Peppery arugula, sweet bell peppers, and seared steak combine in this healthy, flavorful salad. It works great on its own as a light meal or as part of a brunch buffet.

What to buy: Agave nectar, also known as agave syrup, is available at health food stores and online. If you can’t find agave nectar, just substitute Rich Simple Syrup or a few teaspoons of granulated sugar.

Game plan: The flank steak, beans, and dressing can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in separate covered containers, so that you just have to throw everything together when ready to serve.

For a slacker solution, substitute canned beans and use a high-quality store-bought lime vinaigrette.

If you want to go outdoors with the steak, heat a grill to medium high (375°F) and grill uncovered for 8 minutes for medium rare. Read more about grilling.

This recipe was featured as part of our New Year’s Day Brunch menu.

  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 55 mins 

Ingredients (18)

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup small-dice red onion
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 medium lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (from 1 medium clove)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the steak:

  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds flank steak, set out at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup cooked black-eyed peas
  • 6 ounces baby arugula, washed and thoroughly dried (about 6 packed cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the dressing:

  1. Combine the onion, lime juice, lime zest, agave nectar, garlic, and salt in a large, nonreactive bowl. Whisking continuously, add the oil in a thin stream until well blended. Season well with pepper and set aside.

For the steak:

  1. Blot both sides of the steak with paper towels, rub with the oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat until hot, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the steak and cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove to a cutting board to rest before slicing, at least 5 minutes.

For the salad:

  1. Add the bell pepper, black beans, and black-eyed peas to the bowl of reserved dressing and toss to coat.
  2. Cut the flank steak against the grain into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add the steak and arugula to the bowl and toss to evenly coat. Season well with salt and pepper.

Beverage pairing: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Petite Ruche, France. The arugula adds a pepperiness to the dish, which can be paralleled with a peppery red wine, namely a Syrah from France’s northern Rhône. This one adds plum, blackberry, and wild herbs, which will provide complexity without overwhelming the salad.