Hello, my chickpeas! Today’s recipe is bright and vibrant, and makes a wonderful (and colorful) side to any lunch or dinner. Today we are learning how to make my Crunchy Thai Peanut Salad! It’s got so many great veggies, so much crunch, and a delicious peanut dressing to top it off.
This recipe is so easy to make, and you can easily switch out the veggies if you wish – so be sure to check out the “Tips & Tricks” in this post for more ideas on that! But without further ado, let’s get into it.
Inspiration for Crunchy Thai Peanut Salad
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good crunchy salad. I’ve had many different variations of Thai peanut salads over the years, and the flavors just really light me up. I basically combined my favorite things from my past Thai peanut salad experiences, put a couple of my own little twists on it, and this recipe was born!
The three things that were most important to me when creating my version of this recipe were: 1) to pick a base that was SUPER crunchy, 2) to use enough veggies that the salad itself would be beautifully colorful, and 3) to make my own oil-free dressing from scratch. All of these things were accomplished, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
I honestly love every single ingredient in this recipe, and I was so excited to combine them all into one dish. Let’s talk about some of our stars today.
- Quinoa: I wanted to include some sort of grain, and after a few tests I decided that quinoa was the way to go! It soaks up the flavor of our peanut dressing and adds a fun texture to our salad.
- Red cabbage: this is one of the main components of our salad, and it provides SO. MUCH. CRUNCH. I tried a couple different options here, but red cabbage was by far the superior choice.
- Carrot, cilantro, green onion, and edamame: these are adding more nutrients, more textures, more flavors, and more colors! I especially love the addition of the cilantro, it really brings all the flavors together for me.
- Peanuts: we are topping our salad with roasted peanuts for even more crunch, and even more peanut flavor! We already get some peanut flavor from our dressing, but the roasted peanuts add an even deeper flavor that is absolutely scrumptious.
- Peanut dressing: I won’t list every single ingredient of this here, but of course the full ingredients are in the recipe at the bottom of the post! All of the dressing ingredients come together to create a creamy peanut sauce that is also umami and a tad sweet. It’s the perfect combination of flavors!
How to Make Crunchy Thai Peanut Salad
Full recipe down below, but here are the basics. The steps for this one are pretty simple, so I know you’re going to love it!
- Roast your peanuts in the oven & thaw your edamame
- Blend your peanut dressing
- Toss all other salad ingredients together
- Toss your salad with the peanut dressing
- Sprinkle your roasted peanuts on top
Tips & Tricks
This recipe is a great one to experiment with if you want to play around a bit in the kitchen. Here are some ideas for you to try!
- Have some greens you want to use up? Throw them on in! Since we already have a lot of flavor, I would recommend sticking to mild flavored greens (such as spinach). I would also suggest chopping up any greens you want to add so that they mix nicely into the salad and don’t take away from the crunch of the cabbage!
- More of a napa cabbage fan? I also did a version of this with napa cabbage in place of red cabbage, and it is also great! It’s not as crunchy as red cabbage, but if you’re okay with that then it makes a great substitute.
- Want even more crunch? Some other veggies that would add more crunch are cucumber, bell pepper, or snap peas.
- Want to make this recipe a bit quicker? I provide instructions on how to roast your own peanuts in step one of the recipe, but if you’d like to speed things along you can buy roasted peanuts so that you don’t have to do this yourself!
- Looking for more peanut-forward recipes? Check out my Vegetable Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce or my Hit the Trail Mix next!
Crunchy Thai Peanut Salad
This Crunchy Thai Peanut Salad is the refreshing, crunchy salad of your dreams! So much flavor and nutrients from our veggies, and it plates beautifully since it is so colorful. Pair this one with your favorite meal as a side salad, or enjoy it on its own for a refreshing lunch.
*Note that From Start to Finish is an estimate that assumes 15 minutes to cook your quinoa and prep your veggies, and 40 minutes to complete the directions of the recipe (though some of this time will likely be passive while you wait for your peanuts to cook/cool). This time estimate also assumes you will allow the quinoa to cool while you work on steps 1-3.
- Crunchy Thai Peanut Salad:
1/2 cup raw, unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup shelled edamame beans (NOT in a pod, fresh or frozen will work)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa, cooled to room temp (or refrigerated)
1/4 head of red cabbage, grated or thinly sliced (thinly sliced gives more of a crunch)
1 medium carrot, grated
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
- Peanut Dressing
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tsp tamari
1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp water
- Roast your peanuts: Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with aluminum foil. Spread the raw peanuts on the baking tray and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, give them a stir, and return to oven for another 4-8 minutes (or until they have darkened a bit and are fragrant). Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes, then roughly chop the peanuts. While your peanuts cook and cool, you can move on to steps 2-4 of the recipe.
- Prepare your edamame: if you are using frozen edamame, follow the package directions to thaw.
- Make your Peanut Dressing: Add all ingredient for the Peanut Dressing into a high powered blender. Blend until very smooth.
- Prepare your salad: Toss together the thawed shelled edamame, cooled quinoa, red cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and green onion.
- Finishing touches: pour your dressing onto your salad and toss to coat everything evenly. Serve and sprinkle with the chopped roasted peanuts. Enjoy!
Stay joyfully balanced!