I have a confession to make.  I adore, adore, adore salads, but my family… not so much.  So I rarely make them and wish I made more.  But I may have just found a compromise that not only gets me my salad and my family the ‘meal’ they long for!

Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, a recipe from the Texas Beef Council, is – in a word – divine!  And in this week two of making ‘Healthy Meals Fuel the Family‘ – a four week series bringing you real meals that are powered up with nutrition, I have to say, it is one of my favorite of all time that I have made from the Texas Beef Council and from the The Healthy Beef Cookbook: Steaks, Salads, Stir-fry, and More – Over 130 Luscious Lean Beef Recipes for Every OccasionGet the cookbook.  Seriously.

First of all, this recipe is super, incredibly easy to make.  It took less than 15 minutes to get together and tasted like it took hours.  The cut of lean beef, the tenderloin, is true to its name and melted in my mouth.

Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing


  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (approx. 4 oz. each)
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
  • 1 package (5 oz.) mixed baby salad greens
  • 1 medium red or green pear, cored, cut into 16 wedges
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp. water
  • 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse grind black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt


Season steaks with 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 7 to 9 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk Honey Mustard Dressing ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Set aside. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with pear wedges and dried cranberries.

Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt as desired. Divide steak slices evenly over salads. Top each salad evenly with dressing, pecans and goat cheese, if desired.


To get your copy of “The Healthy Beef Cookbook” click here. To toast pecans, spread in single layer on metal baking sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Set aside to cool.

Nutritional Information

Nutrition info per serving: 321 calories; 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 7 g monounsaturated fat); 67 mg cholesterol; 434 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrate; 3.3 g fiber; 26 g protein; 7.6 mg niacin; 0.6 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 2.4 mgiron; 30.0 mcg selenium; 5.1 mg zinc.

See the slideshow below to see how easy this salad is:

My Tips:  We do not care for goat cheese so I left it off and I did not feel like the salad missed anything.  I added a little more pepper to the dressing to give it a little more kick.  Let the meat ‘rest’ for a few minutes after coming out of the pan to let the juices reabsorb into the meat.  I let ours set while I prepped the salad and made the dressing.

My husband and even my kids gobbled up this SALAD with almost no resistance.  My husband had TWO HELPINGS and took the left overs for lunch the next day.  If you knew my husband, you would be shocked.  He is not a salad eater nor is he a leftover kind of guy.  His favorite part, besides the tenderloin – which now is on my weekly grocery list, mind you – was the dressing!  I know, I was shocked too.  But it really complimented the meal well and pulled that smokey flavor out of the baby greens and the meat.  The cranberries and pear added that sweet touch that ties the entire meal together!  And I even loved the surprising little crunch of the pecans!

This is a wonderful salad.  It is easy to make, amazing on flavor, powered full of nutrients and all that good stuff we want to eat and it is beautiful to look at!

Want to learn more about Healthy Recipes and how easy they are to add to your families menu?  Join us for the @TxBeef Twitter Party on March 6, 2012 from 8 – 9pm CST with hashtag #TxBeef!  You can follow me too @lomargie for all of the updates and reminders! There will be healthy beef selection and cooking tops, great conversation about how we call all make delicious and healthy meals for our families and MORE!  The last Twitter party was a complete blast and so educational!  Don’t miss it!

And here are some additional tips for getting healthier meals in front of your family:

Creating healthy meals requires time, effort and dollars!  Following are some helpful tips to include lean beef in your meal plan while staying within your budget: 

  • A Cut Above the Rest. Beef cuts from the chuck, round and sirloin are great for economical family meals.  Examples like the Sirloin Tip Roast and Shoulder or Chuck Steak are typically less expensive and very versatile. Grilled, broiled or cooked, these cuts can be added to all of your favorite recipes and provide a power pack of nutrients. 
  • The Skinny on Ground Beef. Ground beef is another versatile beef option that will save you money. Purchase 80% lean ground beef, which is less expensive than 95% lean, and use the simple rinse process to reduce the fat content by half.  (Provided in last week’s resource sheet.) 
  • Freeze and Save. Stock up on your favorite, inexpensive cuts when they go on sale and make sure to store and freeze them properly. Beef can be frozen in its original, transparent packaging for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, prevent freezer burn by re-wrapping beef in moisture-proof, air-tight wrapping materials such as heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper or plastic freezer bags. Steaks and roasts can be stored for 6 to 12 months in the freezer while ground beef can be stored frozen for 3 to 4 months. 
  • Crock Talk. Use your crock pot to create two or three meals in one!  The slow cooking process naturally tenderizes beef, leaving it flavorful and juicy. Add your favorite vegetables and other parings, and the crock pot becomes a great way to help save you money while preparing a healthy meal for your entire family.  Enjoy a second meal with the leftovers by simply shredding the roast and topping tacos, nachos or including in your favorite sandwich. 

**I am a compensated blogger for a four week campaign with the Texas Beef Council.  All opinions, writings and photos are mine.  Recipes have been provided by the Texas Beef Council.**