit of sesame oil, just for added flavor, and start frying off the cut-up mushrooms. There is still a lot of beef flavor on the bottom of the pan, and I want to get it into the dish, so once the mushrooms are done, I deglace the pan with a splash of sherry. Before all the sherry has vaporized, take everything out and put aside to cool down.