Your new favorite summer salad starts with both, grilled carne asada and grilled avocado. Yes, this grilled avocado & carne asada salad is loaded with ribbons of citrusy marinated meat and creamy charred avocados. The only thing better is having both with the creamy cilantro lime dressing that goes on top. This salad is deeply satisfying and impossible not to love.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the fresh and bold, bright flavors of Mexican food. I like to incorporate those authentic flavors in dishes beyond the traditional taco or burrito. This salad is the perfect example of channeling, “Mexican Feast, but make healthy.”
The fatty richness of rich citrus-marinated carne asada, the charred creaminess of the avocado, and the generous bed of spicy arugula serve as the perfect compliments for one another. All the epic-ness you love in authentic Mexican tacos is represented here, especially when you start layering on salty crumbled cotija, ripe cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of creamy cilantro-lime dressing.
What Is Carne Asada?
Carne Asada, one component of this amazing summer salad, is a type of beef that is popular in Mexican cuisine. Carne asada just means “grilled meat” in Spanish, but in the US it commonly refers to marinated, grilled steak. It is typically made with skirt steak or flank steak and is cooked over a hot fire until it is slightly charred on the outside but still juicy on the inside. Carne asada can be served as a main dish or with a variety of accompaniments, such as tortillas, salsa, guacamole, or rice.
Carne asada has a bold, flavorful taste that comes from the marinade and grilling process. The meat is usually cooked quickly over high heat, which helps to keep it tender and juicy.
Ingredients You’ll Need For Grilled Avocado Carne Asada Salad
There are four main elements that make up this recipe, grilled steak, grilled avocado, marinade, and salad ingredients. I use skirt steak for my carne asada salad, but you could also use flank steak and follow the same recipe.
- Skirt Steak: My favorite cut of meat for carne asada is skirt steak for its ability to soak up marinades and grill tender with crisp flavor edges but you can also get great results with flank steak.
- Avocado: You want to use a ripe but firm avocado for this salad. If it’s too ripe, it will fall apart on the grill.
- Cotija Cheese: Cotija is a Mexican cheese that’s similar to feta but with a more pungent flavor.
- Arugula: Arugula has a peppery flavor that pairs perfectly with carne asada.
- Avocado Oil: Avocado oil has a neutral flavor and high smoke point making it perfect for grilling.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce adds a salty umami flavor to the carne asada marinade.
- Orange Juice and Lime Juice: The acidity in orange juice and lime juice helps to tenderize the beef.
- Cilantro: Cilantro adds a bright, fresh flavor to the salad.
- Jalapeno: Jalapeno is added to the marinade and vinaigrette for a hint of spice but can be intensified by including the jalapeno seeds.
- Garlic: This dish has a wonderful taste due to the abundance of garlic.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar counteracts the acidity in the marinade and adds a little sweetness.
- Chili Powder & Cumin: gives the carne asada depth of flavor with a little bit of heat.
Bring On The Flavor – Carne Asada Marinade
A carne asada marinade is key to a delicious, flavorful steak. The most important part of the marinade is the acidity from the orange juice and lime juice, which not only adds flavor to the steak but also helps to tenderize the beef. The acidity from the orange juice and lime juice breaks down the tough fibers in the steak, making it more tender and flavorful. I also like to add a lot of garlic for flavor as well as jalapeno for a little bit of heat. Other important marinaingredients include soy sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Preparation is very easy. All the ingredients are added to a blender and blended until smooth.
How To Make A Gorgeous Grilled Avocado & Carne Asada Salad
This grilled salad is made of 4 components: grilled carne asada, grilled avocado, citrus lime vinaigrette, and salad ingredients. Luckily the grill does most of the work and does it pretty fast so your biggest task is prepping.
How To Prep Avocado & Carne Asada
- Prep skirt steak by adding it to a gallon-size ziplock bag. Pour in marinade, and press out excess air before sealing it. Use hands to massage the marinade into all sides of the meat. Allow meat to marinate for 1-4 hours before grilling for optimum flavor. Brush with oil before grilling to seal in the moisture.
- Prep avocados by quartering each avocado and removing the seed. Leave the skin on. Brush with oil before grilling.
How To Grill Carne Asada & Avocado
- Fire up the grill!
- With any grilling recipe, I always recommend that you first clean and oil the cooking grate. In order to get a good char – which any good carne asada is known for – it is best to grill over direct high heat (450-500°F).
- Add steak to grill for 3-5 minutes on each side to achieve based on your desired doneness. Aht Aht Aht, don’t rush to cut. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice against the grain.
- Add avocado to the grill flesh side down over indirect heat for 3-5 minutes until you see desired grill marks. Remove from the grill, cool, and remove the skin.
To Assemble Salad
- Make the dressing.
- Add a bed of lettuce at the base, layer on cotija cheese, cherry tomatoes, and toss with creamy cilantro lime dressing!
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long should I marinate the steak?
Skirt steak is a relatively tough cut of meat, so it benefits from a longer marinade time. I recommend marinating between 1 and 4 hours, but don’t go beyond 8 hours as the acidity in the marinade will start to break down the meat and make it mushy.
- What type of grill is best for carne asada?
I prefer to grill carne asada on a charcoal grill, but a gas grill will work just fine. If you are using a gas grill, make sure to pre
- What kind of steak should I use?
I prefer to use skirt steak for carne asada, but you could also use flank steak or even a thinly sliced sirloin.
- How do I know when the steak is done?
The best way to tell if a steak is grilled to your desired doneness is to use an instant read thermometer. The ideal internal temperature for grilled skirt steak is between 135°F medium-rare and 145°F medium.
- Can I make carne asada ahead of time?
Yes, you can certainly make the steak ahead of time. In fact, it’s often even better when made a day in advance so the flavors have time to meld. Just be careful not to marinade the steak longer than 8 hours.
- How long does it take to grill avocado?
It takes about three to five minutes to grill avocado on medium-high heat. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t get too charred.
- How do I keep the avocado from sticking to the grill?
Coat the avocado in oil before grilling. This will help to create a barrier between the fruit and the grill grates. Halfway through the grilling time, you may also use a grill spatula to loosen the avocados from the grate. If you don’t care so much about girl lines you can also use a grill basket to cook the avocado. This will make it easier to flip and remove from the grill.
She’s A Real Crowd Pleaser
This grilled avocado & carne asada salad is the perfect dish for your next outdoor gathering! It’s hearty enough to satisfy a crowd, but not too fussy to make. Plus, it’s sure to be a pleaser for both kids and adults alike. So fire up the grill and give this recipe a try! And don’t forget to take a photo and share it with us on Instagram (@meikoandthedish). We can’t wait to see your version!
More Delicious Summer Grilling Recipes
If you loved this grilled salad recipe, here are more tasty grilled summer salads you are going to love:
- Grilled Potato Salad
- Grilled Elote Salad (Mexican Street Corn)
- Grilled Peach Salad with Goat Cheese
- Best Grilled Caesar Salad
Carne Asada Marinade
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeno seeded and diced
- 1 ½ lbs skirt steak
- 2 medium ripe avocados quartered, seed removed
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or neutral oil divided
- 5 oz arugula
- 5 oz cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup cotija cheese
Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves packed
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic glove
- ½ jalapeno seeded
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a blender, add marinade ingredients and blend on high speed for 15-20 seconds until smooth. Add steaks to a gallon-sized zip-lock bag, pour in marinade, squeeze out excess air and seal the bag. Massage marinade into all sides of the steak, then refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Grilled Carne Asada:
- Clean and oil cooking grate. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill fire for 2 zone, direct grilling over high heat (450-500°F). Cover and let warm-up for 10 minutes.
- Once the grill is hot, remove steak from bag and wipe off excess marinade. Brush meat with 1 tablespoon of oil on all sides. Add steak to grill over direct heat for 3-5 minutes on each side to achieve a dark sear on the outside. Cover with lid while grilling. Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. When ready, thinly slice steak against the grain.
- While the steak is cooking, rub the flesh side of the avocado with 1 tablespoon of oil. Place on the hot side of the grill but not directly over heat, cook for 3-5 minutes on each side.
- In a blender, add lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper, and blend on high speed for 10 seconds. With the blender running slowly drizzle in oil. Vinaigrette should coat a spoon. Vinaigrette will keep for 5 days in the fridge.
- To serve in a large bowl, season arugula with salt and pepper, pour 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette toss to cover the leaves evenly. Layer top with steak, avocado, cotija, and tomatoe. Serve with a side of dressing.
- Do not marinate for longer than 8 hours because the meat will start to break down and get mushy.
- Remove the steaks from the marinade. You can either toss the excess marinade, or you can transfer it to a small pot and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes then serve.
- Use paper towels to pat each steak dry. It won’t be perfect, but the drier they are when they hit the grill, the more browning effect we will get.
- Remove steaks from the fridge and let them sit out return to return to room temperature.
- The ideal internal temperature for grilled skirt steak is between 135°F medium-rare and 145°F medium.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
**The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products I use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.