Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad with the most delicious sweet and spicy peanut dressing is everything you want in a healthy salad. It’s crunchy, full of fresh veggies, and packed with flavor.
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Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad Recipe
This Thai Chicken Salad made with cabbage, red peppers, mandarin oranges, and the most delicious peanut dressing will be your new favorite salad. Makes a healthy, filling lunch or dinner.
Junky, caloric, fattening food is all around us. Sure, it seems worse around the holidays, birthdays, cookouts, social visits, dinners out, parties, and, okay, see…it’s everywhere, all the time.
One of the things I do to make sure I stay accountable for what I put into my body and to not overwhelm my willpower is to arm myself with lots of low-calorie, tasty salad and veggie dishes for lunches and dinner to balance out all the sugary, fattening foods (hey, I’m only human, and moderation is key).
Lately, this Thai Chicken Salad has been at the top of my list. It’s really, really good and has all the things you long for in a meal — the crunch, the taste, and the variety.
The best part about this salad is you can make the dressing in larger batches and use it over and over again on this salad, another salad, as a dressing for a wrap, or for a stir-fry. It’s really exceptional and doesn’t make you miss the more calorie-laden “healthy” salad options you might see at restaurants. We all know those are no light meals!
How to make Thai peanut dressing?
Once you try this peanut dressing, you will want to eat it on everything. It’s sweet and spicy and salty. You’ll be addicted and trying it on everything. Here’s the basic recipe:
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce
- 4 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter
- 1.5-2 tbsp. water
- 1-2 tsp. Sriracha (or to taste)
- 1.5-2.5 tsp. Stevia (or 1.5-2.5 tbsp. honey)
- 1/2 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
Ways to Serve This Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad
This salad works great as-is, but is also very versatile! Try it as:
- Lettuce wraps. Yes, you can put salad in lettuce! You can do anything you want! Mix up a big batch of this salad and add it to the inside of a romaine or bibb leaf. Crunch upon crunch upon delicious crunch!
- Stuffed sweet potatoes. Microwave a sweet potato, slice it in half and add the rest of the salad ingredients. If that seems too weird to you, either cook the cabbage or chopped stir-fry mix and then add it or skip it all together and just add the chicken and delicious dressing.
- Over rice. You have all the ingredients for a stir-fry, basically. Heat up some brown rice (or use one of those awesome, steamable frozen bags) and add the cooked stir-fry mix, chicken, and dressing.
- In a wrap. Make salad as instructed, and add it to the inside of a whole wheat or low-carb wrap. Done and done.
- In a pita. See above but stuff it all inside a delicious pita pocket.
- In spring roll. You already know what I’m going to say here, right?
- Over zoodles! Make this a hot dish and serve over zucchini noodles for the most veggie-packed dish you can envision.
- Swap the protein. Instead of chicken, you can do thin strips of pork or beef. Try tofu, beans, or lentils for a plant protein option.
How Do You Make Salad Crunchy?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love a good crunch. And to make a salad worthwhile, it has to have a lot of it. For this one, the cabbage and/or stir fry mix and the red pepper, pretty much take care of the crunch. You can also add some chopped peanuts, chow mein noodles, red cabbage, water chestnuts, snow peas…just about anything crunchy (and good for you), toss it in!
How Long Does This Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad Last in the Fridge?
My suggestion would be to not keep a dressed salad in the fridge—it will get wilty and gross fast. Keep the dressing, veggies, and chicken all in separate containers and put the salad together when you’re ready to eat it. It will last stored like this in the fridge for about 2-3 days. If this is something you are going to pack and take with you for lunch or dinner, you can put the chicken and veggies together and pack the dressing separate as well. Empty spice jars are great for taking dressing on the go, as they typically have a lid that you screw on which means the dressing will not end up all over the place.
What Makes This Salad Thai Flavored?
A lot of Asian recipes get lumped together a lot and it can be hard to tell one from another. Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Thai can all have similar flavors and ingredients. What sets Thai apart though is the yin and yang of balancing flavors. There is a lot of sweet and sour, bitter and salty, etc. Every Thai food should have two or more opposing flavors.
In this dish, we have the sweet: oranges; the sour: lime juice; spicy: Sriracha; salty: soy sauce; bitter: snow peas and cabbage; and of course lots of other ingredients in between. Play around with your (Thai) food until you find a flavor combination you love!
Looking for more healthy salad recipes?
This recipe was originally posted in 2014 but has been udpated with new photos, tips, and recipe ideas.