Thai Salad with Peanut Coconut Dressing

This isn’t your average Thai Salad — it’s so much better! It’s full of contrasting textures and is topped with a creamy peanut dressing.

Thai Salad with Coconut Peanut Dressing is a salad lover’s dream! Packed with refreshing pineapple and crunchy peanuts, peppers, carrots, jicama and coconut all doused with the most AMAZING silky Peanut Coconut Dressing that I could drink by itself!

Peanut dressing being poured over a thai salad.

The BEST Thai Salad Recipe

For the last two years in Carlsbad (north San Diego), we virtually haven’t had a winter – I was sporting sandals all year round.  This year however, it’s been beautifully brisk and  I am embracing every see-my-breath-air-second.  I know our winter is nothing compared to all of you with snow but we will take any winter we can get!  

Kiwi has also been loving the change because it means she can play ball for longer (she easily overheats otherwise), or at least sleep with her ball without losing it to panting (see nap time HERE).  With all this actually-feels-like-winter weather, I’ve been craving (and posting) more comfort creamy, cheesy food but you know what I find equally as comforting and satisfying?….

A hearty salad loaded with texture and doused with multi-dimensional flavored creamy yogurt dressing, AKA Thai Salad with Peanut Coconut Dressing!

Every crunchy bite is packed with carrots, jicama, bell peppers, red cabbage and crunchy peanuts all balanced by sweet pineapple (is there anything better than ripe sweet pineapple?!) and lightly toasted coconut.

The already delectable salad components become even more delicious as they are showered with 5-minute blender dressing consisting of a silky coconut Greek yogurt base, whisked with peanut butter, red curry paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar and cilantro — so crazy good.  So good, in fact, this Peanut Coconut Dressing already earned its own post in September.  

So if you haven’t made it yet, now is the time. This is the salad because, to me, nothing  complements savory, nutty peanut butter better than sweet, refreshing pineapple (case in point HERE) — aside from chocolate.

Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing — hearty, creamy, crunchy satisfying and refreshing all at the same time = the best kind of comfort food!

A top view of Thai Salad with pineapples on top.

Thai Salad Ingredients

This Thai peanut salad is a breeze to make and is perfect for weekday lunches or dinners! Here’s what you’ll need to make the salad:

  • Peanut dressing: The Thai peanut salad dressing can be made in advance and enjoyed all week long! It’s made with yogurt, peanut butter, sweet chili sauce, curry paste, soy sauce, cilantro, and more!
  • Romaine lettuce: I love how crunchy romaine is but you can also use half romaine, half iceberg lettuce or your favorite spring mix.
  • Red cabbage: Crunchier than green cabbage and so colorful!
  • Pineapple: Use fresh pineapple for this Thai salad recipe, not canned.
  • Red bell pepper: I use red bell pepper because it is sweeter than other colors, but feel free to substitute for whatever color bell pepper you have on hand.
  • Matchstick carrots: You can buy matchstick carrots at the store, or you can shred carrots yourself at home.
  • Jicama: A super crunchy tuber that comes from Mexico. You should be able to find this ingredient at most major grocery stores. If your store doesn’t sell it, feel free to omit.
  • Green onions: Adds subtle onion flavor without overpowering the salad.
  • Roasted peanuts: You can buy roasted salted peanuts at the store, or you can roast raw peanuts at home.
  • Toasted coconut: To toast coconut, spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Thai Peanut Salad with chop sticks in a white bowl.

How to Make Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

This Thai peanut salad couldn’t be easier to make! Here are the basic steps:

  1. Make the dressing: Add the Thai salad dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Chop the veggies: Prep all the veggies as instructed in the recipe card below.
  3. Assemble the salad: Combine salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss salad with desired amount of peanut dressing.

Tips for Making Thai Peanut Salad

  • Adjust recipe as desired. All ingredients are guidelines. Add more or less according to taste — I love to add more pineapple!
  • Prep the Thai salad dressing first.  The Thai peanut salad dressing is best chilled – no one wants lukewarm dressing!  Plan on making the dressing earlier in the day and refrigerating it, or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving if you’re running low on time.
  • Don’t dress the salad.  Wait to drizzle the peanut dressing on the Thai salad until you’re ready to serve.  Don’t dress the entire salad unless you don’t expect leftovers because dressed salad will become soggy.  
  • Time saving tips.  You can use pre-chopped Romaine lettuce, pre-made matchstick carrots, roasted salted peanuts, and pre-chopped pineapple chunks at the store.
Thai Cabbage Salad with carrots and bell peppers on top.

Recipe Variations to Try

  • Leftover protein.  Add almost any leftover protein to the salad to instantly turn it into a complete lunch or dinner.
  • Use mango. Instead of fresh pineapple, try using fresh mango in this Thai salad.
  • Add other veggies. The peanut dressing pairs wonderfully with almost any veggie. Mix and match this salad as desired!

Can I Prep Thai Salad in Advance?

Partially, yes! This Thai salad requires a lot of chopping, but the good news is that you can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time for an easy recipe win that comes together in minutes. Store the veggies separately in the fridge and assemble your salad(s) when desired.

You can also blend up the Thai peanut salad dressing and refrigerate it for up to 1 week.

HOW LONG CAN Thai SALAD SIT OUT?

Thai Salad is best served right away once dressed with the peanut dressing.  The dressing is made with perishable yogurt, so it shouldn’t sit out any longer than two hours.   

Thai peanut salad dressing being poured over a salad.

DOES THIS SALAD KEEP WELL AS LEFTOVERS?

Thai peanut salad will last approximately 3 days in the refrigerator IF you don’t add the dressing directly to the salad. If you combine the salad and dressing before storing it in the fridge, it’ll become soggy. If you plan on storing leftovers, hold the dressing and store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. 

What to Serve with Thai Salad

This Thai cabbage salad pairs well with so many Asian-inspired recipes! Here are some of my favorites (not all are Thai recipes, but they all go well with this salad):

Thai Salad with chopstick taking a bite.

Looking for Easy Salad Recipes?

Asian Pineapple Salad with Coconut Peanut Dressing is a salad lover's dream! packed with refreshing pineapple and crunchy peanuts, peppers, carrots, jicama and coconut all doused with the most AMAZING silky Coconut Peanut Dressing that I could drink by itself!

Thai Salad with Coconut Peanut Dressing

Servings: 8 servings
Total Time: 20 mins
Prep Time: 20 mins

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Ingredients

1 recipe Peanut Coconut Dressing

Salad

  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh chopped pineapple
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup Matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup julienned jicama
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 3/4 cup toasted coconut *

Instructions

  • Prepare dressing according to directions and chill while you chop ingredients. Dressing is even better prepared and chilled a day in advance.
  • Combine salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss salad with desired amount of dressing OR if expecting leftovers, drizzle dressing on individual salad servings.

Notes

*To toast coconut, spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F degrees for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally and watching closely towards the end as coconut can burn quickly.
**All ingredients are guidelines – add more or less according to taste – I love to add more pineapple!

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14 Comments

  1. Natasha @ Salt and Lavender says

    This salad looks lovely. I have to admit I am super jealous of you California folks. Today was -19C when I woke up to go to work. I’d take your winter anytime haha. I have been making more fresh foods lately which are at least reminiscent of summer, I guess.

    • Jen says

      Hi Natasha 19 – brrrr! Yes, we are very spoiled here! Eating like its summer when you can’t control the weather is a great way to go! I hope it warms up for you so your fresh eating can match the weather!

  2. Suzanne says

    Made it. Ate it. LOVED it! Thank you!

    • Jen says

      YAY! so happy you loved it Suzanne, thank you!!!

  3. Amanda says

    SO good! I didn’t have coconut yogurt so I just used plain and then added some finely shredded organic coconut to the salad, along with some avocado. That dressing is amazing and this salad will definitely be a repeat in my house. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Amanda, I love your idea of adding finely shredded coconut to the salad and avocados – mmmmm! So happy you you loved enough for a repeat – yay! Thanks so much!!

  4. kazy says

    I haven’t made this yet but will be. Is this a side salad considering it’s serving 8 people?

    • Jen says

      I would consider it a side salad, especially because it doesn’t have chicken – but you could definitely make it a main salad with some rotisserie chicken and a some more lettuce, etc. – enjoy!

      • kazy says

        I’m looking for something meatless and since your increments are for 8 servings and there’s only 2 in my household, it should be big enough for a main course for about 2 days. Also I’ll probably add a side Thai rice dish to compliment the salad which should add more substance. Although the idea of adding chicken does call to me. Thanks. Love ALL your recipes.

        • Jen says

          Thank you so much Kazy, I love hearing you are enjoying my recipes! I hope you love this salad too!

          • kazy says

            I made it and I loved it and I’m on my last day today. It served 2 people for 3 days as a main course. I followed the directions exactly. No variations. This is a very healthy salad, very low in calories for those trying to maintain their weight or have over indulged and need to lose some. All those things considered made this a very rewarding experience. Thanks again Jen. You make some of the most amazingly tastiest dishes I’ve had the pleasure to eat. And I’ve only just begun.

          • Jen says

            Awesome Kazy, I’m so happy it was a hit and thank you for such kind words! I am thrilled you are enjoying my recipe so much!!!

  5. Cavelle Skanes says

    We absolutely loved this salad and dressing. It has a wow factor for sure. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome! I’m so pleased you loved it!

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