Thai Peanut Salad — Eat the RAINBOW with this EASY, healthy salad that’s ready in 20 minutes!! Juicy chicken and crisp vegetables are tossed in the BEST PEANUT SALAD DRESSING ever!!
Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
This Thai peanut salad is easy, ready in 20 minutes, healthy, and packed with so many different flavors and textures. Just looking at it makes me smile because it feels like I’m eating the rainbow.
And I love peanut sauce. Always have, always will.
Peanut sauce makes everything taste amazing including this Thai peanut chicken salad that’s loaded with veggies and topped with the heavenly sauce. It’s is so easy to make at home, takes two minutes to whisk together, is far more cost-effective than small store-bought jars, and you control the ingredients.
I adapted the peanut sauce portion of today’s recipe from my Peanut Chicken with Peanut Noodles.
The salad has crispy sugar snap peas, bell peppers, crunchy carrots, and salty peanuts on top of hearty greens and red cabbage with tender, sesame-scented chicken.
Cilantro and green onions add another layer of flavor that complements the peanut sauce which is flavored with sesame oil for authenticity, honey, apple cider vinegar, and ginger.
I broke the recipe for Thai chicken salad with peanut dressing into three parts: peanut sauce, chicken, and salad ingredients.
Thai Peanut Salad Ingredients
For the salad itself, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Chicken breasts
- Romaine lettuce or kale
- Sugar snap peas
- Red bell pepper
- Red cabbage
- Green onion
- Fresh cilantro
And to make the creamy Thai peanut salad dressing, you’ll need:
- Creamy peanut butter
- Sesame oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Ground ginger
- Salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
How to Make Thai Peanut Salad
The great thing about this Thai peanut dressing salad is that you can prep the individual components ahead of time and toss everything together throughout the week, or assemble the whole dish to enjoy immediately.
Here’s how the Thai peanut chicken salad is made:
- Make the Thai peanut dressing for the salad: It’s as quick and easy as whisking together the dressing ingredients.
- Cook the chicken: Season and cook in an oiled skillet. I dice my chicken into 1-inch chunks so that they cook quicker and therefore have less chance of drying out around the edges.
- Assemble the salad: Toss everything together. Add as much dressing as you like!
Thai Chicken Salad Recipe Variations
This is a simple but flavorful salad recipe that you can tweak as you see fit. Here are some options:
- Veggies: Add extra veggies or substitute any you don’t like or don’t have. The Thai peanut salad dressing pairs well with pretty much any vegetable!
- Chicken: Substitute boneless chicken thighs or replace with tofu. If using tofu, I recommend grilling it or cooking it in the mixture of olive and sesame oils until crispy on the outside.
- Peanut dressing: Replace a teaspoon or two of the sesame oil with toasted sesame oil (careful, it’s potent!), use fresh ginger instead of ground, and likewise you can also substitute the fresh garlic with ground.
Can This Recipe Be Prepared in Advance?
Yes! The peanut salad dressing lasts for at least two weeks in the fridge, the chicken can be cooked up to four days in advance, and the veggies can be chopped and stored in separate containers for about a week.
Store everything separately in the fridge, then assemble when you’re ready to eat! The salad is great cold or hot.
Tips for the Best Thai Peanut Salad
Feel free to mix and match the veggies in this Thai chicken salad to use up what you have on hand, but I wouldn’t alter the peanut sauce recipe because it’s perfect as-is.
You likely won’t need all of it for the salad and extra will keep for a week in the fridge.
The chicken is straightforward easy-peasy, and if you don’t have every single ingredient for the salad, don’t sweat it. Omit or improvise with what you do have.
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Peanut Salad Dressing
- heaping 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed, optional
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 to 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 4 cups romaine lettuce or kale (or your favorite greens)
- 1 cup sugar snap peas (snow peas may be substituted)
- 1 cup diced red bell peppers
- 1 cup red cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup peanuts, roughly chopped if desired (I used honey-roasted peanuts)
- 1 green onion, sliced into thin rounds
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cilantro, finely minced
Peanut Salad Dressing
- To a medium bowl add all ingredients and whisk to combine until smooth and incorporated.
- Taste, check for seasoning and flavor balance, and make any necessary adjustments (i.e. more honey, more peanut butter, more salt, more sesame oil, etc.). I like my sauce on the thicker side but you can add more vinegar/honey to thin it if desired; set aside.
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, sesame oil, chicken, evenly season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces.
- Remove skillet from the heat and allow chicken to cool in pan while you assemble the salad.
- To a large platter or bowl, add all ingredients plus the chicken and any cooking juices, and evenly drizzle with peanut sauce, to taste.
You likely won’t need all of the peanut sauce. Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week. Salad is best served fresh.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 811Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 1732mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 8gSugar: 26gProtein: 57g
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