Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad

The husband loves salad.

Weird, right? He likes it much more than I do. When we first started dating we made a steak salad dinner together in the house where he was renting a room. I thought it was totally gross. I didn’t like how the warm steak wilted the lettuce, and it took me three and a half years to give steak salad a second chance.

I’m really glad I did, because this Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad is completely delicious.

Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad |

Let me tell you all about it!

I used top sirloin and marinated in the marinades to end all marinades. Before you ask, YES, this is another recipe calling for the dreaded fish sauce. If you haven’t given in and given it a try yet, I beg you to get over the idea of it and just try it. It really does NOT taste like fish, but adds a wonderful savory salty element that tastes good with just about everything.

I just got this awesome comment on my Thai Chicken with Cashews recipe from reader Krista:

“My husband and I do not like fish. I cook a lot of recipes that call for fish sauce, but I just add extra soy sauce instead. Your post convinced me that I needed to pick up a bottle at the store, even though my H kept on scrinching up his nose and insisting that we don’t need it. OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO GOOD. I TRULY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS MISSING!”

See? Just try it! You can find it on the ethnic food aisle in almost any supermarket.

Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad |

Okay, back to the steak marinade. I adapted a marinade recipe from Gina over at SkinnyTaste, and used garlic, brown sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, and low sodium soy sauce. You can marinate it overnight if you like, or, if you’re as absentminded as I am, you can just marinate it for an hour or so while you chop up the vegetables and watch Wheel of Fortune.

The steak pieces get seared over high heat which caramelizes the sugar and keeps the beef fork-tender. I used my favorite cast-iron skillet, but you can also use a large wok like this one or any good sized frying pan.

Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad |

And because I LOATHE soggy food, I didn’t use any lettuce in this salad. Instead, I used green cabbage, cucumber, red onion, and tomato. This also means that if you don’t eat all of it in one sitting, you can refrigerate it and have the rest later!

The vinaigrette is made from rice vinegar, more fish sauce (duh), brown sugar, and lime juice. It’s super fresh and vibrant!

Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad |

Just in case this wasn’t delicious enough, I went ahead and topped the salad with some freshly chopped cilantro leaves and roasted peanuts. You know I can’t keep cilantro from finding its way into everything I make. I served this is a huge serving bowl and then dished up individual servings at the table. It makes for a beautiful presentation of colors and textures!

I know you’re going to love this one, and you’d never guess that it is super low fat.

Delicious AND healthy? Okay, no excuses, go make this.

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad Recipe

This Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad is completely delicious.
5 from 1 vote
Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 557kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe



For the Steak and Marinade

  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. beef top sirloin - fat trimmed and cut into 1? cubes

For the Dressing

  • 1/3 c. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • Juice from half a lime

For the Salad

  • 2 c. chopped green cabbage
  • 1 c. halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. diced cucumber - peeled
  • 1/2 c. finely diced red onion


  • Combine the garlic, oyster sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef in a plastic zipper-close bag. Marinate steak at least 1 hour before cooking, or overnight for best results.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the rice vinegar, fish sauce, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  • Place the finely diced red onion in a small bowl and add enough of the vinaigrette to cover it. Set it in the fridge for about 10 minutes or so to mellow the onion flavor. Combine the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a large bowl.
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet or wok over high heat. When very hot add ½ Tbsp. oil and when it begins to smoke, add half the beef in an even layer and allow it to sear for about 2 minutes. Turn the beef and let the other side sear, another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat this with the second half of meat.
  • Transfer the pickled red onions and the remaining vinaigrette to the large salad bowl full of your chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Place the beef on top and garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 557kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 1019mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 23g

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About the Author


Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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  1. Yes, love this! Isn’t fish sauce wonderful? Brightened up with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice and sweetened with a touch of sugar, it’s much less menacing :3

    In fact there’s a type of fish sauce that I’ve only had at very authentic vietnamese restaurants & in Vietnam called “mam” – it’s more of a paste, really, made up of ground up fermented shrimp. But they mix it with fresh crushed pineapple and it is ADDICTING. But so smelly.

    1. Hi, Gina! I’m definitely a fish sauce convert. I don’t think I’ve had “mam” yet, but I’ll have to see if I can find some!