Fave Salads: Taco Salad with Lime-Marinated Steak and Jalapeño Ranch

If you've been following my "Fave Salads" series you know my favorite salads have no shortage of delicious ingredients.  This taco salad is no exception: fresh sauteed peppers, shredded cheese, crispy tortilla chips, tangy corn and black bean salsa, and the most flavorful lime-marinated steak. I knew this salad was going to be great when my husband tasted the first piece of steak and said "What is this marinade? Everything in life needs to be marinated in this!"  I topped it all with my homemade jalapeño ranch dressing that is my own spin on Chuy's creamy jalapeño dip.      

To get started you will need to first mix up your steak marinade.  Whisk together 1/4 cup each olive oil and lime juice with the lime zest, salt, and pepper.  Pour your marinade over the steak in a dish or plastic bag and place in the fridge for 2-24 hours.  The longer it marinates, the more flavorful it will be!  You can flip your steaks and few times throughout the marinating process as well to ensure that they get evenly covered.

Now you can make your dressing.  Use a food processor or blender to combine your sour cream, mayo, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, and spices.  Be sure to taste your dressing after it is well combined.  You can add more sour cream if it's too spicy, or add a splash of milk if you want it to be less thick. 

Set your dressing to the side or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  Next you can mix up your corn and black bean salsa.  This salsa is super easy to make, and is delicious on salads or just for dipping chips as an appetizer!  Drain your cans of corn, black beans, and tomatoes as much as you can.  I also spread out my corn on a paper towel to soak up as much liquid as I could.  Mix your tomatoes, corn, black beans, red onion, cilantro, and spices together in a bowl. 

Now that you are almost ready to assemble the salads, you can cook your last two ingredients: the steaks and peppers.  For the steaks you can either grill or broil in the oven until they reach your desired temperature.  My husband cooked ours in a cast iron skillet, flipping once, for about 5 minutes a side (for medium).  After the steak is cooked, let it cool and then slice it into thin strips. For the peppers, lightly sautè in a tablespoon of olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper until tender.  

It's time to assemble your salad with all these ingredients! Start with a handful of blue corn tortilla chips on the side of your bowl.  Top with a generous portion of romaine lettuce, your cheese,  peppers, avocado, and a scoop of your salsa.  Finally add your steak and drizzle with the jalapeño ranch dressing.   The dressing adds the perfect amount of cool and creamy to the salad with a spicy kick from the jalapeño!  

 What I love most about this salad is that almost all of the ingredients are good on their own, or useful in other dishes.  The corn and black bean salsa makes an easy appetizer, snack, or salad topper.  The creamy jalapeño ranch is perfect for dipping just about anything, or topping sandwiches and wraps.  Even the lime-marinated steak is great for tacos, sandwiches, or just alone!  

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!