Grilled Endive, Steak, and Tomato Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Winnie Abramson, ND

By Winnie Abramson, ND

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*Disclosure: This post is part of my ongoing relationship with the folks from California Endive Farms. I’ve received complementary boxes of endive over the past few months and I am being compensated to develop recipes to share with you; all opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

I discovered grilled endive last year when I came up with this grilled endive caprese salad; I make it all the time now. Pretty much every time I fire up the grill, I throw some nutritious endive on there: the heat softens it up and does away with any bitterness.

Grilled endive is great on it’s own as a side dish; it’s also a nice addition when chopped and thrown into salads.

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You can also slice it lengthwise…

grilled endive

…and put it on a sandwich.

sandwich 1_

This grilled endive salad recipe and the related open-faced sandwich (above) is something I’m a little obsessed with lately. I’ve devoured one or the other a couple of times this week after I’ve been to the gym in the morning (where I do crossfit or lift weights for an hour or so). With the veggies, the protein from the steak, the carbs from the sourdough bread, and the high quality fat in the homemade dressing, it’s the perfect lunch as far as I am concerned.

(The open-faced sandwich is basically the same as the salad in terms of its components. I love salads, and find them super easy and satisfying to eat, but sometimes I like something I can really sink my teeth into, you know? The only difference between the salad and the sandwich is that I left the steak slices larger, I cut the endive differently, and I used a bigger tomato from my garden instead of a bunch of little ones. If you make everything for the salad, but you aren’t really in the mood for a salad, you will have more than enough to make 2 open-faced sandwiches.)

About the dressing: I am not sure it’s really a ranch dressing (maybe it’s more of a “green goddess”?), but I am sure it’s awesome. Seriously awesome. I usually stick to olive oil-based dressings, but I thought a creamy, herby dressing would be perfect for this salad. I was right!

dressing 1_

The dressing whips up in a jiffy in the blender. I used a combo of my diy crème fraîche and buttermilk as the base and I just love it. Greek yogurt (or an all-natural sour cream) would work too, I think. Feel free to play with the amount of herbs and the garlic. Have fun with it, and use the leftovers for dipping all sorts of veggies and anything else you can think of. Heaven.

I really like the chunks of slightly grilled bread in this salad, but you can leave them out and have your bread on the side, if you like. Or omit it from the meal entirely if you don’t “do” bread. If you don’t eat bread, I’d add another form of carbs to this meal: maybe some quinoa or rice or another grain, or some fruit. Too many carbs in the diet can be problematic but I am not really of the opinion that’s it’s healthy to eat very low carb.

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salad 1

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Grilled Endive Salad with Steak, Tomatoes, and Homemade Ranch Dressing

A hearty summer salad for the meat lovers out there. If you don't eat steak, try it with a different protein such as grilled chicken. Chopped soft-boiled eggs would be tasty alternative, if you avoid meat.


For the salad:

  • *1 grass-fed steak I prefer rib-eye but you can use your favorite cut, about 1.5 inches thick/1 pound
  • *2 cups halved "cherry" tomatoes or chopped standard tomatoes (use heirloom tomatoes, if possible: I've been eating the ones I grow in my garden)
  • *2 heads California endive red or white, or both, root ends trimmed off
  • *2 somewhat thin slices traditional sourdough bread or other sturdy whole-grain bread or gluten-free bread
  • *Homemade ranch dressing or the dressing of your choice, preferably homemade

For the dressing:

  • *3/4 cup crème fraîche I used my homemade version
  • *3-4 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • *2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
  • *1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • *1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • *1 handful of fresh parsley leaves
  • *2 medium cloves of garlic sliced in half, plus more to taste (if you love garlic)
  • *pinch of ground cayenne pepper--optional
  • *sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


For the salad:

  • 1. Preheat gas grill to medium-high (or prepare charcoal grill for cooking over moderate direct heat).
  • 2. Pat steak dry. Rub with olive oil and then season both sides with course salt and fresh pepper. Drizzle endive and bread slices with a little olive oil.
  • 3. Grill steak for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. Grill the endive heads whole for about 4 minutes total, or until softened (use tongs to turn half-way through cooking). Grill the bread slices very briefly (watch that they do not burn).
  • 4. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 5-10 minutes, tented with foil, before slicing crosswise into thin slices (you can then cut the slices into even smaller pieces, if you like). Allow endive and bread slices to cool, as well, then chop the endive and break the bread sliced into bite-sized chunks.
  • 5. In a large bowl, combine the chopped steak, the tomatoes, the chopped endive, and the bread chunks. Toss the salad with enough dressing to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper, taste, and add more dressing, if you like. Divide salad evenly into two bowls and serve (or eat the whole thing yourself, if you're super hungry).

For the dressing:

  • Combine all ingredients except cayenne pepper, sea salt, and black pepper in a blender. Blend until the dressing is very smooth (or leave it a tiny bit chunky...your choice). Taste and adjust seasonings, and add the cayenne, salt, and pepper, if desired.

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