Mocha-Rubbed Steak and Spinach Salad

by

We’re easing into fall with this Mocha-Rubbed Steak and Spinach Salad topped with tender roasted squash, dried cranberries, caramelized pecans, and crumbled blue cheese! This entrée salad is drizzled with a sweet n’ tangy white balsamic honey vinaigrette and fresh rosemary. A delicious early fall, gluten-free, and keto-friendly dinner perfect for any night of the week!

Fall starts Monday and let’s just say my neck of the woods didn’t get the memo. We’re going to have hot summer temps for the rest of the month. So as much as I’d like to hop on the apple and pumpkin bandwagons seen on social media feeds, I’m transitioning more slowly. I love everything fall has to offer, but why not hang on to grilling season while it’s still here.😉

Also, thanks so much for being patient with my pace of posts. I have an ambitious cooking schedule, but it’s full-blown soccer season for us, which means needing to clone myself to get to my kids’ games is very real. With a high school senior and freshman, this mama is busy and going through a myriad of emotions. Those of you who’ve been there so get it. I’d love to hear from you in the comments!💕

Remember to PIN THIS to save the recipe for later!

Mocha-Rubbed Steak & Spinach Salad – Move into fall by topping this juicy, spice-rubbed steak and fresh spinach with roasted squash, dried cranberries and pecans, then drizzle with a white balsamic rosemary vinaigrette! #steaksalad #steakandspinachsalad #butternutsquash #fallrecipes #healthyfalldinners #ketodinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #giveitsomethyme | giveitsomethyme.com

Making Mocha-Rubbed Steak and Spinach Salad

To kick things off, a nine-spice mixture gets rubbed into (not sprinkled on!) olive oil coated steak. The spice blend includes s&p, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, nutmeg, and the mocha mixture of espresso and cocoa powder. I used thick sirloins, but flank, skirt, and filet would be super delish as well. Be sure to adjust your cooking times according to the thickness of cut you choose.

Spice rub ingredients

Toppings & Substitutions

The beauty of big salads like this is their versatility. So I’d like to offer variation suggestions rather than regurgitate the recipe you can easily jump to below. Here’s some food for thought! (Sorry, not sorry for the pun😄)

  • Protein – Above are steak substitutions for sirloin, but chicken, pork, fish, shrimp and tofu would totally work here. Also, I included indoor cooking instructions for the steak in case your weather isn’t conducive for outdoor grilling.
  • Spices – I’ve been making this rub forever and the fam doesn’t want to deviate. Nonetheless, change and spice things up to your culinary heart’s content.
  • Greens – We prefer spinach or romaine when it comes to raw super greens, but hey kale fans, go for it.
  • Squash – Butternut is one of my favorite veggies on the planet so you’ll find it well represented on this site, and certainly was a winner here. Acorn will definitely work too, but it’s starchier and not very keto-friendly if that’s important to you.
  • Other Toppings – A small amount of blue cheese goes a long way and was a fantastic complement. Sub goat cheese or feta if you like. I went with caramelized pecans for crunch but sprinkle on your nut of choice. I love sweet n’ tart dried cranberries yet raisins, dried apricots or fresh berries will be super scrump.
  • Dressing – This white balsamic vinaigrette with honey and fresh rosemary accented the flavors perfectly without overpowering. It literally takes less than five minutes to make, but if you’re strapped for time use your favorite bottled dressing. No harm, no foul.😊

Hope you enjoy this Mocha-Rubbed Steak and Spinach Salad as much as we do, or create your own spin! It’s all good. Cheers, friends!! xx, Kim

Mocha-Rubbed Steak & Spinach Salad – Move into fall by topping this juicy, spice-rubbed steak and fresh spinach with roasted squash, dried cranberries and pecans, then drizzle with a white balsamic rosemary vinaigrette! #steaksalad #steakandspinachsalad #butternutsquash #fallrecipes #healthyfalldinners #ketodinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #giveitsomethyme | giveitsomethyme.com

Entrée Salad Inspiration

No matter what time of year it is, entrée salads are fun to put together and a deliciously perfect way to take advantage of what’s in season. Here are a few more ideas that are quick and easy to pull together.

Mocha-Rubbed Steak & Spinach Salad – Move into fall by topping this juicy, spice-rubbed steak and fresh spinach with roasted squash, dried cranberries and pecans, then drizzle with a white balsamic rosemary vinaigrette! #steaksalad #steakandspinachsalad #butternutsquash #fallrecipes #healthyfalldinners #ketodinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #giveitsomethyme | giveitsomethyme.com

Essential Tools

Before you go, be sure to stay in touch on InstagramPinterest and Facebook and become part of our email community for all the latest updates!

Mocha-Rubbed Steak & Spinach Salad – Move into fall by topping this juicy, spice-rubbed steak and fresh spinach with roasted squash, dried cranberries and pecans, then drizzle with a white balsamic rosemary vinaigrette! #steaksalad #steakandspinachsalad #butternutsquash #fallrecipes #healthyfalldinners #ketodinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #giveitsomethyme | giveitsomethyme.com
Print Pin
5 from 4 votes

Mocha-Rubbed Steak and Spinach Salad

Move into fall by topping this juicy, spice-rubbed steak and fresh spinach with roasted squash, dried cranberries and pecans, then drizzle with a white balsamic, honey and rosemary vinaigrette!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Keto
Keyword entree salad, gluten free dinner, keto, spinach salad, steak salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Kim Peterson

Ingredients

Steak

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sirloin steaks, about 1 ½ pounds total, each 1 ¼ – 1 ½ inch thick

Salad

  • 1 pound butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 5- ounce package baby spinach
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
  • ¼ cup toasted or caramelized pecans or walnuts
  • ¼ cup blue, gorgonzola, feta or goat cheese

Dressing

  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Instructions

Steak

  • Combine first nine ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Rub olive oil all over steak. Evenly rub spice mixture on steak.
  • Transfer steak to wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet (if you don’t have one, don’t sweat it and chill uncovered up to six hours to help form a crust.
  • Remove steak from fridge one hour prior to cooking.
  • Prepare grill* on medium-high.
  • Grill steaks 6-7 minutes per side for medium rare**, 125-130°F.
  • Let steaks rest 10 minutes then slice thinly.

Salad

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Place squash on a rimmed baking pan.
  • In a small bowl combine the melted butter, honey, and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour butter mixture over the squash and toss until well coated.
  • Place pan in the center of preheated oven and bake 20-25 minutes until fork tender. Stir halfway through cooking time.
  • To arrange the salad, place spinach in a large bowl. Pour some of the dressing over just enough to lightly coat.
  • Arrange the spinach on a large platter. Top with steak slices, roasted squash, cranberries, nuts, and cheese.
  • Drizzle more the dressing over top and pass the rest separately. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. Enjoy!

Dressing

  • Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously until combined or whisk in a small bowl.
  • Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Let come to room temperature before using.

Notes

* Alternatively, if weather keeps you from grilling outdoors, follow this pan-seared, oven-roasted method. Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oven-proof pan coated with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear steak 3 minutes per side. Transfer pan to preheated oven and roast for 5-6 minutes for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
**125-130° for medium rare; 135-140° for medium, 150° and above for well done. Invest in a good-quality meat thermometer to keep guessing to a minimum.
Recipe generously adapted from Cooking Light, September 2017.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Don’t forget to leave a comment and give it a star rating below! Love to hear from you! AND Tag @giveitsomethyme on Instagram and hashtag it #giveitsomethyme

Mocha-Rubbed Steak & Spinach Salad – Move into fall by topping this juicy, spice-rubbed steak and fresh spinach with roasted squash, dried cranberries and pecans, then drizzle with a white balsamic rosemary vinaigrette! #steaksalad #steakandspinachsalad #butternutsquash #fallrecipes #healthyfalldinners #ketodinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #giveitsomethyme | giveitsomethyme.com

This page contains affiliate links. Meaning, whenever you purchase an item after clicking an Amazon link through this website, we receive a small percentage from Amazon. It doesn’t cost anything extra to you! It simply helps maintain the blog. Thanks so much!

7 Comments

  1. Loving this Mocha-rubbed Steak and Spinach Salad! It’s got all the delicious fall flavors going on with the squash, cranberries, caramelized walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese. Yum!! Can’t wait to try!

  2. I can almost taste the flavor of the mocca rub and my mouth is salivating! This steak and spinach salad qualifies as gluten-free main entree too. Thanks for sharing the recipe. P.S. I totaly understand how soccer season interferes with blogging. Three of our granddaughters play soccer and our Saturdays are booked! At least we don’t have to take them to practices, lol.

    1. Thanks so much Jas!! Enjoy the Saturdays! At least my son now drives himself and we have a big carpool for the freshman girls! It’s all so good. I’ll miss it when it’s gone! 🙁

  3. Steak and spinach salads are my favorite! And this one is making me drool!! I love the addition of squash and craisins too!! I’m going to make this this week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.