Enjoy a Pittsburgh original with this Pittsburgh steak salad – made with mixed green and topped with steak, French fries, cheddar cheese, egg, tomato, croutons & ranch dressing.
Disclaimer: I’m excited to partner with Fifth Season, a Pittsburgh- based fresh food innovator that grows fresh, nutritious greens in a robotics-powered vertical farm, for this post. As always, the recipe and all opinions are my own, and I only partner with brands and products I genuinely love using in my own kitchen.
You guys know I’m a proud Pittsburgher! I was 8 when my family moved to Pittsburgh. I still remember driving out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel, across the bridge and seeing the view for the first time. The big, bright city ahead. The Pittsburgh sports stadiums. The Gateway Clipper Fleet boats docked on the river. Almost 40 years later, I’ve driven across that bridge more times than I can count, rode on all of the Gateway Clipper Fleet boats and have been all over the city,
Foods From Pittsburgh
Growing up, I never thought of Pittsburgh as a foodie city. Maybe because, as a kid, I wasn’t really that into food. I ate what my parents cooked me, and if we did eat out, they chose the place. It was usually the Spaghetti Warehouse in the strip district, or Pizza Hut.
Come to find out, Pittsburgh has a pretty strong food scene. It was recently ranked the third-best city in the nation for foodies by Apartment Guide. It has the seventh-highest number of restaurants per capita in the nation.
The most the famous Pittsburgh original is Primanti Brothers. Their Primanti’ Brothers sandwich stuffs meat, cheese, coleslaw, tomato and French fries between two pieces of Italian bread. It’s big, messy and delicious.
The city is also home to Heinz Ketchup, Sarris candies, Clark bar and Iron City Beer. And, though they didn’t originate in the city, Pittsburgh is known for perogies.
Eat-n-Park is another restaurant that originated in Pittsburgh. When I was in high school, my friends and I would hang out there, sipping iced tea and eating French fried dipped in their ranch dressing. If we went for dinner, I usually got their steak salad. It’s made with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheddar cheese, shaved beef French fries, croutons and ranch dressing. I loved that salad. Pittsburghers love their fries!
Wait, Putting French Fries On A Salad Isn’t Normal?
For most of my life, I thought that putting French fries on a steak salad was normal. In fact, I just found a few years ago that it isn’t. Brian, who’s from upstate New York, came over for dinner. I made steak salads. While eating, he told a story about the first time he ordered a steak salad in Pittsburgh and it came with fries. He thought it was so odd.
At first, I was confused by his comment. You mean, they don’t put French fries on salads in New York?
Was Pittsburgh the only place this was the norm? I seriously never knew that.
What Is A Pittsburgh Steak Salad?
A Pittsburgh steak salad is basically a steak salad that has French fries on it. It’s traditionally made with either romaine or Iceberg lettuce that’s topped with steak, French fries, tomatoes, cucumbers, a hard-boiled egg, cheddar cheese, croutons and ranch dressing. Though the exact origin is unknown, a commonly accepted story involves Jerry’s Curb Service in Beaver Pennsylvania. A man ordered a steak sandwich and asked for it to be made without the bun, but with added fries and salad dressing. Jerry’s wife then made a version of what he ordered over a bed of lettuce.
In Pittsburgh, it’s not typically referred to as a Pittsburgh steak salad. Most menus will just call it a steak salad.
How To Make A Pittsburgh- Style Steak Salad
A Pittsburgh steak salad can be made a variety of ways, but there is one ingredient that it must have – French fries! They make it a Pittsburgh salad. Ranch dressing is super popular in Pittsburgh, so most Pittsburgh steak salads come with ranch dressing. Aside from that, you can find lots of different variations. I’m sharing what you need to make my Pittsburgh-style steak salad, as well as some ways to mix it up and make it your own.
You need some greens to make this salad! I used 3 cups of Fifth Season mixed greens. I love all greens so I used a combination of their Three Rivers blend and their Bridge City blend. Fifth Season is a Pittsburgh based company that grows a wide variety of greens in a robotics-powered vertical farm. Since they are locally grown, they are super fresh. Plus, they deliver to my front door! Currently, their greens are sold in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Columbus area. If you’re not living near these areas, you can use the spring mix sold at your local grocery store.
Romaine lettuce is commonly used as the base of this salad, as is Iceberg. In Pittsburgh, it’s common to see those two lettuce varieties mixed together to make the base. You can really use any salad green you want. Heck, you can even mix in some spinach if you want. It’s not the salad green used to make a traditional Pittsburgh steak salad, but it’s packed full of nutrients. Use whatever salad green or combination of greens you want.
There are a variety of restaurants in Pittsburgh that offer a Pittsburgh steak salad and each one puts their own spin on it. That includes the type of steak. For this salad, I used filet mignon. I wanted a leaner cut that didn’t require a lot of trimming. I grilled it, then sliced it to lay over top of the greens.
In Pittsburgh, the type of steak you get depends on the restaurant. The one I grew up eating at Eat-n-Park is made with shaved rib-eye steak. My daughter ordered one recently at The Yard and it came with thickly sliced sirloin.
Fries are the key ingredient in a Pittsburgh steak salad, but the type varies drastically. I prefer thin, crispy fries so I used frozen shoestring French fries to make this version. You can use thick cut fries, homemade fries, waffle fries or any type of fries you want.
Shredded cheddar cheese is by far the most popular cheese seen on a Pittsburgh steak salad. That said, this is also optional. The salad that Mia ordered a few weeks ago at the Yard had fresh mozzarella. I’ve also seen it made without cheese. I wanted to stick to tradition, so this version includes some shredded cheddar.
A traditional Pittsburgh steak salad has one sliced hard-boiled egg on it. That’s what I included in this version. But, once again, this is optional and varies. I’ve seen Pittsburgh steak salads made with a fried egg and with no egg at all.
Croutons are not a must-have ingredient, but I love the crispy texture they add, so I included them. This salad has the large, seasoned variety.
I used cherry tomatoes, but you can use any variety that you want.
Now for the dressing! Ranch dressing is very popular in Pittsburgh, and is often seen served with a Pittsburgh steak salad. It’s also my favorite dressing. So, for me, it’s a must have ingredient. I use my homemade, creamy reduced-calorie and fat ranch dressing on this salad. You can use any ranch dressing that you want, but using a different variety will significantly impact the nutrition information I provided below.
If you’ve never tried a Pittsburgh-style steak salad, you don’t know what you’re missing! This is one salad that even the kids will love!
What do you think? Are you ready to try a Pittsburgh-style steak salad?
Pittsburgh-Style Steak Salad
- 2.5 ounces steak, fillet, lean & trimmed
- 2 ounces French fries, frozen (I like to use shoesting)
- 3 cup fresh, mixed greens (I used Fifth Season Bridge mix)
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- 3 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 large croutons
- 3 tbsp reduced calorie & fat ranch dressing (I used my homemade Ranch dressing recipe)
- dash of black pepper
- Put the greens on a plate or in a large, shallow bowl then top with steak, French fries, sliced egg, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Drizzle with ranch dressing then add a dash of ground pepper. Enjoy
- Recipe Makes: 1 salad
- Serving Size: 1 salad
- Nutrition Facts (per salad): 590 calories, 37 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 30 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 270 mg cholesterol, 40 g protein, 810 mg sodium, 25% daily value for calcium, 30% daily value for iron, 10% daily value for potassium, 6% daily value for vitamin D.
- NOTE: the calories and all nutrition facts are calculated based on the ingredients listed above. It includes 3 tablespoons of my reduced fat and calorie, homemade ranch dressing. If you use a store-bought ranch, or a different dressing, it will alter the nutrition facts.
- Meal Planning Servings: 2.5 CHO; 5.5 PRO; 6 FAT
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This is not the original Pittsburgh steak salad recipe, that was created and popularized at Mario’s on the South Side. Kaufmann’s restaurant on the top floor also had an excellent one. The original is made with chopped iceberg lettuce, topped with french fries with cheddar cheese melted over them. The sliced steak goes on top. Around the sides, scatter garbanzo beans and sliced black olives. Add four quarters of marinated artichoke heart. Sprinkle crumbled bleu cheese over all. Drizzle Italian dressing, just enough to coat. Then smother in chunky bleu cheese dressing. Hard boiled egg can be added, but I hate them so don’t use them. That’s a true Pittsburgh steak salad!