Think fiesta tacos meet classy steak dinner.
When you’re in the mood for tacos, but just not feeling Mexican flavors, this is the taco to make. I was honestly really wanting a steak sandwich. I just craved beautiful slices of juicy steak pressed between soft bread and loaded with flavor-packed fixings like caramelized onions and blue cheese.
When I realized I had used my last piece of bread for breakfast and forgot to pick up another loaf from the store, the sandwich idea turned into tacos.
I stuck with the same flavors I was going for, and it turned out way better than I expected…they also look absolutely beautiful so I would highly suggest making these when you have people over. Any old weeknight works just as well because they’re fast to whip up.
Let me break these down for you…
I’ve been making this arugula pesto and putting it on absolutely everything, so that’s the base, and essentially the sauce, for these tacos. It’s bright, lemony, and full of healthy almonds and tons of parmesan cheese. I add honey to all my pesto, but it works especially well here because the arugula is very bitter compared to other greens or herbs. I also cut that bitterness by using basil along with it.
Next up, the caramelized onions and fennel. What goes better with steak than caramelized anything? I love roasting mushrooms down or even caramelizing carrots and parsnips to go with a simple steak. Here, I’m doing onions and fennel, basically just cooking them until golden, sweet, and oh so good.
The steak is done very simply. I let it temper until the chill comes off so that it sears better. A hot pan is key. I go into full detail on how to perfectly sear a piece of meat in my post for these pork chops.
All the other ingredients are basically just garnishes that add a lot of texture and flavor to the tacos. I use blue cheese to keep going with the steakhouse theme, some shredded radicchio instead of typical cabbage, shaved radishes for some bright crunch, and marinated cherry tomatoes to finish. And trust me, all of this works together very well. You’ve got smooth and creamy, sweet and caramelized, rich and meaty, bitter and crispy…all in one bite.
And lastly, the tortillas. I used corn tortillas to make these tacos, but honestly, I think flour would have been even better. Either way, these are super fun to make. Try them out and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Steakhouse Tacos with Arugula Pesto
seared steak tacos with arugula pesto, caramelized onions & fennel, blue cheese, radicchio, shaved radishes, and marinated cherry tomatoes
Caramelized Onions & Fennel
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large fennel bulb, cored & thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup toasted almonds
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp yogurt
- 2 (6oz) strip steaks
Tacos & Toppings
- 8 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
- ½ radicchio head, thinly shredded
- 4 radishes, shaved
- lemon wedges
Caramelized Onions & Fennel
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the sliced onions and fennel. Season with salt and black pepper. Sauté until the onions and fennel develop some color, stirring often. Drop the heat to low and continue to cook until the onions and fennel are caramelized, about 35-40 minutes. Keep warm.
- In a food processor, combine the basil, arugula, garlic, almonds, and parmesan cheese. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground. Add the lemon juice and honey. Slowly blend in the olive oil, drizzling the oil into the processor as it runs. Incorporate the yogurt. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
- Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let temper for 20 minutes. Season the steaks with salt and black pepper. Heat a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, carefully place the steaks into the pan. Let the steaks sear on one side, only flipping once the steak has a beautiful, crusty exterior. Sear the steak on the other side. Drop the heat to medium-low and finish cooking the steaks to your desired doneness (you can also pop them in the oven at this point). Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice into thin strips against the grain.
Tacos & Toppings
- Char the tortillas by placing them onto a hot grill and flipping them over once you see dark grill marks. Toss the cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt. Let marinate while you assemble the tacos.
- To assemble the tacos, spread a generous amount of arugula pesto on each tortilla. Add a spoonful of caramelized onions and fennel. Place a few slices of steak on top with a sprinkle of sea salt right on top of the meat. Garnish with the crumbled blue cheese, shredded radicchio, shaved radishes, and marinated tomatoes. I like to add a few fennel fronds as well. Give each taco a squeeze of lemon to finish.
- Serving Size: 4