A super fresh, light and healthy Thai salad with the flavours of Thailand. This is a great recipe to make for a crowd if you're looking to freshen up, and glam your dinner time!
Why We Love this Recipe
Thai food is one of my favourites cuisines to eat. Whether it be a gorgeous red curry, a pad Thai or a spicy salad, you can't go wrong with the fresh flavours Thai food has to offer.
This salad is no exception. Big, bold, bright flavours that tantalise your tastebuds and transport you to a tropical beach with palm trees and fresh vegetables. You feeling me?
This salad is so easy to make, and a staple in our household when we have people over. It's great to have with a backyard summer barbecue, or perfect with some thinly sliced steak.
This salad is light, fresh and healthy - everything you look for in a salad. A simple green salad turned extraordinary, a must have at your next gathering!
Fresh veggies are the key to this dish. This Thai salad used a leafy green based, and is then topped with fresh veggies.
Salad greens - I buy these from my local market or supermarket. Mixed greens work the best, which are a combination of lettuce, spinach and rocket/arugula.
Lebanese/Persian cucumber - these are the tiny, succulent cucumber you can get. If you can't find them, English cucumbers are fine to to use. Cut the cucumber up into matchstick sizes, and get rid of the watery centre.
Red Onion - the key to this salad is finely sliced and diced vegetables. Your red onion should be thinly sliced, because let's face it, no one like massive onion chunks in their salad.
Red Capsicum/Red Bell Pepper - once again, these should be cut into thin stripes. I love the crunch red pepper brings to the salad.
Carrot - good old carrot! This carrot should be cut into thin stripes. The term for this is 'julienne'.
Fresh Herbs - you can't go wrong with fresh herbs in any salad. This salad calls for mint and coriander/cilantro. Herbs can be roughly chopped.
Optional - crushed peanuts.
How to Cut Your Veggies
The methods used to cut the cucumber, carrot and capsicum is known as the 'julienne' method.
To julienne a vegetable simple means to cut them into match sticks. You want your carrot, cucumber and capsicum to be cut into thin matchsticks for this salad.
Thai Dressing Ingredients
The dressing is the key element of this salad. Without it, the salad is super plan and bland. It brings the Thai flavour to the salad and should not be skipped. There are 4 key elements to Thai cooking - sweet, spicy, salty and sour.
To make the dressing you'll need;
Red Chilli - the correct chilli for this is a birds eye chilli. These are readily found in Australian supermarkets. I had a hard time finding them in US supermarkets in Portland. If you can't find them, green chili also works although it's not traditional. This brings the spice to the dressing.
Tamari Soy/Soy Sauce - soy sauce brings the saltiness to the dressing. Regular soy sauce works, for a gluten free option tamari soy works.
Sugar - typically palm sugar is used a lot in Thai cooking. If you can't find that, brown sugar is the next best option, followed by white sugar. Sugar is the sweet element.
Fish Sauce - fish sauce also adds an element of salty to the dish. I know a lot of people are allergic to fish sauce, or want a vegan option. Simply omit this if that is the case.
Sesame Oil - I love the nuttiness sesame oil brings to the dish. Oil heaps the salad to nicely combine.
Lime Juice - the last element - sour. Lime juice is also used regularly in Thai cooking.
Combine these ingredients into a jar and shake well, adjusting flavours as you go.
How to Make this Recipe
- Cut all your vegetables to size.
- Place the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake together until well combined.
- Layer your salad. This requires a bit of thought because you want the colours to come through the entire salad.
- Add the mix salad greens first, then strategically place the carrot, onion, red pepper and cucumber around the mixed greens.
- Top with the fresh herbs and scatter over the peanuts if you're using them.
- Finish up with the dressing. Add the dressing just before you want to serve the salad otherwise it'll go soggy.
Tips & FAQ
What should I serve this salad with?
This salad basically goes with anything, but in particular, pairs really well with light proteins such as salmon.
You could also serve it with beef marinated in a bit of lime juice, chili, tamari soy and sesame oil for a Thai-inspired flavour.
Does this salad keep?
This salad is great the next day HOWEVER if you're planning on leftovers, I would have the salad dressing separately. The salad tends to go soggy overnight if it's dressed.
Can I Make it Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! If I'm having a big dinner party, I tend to make a lot of my salads the morning of. To do this, I would wash my greens and herbs first and get them ready. Then I would pre-cut my onion, red pepper, carrot and cucumber. Store the veggies separately in an air tight container.
The salad dressing can be pre-made as well. In fact, this is good as it allows the flavours to develop.
What dish can I serve this salad in?
I love using a long, oval platter for this dish. You can easily see the ingredients laid out and it looks absolutely beautiful and colourful. A flat oval or rectangle plate would also work.
Want more Thai recipes? Try these
- Thai Chicken Sausage Rolls
- Thai Red Curry with Chicken
- Red Salmon Curry
- Thai Vermicelli Noodle Salad by It's Not Complicated
- Thai Chicken Larb by It's Not Complicated
- Thai Pomelo Salad with Roast Duck by The Devil Wears Salad
- 3 cups mixed salad green
- 1 Lebanese cucumber julienned (also known as a Persian cucumber)
- ¼ cup red onion very finely sliced
- ¾ red pepper finely sliced
- 1 carrot julienned
- ¼ cup mint roughly chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon peanuts roughly chopped
- ½ red chilli seeds removed finely diced (note 1)
- 2 tbs tamari note 2
- 2 teaspoon coconut sugar note 3
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Slice onion, cucumber, carrot and red pepper.
- Place salad leaves in a large bowl
- Top with onion, cucumber, carrot and red pepper.
- Make dressing by placing all ingredients in a jar and shaking. Adjust flavours according to taste.
- Pour dressing over salad and lightly toss.
- Top salad with bean sprouts, mint, coriander and top with peanuts.
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Chef Mimi says
This is wonderful. The prettiness of the salad is what got my attention! And some salmon or grilled chicken would go so well on top, with that lovely dressing.
thank you! it's such a fresh salad, great with a thai style marinated steak!
Loved this flavorful salad!
Glad you loved it Elena!
I love everything about this salad! So refreshing and really easy to make!
Thanks Toni, isn't it just gorgeous!
This is an amazing salad! I just loved all the bright colors and fresh flavors! YUm!
thanks Jenn it's one of my favourites!
Marie-Charlotte Chatelain says
Loving the textures and colors in this one! This would go so well with grilled chicken or salmon!
it does indeed! one of my favourites!
I love how light and colorful this salad is. And I really love the dressing. It's super easy to prepare and can definitely work with all kind of vegetables and salads.
thanks Anita, it's definitely easy to make and makes a beautiful meal with fish or chicken!
Agness of Run Agness Run says
This is the ultimate green salad recipe, Georgie! Is there any alternative to fish sauce?
Thanks Agness!!! It is great for a healthier salad! To be honest, I don't know if there is a fish sauce substitute. But as it's only 1 teaspoons it shouldn't make much of a difference if you leave it out. The fish sauce adds a salty element to the dressing, but as the dressing also contains soy sauce/tamari it should still have the saltiness it needs without the fish sauce 🙂
Lindsay | With Salt and Pepper says
These flavors are right up my alley Georgie!! I love that you reduced it for 2+...we often have the problem here of making too much in a short time. Love this!
Thanks Lindsay! These flavours are on point! Asian cooking is my absolute fav! With Adam and I just at home, it's so easy to waste food! My old food blog used to be just cooking for two, so some of my recipes still abide by that rule!
Andy Gibbs says
Great post. Reminds me of the salad i had in bangkok. The fish sauce makes it so uniquely Thai..I also once had the same dish with dried shrimp and an anchovie type fish and that was quite a weird taste. Knowing how the fish sauce itself smells so fishy I had to drizzle a lot of lime and pepper to cut the fishy taste.
Once again great post and thanks for bringing back some memories!
Thanks Andy 🙂 My husband has been to Vietnam and absolutely loved it. He saw the markets where they made fish sauce and said it was really interesting! Fish sauce can be quite over powering, that's why we are always constantly tasting our recipes, especially Thai. There is a delicate balance between salty, sweet, spicy and sour!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
I'm a total recipe hoarder too. Even if I already have 300 recipes for chocolate cake, when I find one more, I just have to copy it down. I'll never have time to try all of them! This salad sounds wonderful, and totally perfect for summer.
Ha ha recipe hoarding is the best! I am terrible to, and don't even have anywhere to put them all! this salad rocks for summer! I probably put too much chili in my last salad however! it can get super spicy!