This Thai Quinoa Salad is a perfect side for a cook-out or picnic — it’s refreshing, packed full of flavor, and can easily be made ahead of time!
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Salad season is officially here and I’m on a constant journey to discover and develop new takes on salads that won’t leave you hungry and wanting more. You know the type — those salads filled with lots and lots of chewy greens that are oh so delicious and refreshing while eating them but leave you wanting more food two hours later.
It’s one of the main reasons I love to make this Thai Quinoa Salad for lunch. Not only are you getting a protein boost from the quinoa, but you are also getting it from the peanut butter in its addictive dressing!
It’s no secret I love peanut butter. Not only is it delicious and full of protein but it’s also super versatile! I can top my morning toast with it, swirl it into oatmeal, throw it into a smoothie or, like I did here, make a salad dressing out of it! This peanut butter dressing is savory and tangy and hits all the right notes to balance out the vegetables and herbs in this salad.
The peanut butter is definitely the star ingredient that comes through in the dressing with the ginger giving an extra bite while the rest of the ingredients are more nuanced to create a complex dressing worth drizzling on almost any type of vegetable.
What’s Needed for Thai Quinoa Salad?
To make the Thai quinoa salad itself, you’ll need the following:
- Red cabbage
- Sweet red pepper
- Shredded carrot
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped chives
- Chopped peanuts
And to make the peanut butter salad dressing, you’ll need:
- Peanut butter
- Soy sauce
- Lime juice
- Fresh ginger
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Red pepper flakes
How to Make Thai Quinoa Salad
I’ve given detailed instructions on how to make this Thai salad with peanut dressing in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps for making this quinoa salad recipe:
- Whisk together the peanut ginger dressing and chill until ready to use.
- Then, cook the quinoa until fluffy.
- Once the quinoa is cool, toss with the cabbage, pepper, carrots, and herbs.
- Drizzle with peanut butter salad dressing and garnish with chopped peanuts.
Can I Prep Thai Quinoa Salad in Advance?
If you’d like, you can make the quinoa ahead of time so you just have to whisk the dressing together and chop the veggies when throwing this Thai Quinoa Salad together. You could also make the whole thing in advance and store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
Can This Thai Salad Be Made Vegan?
Very easily! To make this Thai quinoa salad vegan, use maple syrup instead of honey.
Tips for Making Thai Quinoa Salad
I prefer using an all-natural peanut butter to make the peanut ginger dressing. If you use a “regular” peanut butter like Skippy you may not need to add any honey to the dressing.
Because peanut butter has so much natural oil in it already, I keep the sesame oil in the salad dressing optional. Sesame oil is delicious, but it’s also expensive so use it if you already have it on hand but don’t worry about it otherwise.
Also, I like just drizzling the peanut ginger dressing over the top when serving so I get big bites of the dressing, but you are welcome to mix it all together if you’d prefer.
Want More Filling Salad Recipes?
- Antipasto Salad with Pepperoni-Spiced Roasted Carrots
- Farro Salad with Pistachios, Apricots, and Herbs
- Roasted Cauliflower Couscous Salad
- Tomato & Cherry Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Vegan Waldorf Wheatberry Salad
This Thai Quinoa Salad is a perfect side for a cook-out or picnic — it's refreshing, packed full of flavor, and can easily be made ahead of time!
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 small head of red cabbage , chopped
- 1 red sweet pepper , thinly sliced
- 1 shredded carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp chopped chives
- chopped peanuts , for serving
Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Your final dressing should be easy to drizzle but not watery. If the dressing is too thick, add 1 tsp of water at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Add 2 cups of water and quinoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn heat down to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff. Set aside to cool.
Once the quinoa is cooled, toss it with cabbage, sweet pepper, carrot, cilantro, and chives.
Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with the dressing. Top with chopped peanuts and serve right away.