This crunchy Thai Salad is the type of salad that makes you crave more veggies. It features crunchy cabbage and carrots, fresh cilantro, and a creamy peanut dressing that will make you want to lick the bowl clean!
If you don’t eat peanut butter often, you’ll also be happy to know that this recipe works beautifully with sunflower seed butter, almond butter, or cashew butter, too.
The nut butter simply provides a creamy base, and allows you to use less oil than a traditional dressing might call for.
Why You’ll Love It
- It’s ultra-flavorful. This is a restaurant-quality Thai salad that you can make at home in less than 15 minutes. The peanut dressing brings all the veggies together, with a delicious crunch in each bite.
- It’s healthy. Who doesn’t want to enjoy eating more veggies?
- It’s gluten-free. When you use tamari instead of soy sauce, you’ll keep this recipe naturally gluten-free. (Yes, regular soy sauce contains gluten!)
- It’s dairy-free. The dressing is creamy, without using any dairy. If you sweeten it with maple syrup instead of honey, it’s vegan, too.
- It’s flexible. I often use sunflower seed butter instead of the peanut butter in this recipe. And if you don’t have one of the veggies on hand, you can certainly swap anything out that you need to. When fresh mango is in season, I love add that on top.
- You can make it ahead of time. Chop the lettuce and stir the dressing together over the weekend, and then you can assemble a salad in less than 5 minutes during a busy week.
I hope you’ll give this Thai salad recipe a try, because it’s one of my family’s favorites. My husband told me he could eat this everyday!
How to Make It
- Mix the dressing. Add the peanut butter dressing ingredients to a jar or bowl, and whisk well. Set it aside to let the flavors develop, as you chop the salad veggies.
- Chop the veggies. Use a knife to finely chop the romaine, cabbage, red bell pepper, green onions, and cilantro. I use a box grater to shred the carrots, or you can use a julienne peeler. (Or buy pre-shredded at the store!)
- Toss it together. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss well. I usually start with only half the dressing, and then add more to taste.
- Enjoy! Add any extra toppings you like, such as crushed peanuts or cashews for extra crunch.
Save any leftover dressing for future salads, or use it as a dip for Veggie Spring Rolls or sliced veggies.
- Make it nut-free. Use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.
- Make it vegan. Use maple syrup instead of honey.
- Add mango. Fresh mango is a match made in heaven with this Thai peanut dressing.
- Make it SCD-friendly. Use honey instead of maple syrup.
- Use only vinegar. I’ve used an extra tablespoon of rice vinegar, instead of the lime juice, in a pinch.
I’d love to hear anything else you try with this Thai salad recipe, too! We can all benefit from each other’s experiences.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
Looking for more veggie inspiration? Try these!
- Vegan Ranch Dressing
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
- Vegetarian Cobb Salad
- Caesar Salad
- Sesame-Lime Cabbage Salad
- Kale Salad with Apple Cider Dressing
- Arugula Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
- Asian Cucumber Salad
Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing
Thai Peanut Dressing
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (68 grams)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (12 grams)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (27 grams)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (31 grams)
- 1 tablespoon tamari (18 grams; or soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons honey (57 grams)
- 2 garlic cloves (8 grams)
- 1-inch fresh ginger (5 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (2 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons water , or more as needed
- 1 romaine heart , chopped (5 to 6 oz.)
- 2 cup red or green cabbage , shredded (5 to 6 oz.)
- 1 cup shredded carrots (2 medium; 4.5 oz.)
- 3 green onions , chopped (0.7 oz.)
- 1 red bell pepper , chopped (3 oz.)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro , chopped (0.5 oz.)
- 3/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews (optional; for topping)
- To prepare the dressing, add all of the peanut dressing ingredients to a bowl or mason jar, and whisk well to combine. I use a microplane to finely mince the garlic and ginger into the mix, so there won't be any large chunks in the final dressing. Taste and adjust any seasonings to taste, then set it aside.
- Chop the vegetables, then add them to a large bowl.
- Add half of the prepared dressing to the bowl of veggies, and toss well. Taste the salad, and add more dressing as needed. (You might not use it all!) Add the chopped nuts, if you'd like extra crunch, then serve right away. Leftover dressing will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Tips: Prepare the dressing up to 5 days in advance and store it in the fridge. The veggies can all be chopped up to 24 hours in advance, and then you can assemble this shortly before serving, to retain the maximum crunch.
- Make it Vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
- Make it Nut-free. Use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.
If you try this Thai Salad, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it!
Reader Feedback: Any other popular salads you’d like to see here?
Questions and Reviews
You just made me a happy man this morning. I use to love going to this Thai restaurant before I married my wife. Laura’s not a big Tai fan so it doesn’t happen anymore. The dish I always ordered had this wonderful peanut sauce poured over the chicken and the rice. I can use this sauce over almost anything. Thanks Megan!
Yummo! I want to try this over a nice salad of Lacinato kale! xx
This looks amazing! Thai is my favourite cuisine!
will this taste good without any added sweetener, honey or otherwise?
You can try it without, and see how you like it, or if you are just trying to avoid honey, maple syrup would be a good substitute. Instead of 3T, you might start with just a half of a tablespoon and add more to taste. I make a similar dressing, and that is what I use.
I used a teaspoon of fish sauce in mine, which gave it some sweetness and some umami flavor.
I think I’ll try omitting the water and make it a dip for my little ladies! They’ll eat a salad but it’s more fun deconstructed!
Oh yum! I make a Thai peanut salad dressing often and have been trying to incorporate more oleic sunflower oil to improve my complete lipid profile. I’m definitely going to make this dressing for my weekend salads. Thanks for the recipe!
Currently my favourite go-to-whip-it-up now dressing includes oleic sunflower oil, lemon juice, raspberry vinegar, nutritional yeast, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, and garlic. I’ve made this dressing so often I could do it with my eyes closed, I don’t even measure anything anymore.
Hi Sabine! Can you give me the recipe for your dressing you mentioned? That looks really good too.
I used to work with a friend named Sabine in NPB, CA! Fond of the name!
This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try this. All I have is almond butter so I’ll use that instead. But that’s okay, no one in my family has a nut allergy!
I just made this and used peanut butter in place of sunflower and it is amazing!! Really good on just about anything!!
Sounds yummy! Can I substitute something else like almond butter or tahini for the sunflower seed butter? I have no idea where to find that and won’t use it for anything else.
Almond butter should work great!
Wow – this looks so incredibly creamy!
Just used raw sunflower seeds instead of the sunflower butter and it worked great in a vitamin. Delicious!!
i can`t wait to try this, it looks delicuos.
I made this today and it’s one of the best peanut dressings I’ve ever had. Thank you! I used natural peanut butter.
Look tasty – perfect for my peanut allergic husband while hopefully giving me a peanut like fix!
This dressing is a winner!! Made it last night and it was delicious! Very versatile, too.
Great ingredients, resulting in a delicious dressing – that can be used as a dipping sauce as well!
I’m so excited for this dressing!! LOVE luv Thai peanut anything!
Wow! Is this ever perfect! Great balance if flavors. Will definitely make again and again!
This dressing packs some serious heat! I bet it would be good over chicken and cauliflower rice too.
I love this dish so much. I would love to learn more from you. You are amazing!:)
Holy yum. This sauce tastes good on everything 🙂
This was delicious. I see more salads in my future with this on top. This absolutely blows away any store bought dressing I’ve had. Thanks for sharing!
This is one of those recipes that makes you so happy to be eating well. So super delicious!!! I love your recipes and this one might be at the top right now. You rock!!! You make eating well so much fun!!!
Sooooo….good. My first time making my own dressing and Wow.
Replaced the oil with water for an oil free dressing and used peanut butter because I didn’t have sunflower butter on hand…and wow! This is so addicting! Its my new go to dressing. Thanks Megan!
We just had this over steamed broccoli tonight – YUM!
This recipe nails the flavor that the title claims. Very good, also used raw sunflower seeds instead of butter.
I just made this salad dressing and now all I want to eat all week long is this salad dressing! It is so delicious! You never fail us! Thank you!
I made this as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken. I did not put the water in it because I wanted it to be thicker. It was so good. It tastes almost identical to my favorite sauce for the summer rolls at Big Bowl.
I forgot to mention I used peanut butter and it was perfect.
Can I ask why you only suggest storing for three days? I don’t see any ingredients that would spoil in the fridge…actually they all are pretty long lasting.
I always try to be conservative with storage times, as I don’t want anyone to get sick from keeping fresh food for too long. The only reason why this dressing might spoil quickly is because you add water to the mix– and added moisture encourages bacteria growth. So, I would definitely aim to use it up within a week!
CAN YOU TELL US HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN THE DRESSING?
Hey Megan! Thank you, thank you! This definitely hit the spot and was oh so delicious! I’ve been in such a Thai food frenzy lately so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to give it a try. I swapped out the sun butter for almond, that’s all I had, and it was superb!! I think I’ll have to double the recipe next time.. 🙂
I made this without honey and salt. I used coconut aminos (adds sweetness) and followed the recipe exactly and this is a fantastic dressing. 5 out of 5 stars!!!!!!! Thanks bunches ♥ ♥ ♥
I just made this and it’s Amazing! thank you so much your recipes are always my go to’s 🙂
For those with soy allergies I omitted the soy sauce and it was just as good 🙂
This is so good. The only change I made was I used almond butter. I did not have a seed butter in the house. I will try it with peanut butter next time and I am sure it will be good with whatever I use. I ate it with a salad and had it the next day as a dip with peppers. No one in the house got to try it because I ate it all by myself! So tasty! I will be making this again for sure!
Delish! Took some serious willpower not to just drink this! Thank you!
Is it possible to freeze this?
I just made this. This dressing is amazing!!! Great flavours altogether. Just awesome.
This dressing was a huge hit at my companies art show. The bowl was scraped clean!
Loved it and will make it again this weekend.
An important note: If you have nut allergies, be sure to check the labels of the Sunflower Seed Butter! Some may contain trace amounts of nuts as some processing plants make other nut butters as well. They clean the processing machinery well, but have to label their products “may contain nuts”.
Just made this with Tahini instead of sunflower and it was delicious!!!!!
This dressing is amazing!!! I have added it to my “Fav Vegan Recipes” page.
Thanks ! I used walnuts instead of sunflower seed butter. It is fresh and beats thai peanut sauce in the bottle sol in health food stores
I’m so happy to find this recipe! It seems most if the sauce recipes contain sriracha or chili paste and I just don’t tolerate those well, this has ingredients I can handle. Thank you so much! Making doodles tonight to go with dinner and this will top them! 😀
do you have a recipe for the sunflower seed butter please?
Yes, here you go: https://detoxinista.com/how-to-make-sunflower-seed-butter-oil-free/
I developed allergies to peanuts & tree nuts five years ago and desperately missed satay style sauces – This sauce has more then made up for my loss!! I love it 😍 I add some pumpkin seed butter as an extra.
Do you think that maybe 1 tablespoon of sesame oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil would work?
Delish! I used rice vinegar and 1 tbsp of honey and it was perfect for me. I think I would add a little but more red pepper flake next time, for some additional spice. So many ways to enjoy this dressing!
What can I replace the soy sauce with? I’m allergic to coconut and soy.
If coconut aminos isn’t an option, maybe just try adding salt to taste?
Okay thank you so much!
This dressing is absolutely delicious!! It’s my go to dressing. The only thing I do differently is a bit less sweetener, and I use maple syrup instead of honey.
We quickly made this dressing in a pinch to pour over some brown rice & roasted veggies, and OMG it’s fabulous!! My wife is on a candida cleanse diet and our sunflower butter had added sugar so we substituted with almond butter. Instead of the 3 Tbl of honey we added a 1/2 teaspoon of powdered stevia which was the perfect sweetness for us. We didn’t have red pepper flakes but we DID have Thai chilies from our garden which gave the heat a nice depth of flavor. We subbed with 1 Thai chili, de-seeded.
We make peanut sauces all the time and this is definitely a great new addition to our regular list! Ty! 🙂