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Steak Fajita Taco Salad w/ Chipotle Cilantro Lime Ranch

This hearty fajita taco salad brimming with colorful veggies, steak, avocado, crispy tortilla strips, and Cotija cheese then tossed with chipotle cilantro lime ranch is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner. Gluten-free and dairy-free adaptable.

Salad with tongs.

Jessica Halverstadt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What’s to love about this recipe?

  • It’s hearty! Because this salad is loaded with steak, fajita veggies, avocado, and more it is quite filling thus best served as an entree. And since it has it all, there is no need to serve any sides along with it (unless, of course, you want to!!)
  • It’s relatively simple! A glance at the ingredients list may have you feeling a bit apprehensive about making this salad but I assure you there is no need to be intimidated. While there are several elements and an extensive list of ingredients this salad is actually quite simple to prepare.
  • It’s gluten-free and dairy-free adaptable! If not for the soy sauce in the steak marinade this salad would be gluten-free. Thankfully, you can easily omit the gluten by swapping the soy sauce for coconut aminos. To make this salad dairy-free, simply leave out the cheese.
Bowl of tacos salad.

Ingredients (+ notes & substitutions)

Ingredients for fajita taco salad (see recipe card).
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice: You’ll need one to two oranges depending on how juicy they are.
  • Soy sauce: For gluten-free, use coconut aminos plus one teaspoon of salt instead.
  • Lime juice: Freshly squeezed is the way to go – two limes should be sufficient for both the marinade and the ranch.
  • Worcestershire sauce: To add some additional umami flavor to the marinade.
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Oregano: Preferably Mexican oregano.
  • Paprika: If you have it, use smoked paprika.
  • Flank steak: If you prefer, you may use skirt steak instead but since it is typically thinner than flank steak you may need to adjust the cooking time a bit.
  • Cilantro: Some small stems are fine but avoid the large ones.
  • Mayonnaise: For the ranch dressing.
  • Sour cream: Also for the ranch.
  • Buttermilk: To thin it out and add flavor to the dressing.
  • Chipotle powder: I realize this may not be a spice that you keep on hand at all times but you seriously should! Over the last couple of years, it has become one of the most used spices in my kitchen. Chipotle powder is the result of grinding smoke-dried jalapeno peppers – it’s smoky, earthy, and spicy. I use it all the time in Mexican sauces, to season meat, and more. Look below for the product link for one of my favorite brands of chipotle powder (and dried chiles!).
  • Kosher salt
  • Chives: A traditional ingredient in ranch dressing, chives add a mild oniony flavor and freshen things up.
  • Romaine lettuce: Romaine is ideal because it’s nice and crunchy.
  • Red onion: For the fajita veggies. If you prefer, you can use a white onion or even a yellow onion.
  • Bell peppers: You’ll need two – any combination of colors will do.
  • Neutral oil: For frying up the tortilla strips – vegetable or canola work best.
  • Soft corn tortillas: You may use yellow or white. Tortilla strips may also be purchased if you would rather not prepare them yourself.
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado: When picking an avocado, opt for one that is darker in color and is firm with a little bit of squish – if it’s mushy, it is overripe and should be avoided.
  • Pico de gallo: You can purchase pre-made pico or make it yourself. I have included my recipe in the notes section of the recipe card.
  • Cotija cheese: A Mexican cow’s milk cheese, Cotija, is salty, crumbly, and delicious. If you’re not able to get your hands on it, a good substitute would be feta.

How do you make this steak fajita taco salad?

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the marinade.
Steak marinade.

2. Pour the marinade in a shallow dish with a lid or a gallon size storage bag; add the steak and refrigerate for at least two hours but no more than 24.

Steak in marinade.

3. Remove the steak from the marinade, pat dry, and rest at room temperature.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the chipotle cilantro lime ranch by using a blender or an immersion blender to process all the ingredients aside from the chives until smooth and combined. Stir in the chives and set aside.

Dressing in a blender.

5. To prepare the tortilla strips heat the vegetable/canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the tortilla strips for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined surface using a slotted spoon or tongs.

Crispy tortilla strips.

6. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and once hot add the steak. Cook for five minutes then flip and cook another five minutes. Remove from heat and gently tent with tinfoil.

Grilled steak.

7. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan if needed and cook the bell pepper and onion for five minutes until slightly softened and browned.

Fajita veggies in pan.

8. Thinly slice the steak against the grain.

9. To assemble: Add the romaine to a large bowl and top with the fajita veggies, sliced steak, sliced avocado, tortilla strips, pico de gallo, and cotija. Drizzle on the chipotle cilantro lime ranch, toss to combine, and serve.

How to store

This salad may be stored undressed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. The chipotle cilantro lime ranch dressing may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Bowl of loaded steak fajita taco salad.
Close up of salad.

More fajita inspired recipes you may like:

  • Chicken Fajita Nachos: Get two for the price of one with these chicken fajita nachos. They are easy, perfect for a crowd, and loaded to the max with all the best toppings. Naturally gluten-free.
  • Chicken Fajita Wraps: These chicken fajita wraps are stuffed full of nutritious green rice, pico de gallo and/or salsa, cheese, avocado cream sauce, and of course, chicken fajita filling! Bold fresh flavors and simple prep. A great option for lunch or dinner.

If you make this steak fajita salad w/ chipotle cilantro lime ranch I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Bowl of tacos salad.

Steak Fajita Taco Salad w/ Chipotle Cilantro Lime Ranch

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 26 minutes

This hearty fajita taco salad brimming with colorful veggies, steak, avocado, crispy tortilla strips, and Cotija cheese then tossed with chipotle cilantro lime ranch is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner. Gluten-free and dairy-free adaptable.

Ingredients

For the steak

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, for gluten-free sub for coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, preferably Mexican
  • 1 pound flank steak

Chipotle Cilantro Lime Ranch

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, packed
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream 
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, preferably freshly squeezed 
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives 

For the salad

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped 
  • 1/2 medium-large red or white onion, sliced 
  • 2 small-medium bell peppers, any color, sliced 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil 
  • 4 soft corn tortillas, white or yellow 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
  • 1 large avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced 
  • 1 cup pico de gallo (see notes for my recipe) 
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Pour the marinade in a shallow dish with a lid or a gallon size storage bag; add the steak and refrigerate for at least two hours but no more than 24.
  3. Remove the steak from the marinade, pat dry, and rest at room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the chipotle cilantro lime ranch by using a blender or an immersion blender to process all the ingredients aside from the chives until smooth and combined. Stir in the chives and set aside.
  5. To prepare the tortilla strips heat the vegetable/canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the tortilla strips for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined surface using a slotted spoon or tongs.
  6. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and once hot add the steak. Cook for five minutes then flip and cook another five minutes. Remove from heat and gently tent with tinfoil.
  7. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan if needed and cook the bell pepper and onion for five minutes until slightly softened and browned.
  8. Thinly slice the steak against the grain.
  9. To assemble: Add the romaine to a large bowl and top with the fajita veggies, sliced steak, sliced avocado, tortilla strips, pico de gallo, and cotija. Drizzle on the chipotle cilantro lime ranch and toss to combine.

Storage: This salad may be stored undressed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. The chipotle cilantro lime dressing may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

Pico de Gallo

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups diced Roma tomatoes, about 5 medium Roma's
  • 1/2 cup diced white or red onion
  • 2 jalapenos, diced (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld or serve immediately. Add salt and lime juice to taste.

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

NOTES

  • If you prefer less heat remove the seeds and membranes of the jalapenos prior to dicing.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 658Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 1543mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 39g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings

Thursday 14th of October 2021

This is the perfect lunch salad! I can't wait to make this again.

Marie

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

What a flavor-packed, colorful dish! The salad came together easily and that dressing is gold! I can't wait to make this taco salad again and serve it to friends over the weekend!

Linda

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

Flank steak is my fave cut (after ribeye). We use it all the time. Super excited to try your recipe this weekend for Saturday steak night!

Jeri

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

This steak fajita taco salad was a nice change from our usual salad. Loved the flavor of the chipotle cilantro lime ranch dressing!

Tyanne

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

The pictures are absolutely flawless and I loved that it was a colorful meal.

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