Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce


If I had to bottle the smell of summer, it would be a combination of sunscreen, chlorine, and the smell of steamy hot pavement in an afternoon rainstorm. If I had to put summer in a bowl and eat it, it would taste and look like this Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce. It is full of vibrant colors and healthy vegetables and drizzled with the most addicting peanut sauce known to man. I can (and do!) make a meal of this Thai salad many days throughout the summer. And with the cabbage, bell peppers, and cilantro growing in the garden, I see even more of it in my future!

For the Thai Salad

Thai salad with peanut sauce

First, you’ll need 4 cups of shredded cabbage. To save some time, I use the coleslaw packages in the produce section. But if I can, I prefer to chop up both Napa cabbage and purple cabbage because it gives the Thai salad extra color. Put this all into the largest bowl you have.

Thai Salad with peanut sauce

Pile on a cup of shredded carrots, a diced red bell pepper, and chopped cucumber. Top all of that with 2 chopped green onions and one bunch of finely chopped cilantro. I like to remove the stems from the cilantro when chopping because they cause a bitter taste in the salad. Put this all into the large bowl and set aside.

For the Peanut Sauce

Thai salad with peanut dressing

In a small bowl or food processor pour in 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. Squeeze in the juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons), 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon of reduced sodium soy sauce. Then put in 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of white sugar.

Thai salad with peanut dressing

Next, you’ll need a tablespoon each of minced garlic and ginger and 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro leaves.

Thai salad with peanut dressing

Finally, throw in 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of Kosher salt.

Thai salad with peanut dressing

Use a small whisk to blend all the ingredients or pulse it all in a food processor or blender. If eating right away, drizzle the peanut sauce on top and toss. If serving later, cover and refrigerate both. Freshly mix the dressing before you pour it onto the Thai salad as some of the ingredients may have settled at the bottom.

Asian food holds a special place in my heart because I am from Southern California where there is a large Thai culture. Some days I get intense cravings for The Lucky Elephant, my favorite Thai restaurant in San Dimas, CA. They have the best Pad Thai and Tom Yum Gai soup I have ever tasted. So when I get a little homesick, I either make this Thai salad (originally adapted from Once Upon a Chef) or Thai Curry Chicken with Edamame and it holds me over until I can make a trip back to So Cal.

For other Asian-inspired dishes, you may like to try this easy 5 Ingredient Crockpot Orange Chicken or Loaded Vegetable Chow Mein. There are even more options on my Recipe Index or my Asian Persuasion Board on Pinterest. Happy cooking y’all!

Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce

Heidi Davison
This is a delicious summer salad full of vibrant colors and healthy vegetables. The peanut dressing makes it taste just like a Thai food restaurant.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Salad/Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 -5


  • For the salad:
  • 4 cups of shredded cabbage or you can use bagged coleslaw
  • 1 cup shredded carrots you can also find this done for you at the store
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro stems removed
  • For the peanut sauce:
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime about 2 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt


  • Chop all of the ingredients for the salad and place them in a large bowl.
  • Combine all the peanut sauce ingredients in a food processor or bowl.
  • Blend the dressing until smooth or use a whisk until creamy.
  • Refrigerate the salad and dressing until ready to serve.
  • Pour the peanut sauce over the Thai salad and serve immediately.


Recipe adapted from Once Upon a Chef


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  • The vegetable oil in the dressing is left out of the listed recipe, heads up!

    • Glad to help! I hope you enjoy it.

  • Zannie Morrison says:

    I love Thai, pho is the best

    • There is something so comforting and delicious about pho, isn’t there? My favorite it Tom Yum Gai soup. What I would give for a bowl right now!

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