Addictively delicious Thai salad with the tastiest ever peanut sauce! I love this loaded up veggie salad! It’s made with fresh, crunchy vegetables (cabbage, red pepper, carrot, green onion) and crispy pan-fried tofu. Together with cilantro it is tossed in the most delicious homemade dressing. This low-carb, vegan salad makes for a nutritious meal that is also perfect for meal prep lunches on the go.
This easy recipe is the perfect anytime of year salad and goes great with your favorite protein, like pan-fried tofu, shredded chicken, grilled salmon or even a meat-free option like chickpeas!
Thai salad preparation
This salad couldn’t be easier to make. Once all the basic elements are ready, all you need to do is toss everything together in a large bowl.
Preparing the tofu
First you start with the tofu. It is cubed and then tossed with either a plant-based starch (cornstarch), and seasoned with salt and pepper. The starch helps absorb any extra moisture, which helps get the outside of the tofu crisp when pan-fried. This makes the texture oh so good!
Preparing the peanut dressing
Simple but packed with favour. It all starts with smooth natural peanut (or use crunchy if your prefer), soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, pure maple syrup, freshly squeezed lime juice and sriracha chili sauce (the secret ingredient!) If you are looking for a gluten-free option, simply substitute tamari for soy sauce.
Preparing the vegetables
To get the fresh tasting crunch in our chopped salad, we are dicing, shredding, and chopping. For the carrots, I use a box grater, for the cabbage, a mandoline, and the rest a simple kitchen knife. Even though it sounds like a lot of prep, it’s actually very quick and easy.
Lastly, everything is tossed together in a large bowl, garnished with fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. That’s it! Ready to dive into a delicious, and perfect, and crunchy, and creamy, flavour-packed salad!
How to adapt this chopped Thai salad with peanut dressing
The beauty of a salad like this is that it is highly adaptable. You can trade in and out vegetables, add noodles, and take your pick of protein. Some ways I like to adapt this salad are:
- Use a mix of different types of cabbage. Red adds a pop of color and is a great addition to pointed or white cabbage. Savoy cabbage can also be used, or Chinese cabbage, which is a little more delicate.
- Add some sweetness with cubed mango or grated green papaya.
- Try vegetables like sliced cucumber, julienned kohlrabi, or grated turnip, edamame (young soybeans) or sugar snap peas.
- Trade out tofu for your favourite protein; toss with shredded chicken or top with grilled salmon filets. Or go plant-based with chickpeas, or other favourite vegan alternative.
- Skip the protein and add some carbs. Try soba noodles, rice noodles or even udon noodles.
- Add some crunchy nuts. Toss in or top it with unsalted, roasted peanuts or cashews.
Looking for other Asian-style salad recipe inspiration?
Then try one of these delcious salad recipes:
- Asian Coleslaw
- Asian-Style Kale Salad with Brown Rice and Smoked Tofu
- Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad
- Simple Glass Noodle Salad with Vegetables
Chopped Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing
For the pan-fried tofu:
- 400 g firm natural tofu, cubed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad:
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 1/2 small pointed cabbage, shredded (about 2 generous handfuls)
- 1/4 small red cabbage, shredded (1 handful)
- 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 fresh red chili, seeded, membranes removed and diced
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons all-natural smooth peanut butter (unsweetened)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons sriracha (Thai chili sauce)
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water, to thin
- Extra cilantro chopped
- sesame seeds, unsalted, roasted peanuts or cashews
In a large bowl, add the cubed tofu, starch, salt and pepper. Toss gently until tofu is evenly coated. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet on medium-high heat. Add tofu pieces and pan fry for approximately 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally until evenly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients (peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, sriracha and lime juice). Add water to thin, until reaches a dressing-like consistency.
In a large bowl, add the red bell pepper, carrot, cabbage, tofu, cilantro, green onion and chili. Pour dressing over the salad and toss gently until well-combined.
Garnish with sesame seeds (or nuts) and cilantro. Serve and enjoy!
- If the tofu seems to be very moist, then simply press it between two sheets of paper towel to extract some of the excess moisture before proceeding with the tofu preparation.
- Leftovers keep well in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
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