Mongolian Beef Salad With Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

News flash: Mongolian beef (or Mongolian BBQ. as chain restaurants would have it) does not actually come from Mongolia, just as neither Russian dressing nor Danish pastries originated in their respective eponyms. As recipe developer Julianne De Witt points out, the dish was instead created in Taiwan in the mid-20th century and then became a staple of Chinese-American buffets. While restaurants often accompany Mongolian beef with noodles or rice, De Witt chooses to pair it here with a bright and crisp salad, which she says "makes this dish a little lighter and so fresh."

De Witt does admit that "there are a few ingredients and steps to this recipe," but she assures that "the extra work is worth it" for this hearty yet wholesome salad of crunchy vegetables, zippy ginger-lime vinaigrette, and marinated beef that's stir-fried to perfection with a garlicky, gingery hoisin sauce. Set aside an hour and a half to prepare it, and you'll end up with enough food for four meals.

Collect the ingredients for this Mongolian beef salad with ginger-lime vinaigrette

The heart of this recipe is a salad made of romaine lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and edamame topped with flank steak and scallions. You'll need quite a few pantry ingredients to complete it, including baking soda, canola oil, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine for the marinade; cornstarch, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper for the stir-fry sauce; and sesame oil, lime juice and zest, Dijon mustard, honey, and cilantro to make the salad dressing.

Step 1: Slice the steak

Cut flank steak into thin slices across the grain.

Step 2: Cut each steak slice in half

Cut each steak slice in half to make bite-size pieces.

Step 3: Marinate the meat

Prepare the marinated steak: Add the steak, baking soda, canola oil, soy sauce, and wine to a medium-sized bowl. Using tongs, incorporate the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 4: Make a cornstarch slurry

Prepare the sauce: Add cornstarch and water to a small bowl and whisk together.

Step 5: Add the other sauce ingredients

Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Step 6: Make the salad dressing

Prepare the vinaigrette: Add sesame oil, lime juice and zest, Dijon mustard, honey, ginger, cilantro, and salt to a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Step 7: Put the salad together

Assemble the salad: Arrange romaine lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and edamame on a large platter.

Step 8: Coat the meat in cornstarch

Prepare the stir-fry: Dredge the marinated steak in cornstarch.

Step 9: Heat the cooking oil

Add oil to a wok over high heat.

Step 10: Fry the steak strips

Working in batches, sear the beef on both sides until browned. Set aside.

Step 11: Add the stir-fry sauce

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add sauce to wok and cook for 1 minute.

Step 12: Cook the steak and scallions

Return the beef to the wok, add scallions, and cook for 2 minutes until sauce has reduced.

Step 13: Assemble and serve

Top the salad with beef and vinaigrette, and serve.

What ingredient swaps will work for Mongolian beef salad with ginger-lime vinaigrette?

"I like to use flank steak in this recipe because it has a rich, meaty flavor and works well when marinated," De Witt explains, adding that "chuck and top sirloin steak make a good substitute" in a pinch. Feel free to choose your steak cut based on whatever is on sale or what you happen to have in the freezer.

The Shaoxing wine, too, is something that can be replaced if need be. While De Witt says "it adds depth and complexity" to the dish, it's not a make-it-or-break-it ingredient. "If you can't get your hands on it," De Witt tells us, "dry cooking sherry makes a good substitute." Drinking sherry, too, can be used since cooking sherry is nothing more than regular sherry with salt and preservatives added to it to make it last longer after it's been opened.

What are some steak cooking tips for Mongolian beef salad with ginger-lime vinaigrette?

This recipe starts with chopping the steak into strips that De Witt says should be about ½ inch wide and 2-3 inches long. In order to facilitate this process, she suggests, "Put the steak in the freezer for 15 minutes because that can make it easier to cut." Before the steak is cooked, De Witt likes to use baking soda in the marinade to tenderize it. De Witt explains that this technique is known as velveting, and the purpose, she says, is "to create tender meat from tougher cuts of beef" such as flank steak.

When it's time to cook the meat, De Witt says the pan should be very hot, "almost smoking." (You may wish to station someone with a towel to wave under your smoke alarm.) She also notes that it is necessary to cook the meat in batches, explaining that "if you add too much meat at once, the meat will steam rather than sear."

Mongolian Beef Salad With Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe
5 from 39 ratings
While Mongolian beef is typically enjoyed with rice or noodles, this recipe pairs it with salad and a zippy vinaigrette for a bright, crispy contrast.
Prep Time
1.33
hours
Cook Time
8
minutes
Servings
4
servings
beef salad on white plate
Total time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the marinated steak
  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • For the sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • For the vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the salad
  • 2-3 romaine hearts, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • ½ cup cooked edamame beans
  • For the stir-fry
  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
  • ¾ cup chopped scallions
Directions
  1. Cut flank steak into thin slices across the grain.
  2. Cut each steak slice in half to make bite-size pieces.
  3. Prepare the marinated steak: Add the steak, baking soda, canola oil, soy sauce, and wine to a medium-sized bowl. Using tongs, incorporate the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Prepare the sauce: Add cornstarch and water to a small bowl and whisk together.
  5. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  6. Prepare the vinaigrette: Add sesame oil, lime juice and zest, Dijon mustard, honey, ginger, cilantro, and salt to a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  7. Assemble the salad: Arrange romaine lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and edamame on a large platter.
  8. Prepare the stir-fry: Dredge the marinated steak in cornstarch.
  9. Add oil to a wok over high heat.
  10. Working in batches, sear the beef on both sides until browned. Set aside.
  11. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add sauce to wok and cook for 1 minute.
  12. Return the beef to the wok, add scallions, and cook for 2 minutes until sauce has reduced.
  13. Top the salad with beef and vinaigrette, and serve.
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