This Thai Quinoa Salad is a colorful, crunchy, flavorful salad that is great for lunch, dinner or a side dish! It’s hearty, gluten-free and has a vegan option as well.
I made this Thai Quinoa Salad a couple weeks ago and I swear I ate at least three servings of it that day! I couldn’t control myself. There was something about all the texture, crunch and flavors that made it impossible to put down. Better that it was a salad rather than cake I suppose.
This salad works as a vegetarian or vegan main dish, a hearty side dish to serve with chicken like these Coconut Lime Chicken Skewers or this Sticky Thai Chicken. I highly recommend making it for your Labor Day barbecues this weekend, how is it already the last week of August?
Can I Make the Salad Ahead of Time?
Yes. The quinoa and vegetables can be combined together a day or two in advance. I wouldn’t add the vinaigrette until the day you plan to serve the salad. This will ensure that the vegetables stay crisp and crunchy. If the crunch factor isn’t a concern and you want to make this for meal prep then feel free to make and assemble everything in advance. It will still taste amazing!
Like I said, this salad has some major crunch. Along with the quinoa and peanuts to top the salad with, you’ll find a rainbow of crunchy vegetables including, red cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, green onion, a jalapeño, edamame, cilantro and Thai basil.
What Does Thai Basil Taste Like?
If you’ve never had Thai basil be aware that it has a very different flavor than traditional sweet basil. The flavor has a noticeable anise/licorice flavor. If that’s a flavor you don’t care for, I would advise you to not add it to the salad.
The dressing for the Thai Quinoa Salad has a ton of fresh and spicy flavors in it. Fresh lime zest and juice, fresh ginger, chili garlic sauce, tamari (or soy sauce), fish sauce and honey for sweetness. It’s a light dressing that goes perfectly with all of the salad ingredients. If you aren’t a fan of fish sauce or are making this salad vegan, just omit it and replace with more tamari.
That’s all there is to making this salad. It’s quick and easy, especially if you already have some cooked quinoa in your fridge. The salad is topped with peanuts for extra crunch and flavor that pairs great with the Thai flavors. If you have a peanut allergy I suggest substituting with cashews for the added flavor and crunch.
More Quinoa Salads
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 1/4 cup sliced green onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped Thai basil (optional)
- Peanuts for topping the salad (optional, but recommended)
- Zest of a lime
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium tamari soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, such as sambal oelek
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional, add more tamari if omitting)
- Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Stir everything together and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve the salad topped with peanuts if desired.
Nutritional info. based on 4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 8gSugar: 15gProtein: 11g