Anyone who’s eaten dinner at my house probably knows that I love Thai and Mexican food most. Those types of foods are what I’m most likely to make when I want something really tasty to serve. Thai curries and Mexican build-your-own taco or burrito bars are almost universally pleasing, too, so I make them a lot. They are filling, and you don’t even miss the meat. They aren’t one of those “weird” vegan meals like Miso-Glazed Eggplant with Tofu Ricotta or something (am I the only plant based eater who doesn’t like eggplant?).
This Thai salad is another non-chalant plant-based gem. It is bursting with fresh flavors and colors.
Kale, juicy sweet bell peppers, quinoa, crunchy cashews, hidden edamame, grated carrots, cilantro, green onions, and an amazing, bold sesame ginger garlic dressing drizzled over it all. Wow, can you even WAIT?!
While it makes a great side salad, I like it as a main-dish salad. I used quinoa in it specifically to make it more hearty and main-dishy.
Along with quinoa is edamame, which might be a bit intimidating if you’ve never bought it before. I have only bought it a few times myself, but whenever I do, I think, “I need to buy edamame more often!” It is so fun to eat out of the pods as a snack. For this recipe, though, save yourself some work and buy it pre-shelled. It looks like a bag of peas, but edamame is shaped more like a bean.
The quinoa, edamame and nuts add lots of protein to this salad, making it a “power salad” that will fill you up and keep you full for a while if you eat a hearty serving. You’ll feel so good after filling up on kale, bell peppers, carrots, cilantro, quinoa and edamame! It’s like a love letter to your body, but also a symphony in your mouth—a Thai symphony at that! It’s never been so easy to eat so much salad!
If you like Thai food, you’d also love these recipes:
This salad is bursting with nutrition and flavor! It is low-oil and high-DELICIOUS.
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce (or 2 TBSP if not low-sodium)
- 2 TBSP vinegar (white, rice, or apple cider)
- 2 TBSP maple syrup or honey
- 1 TBSP sesame oil
- 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger (or break off one thumb-sized piece of root)
- 3 TBSP olive oil or grapeseed oil (replace with aquafaba or water if you're accustomed to oil-free)
- juice of 1 lime (about 2 TBSP)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups shelled edamame (found in freezer section often near peas)
- 5 cups chopped baby kale
- 3 carrots
- 2 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
- 1 cup cilantro
- 3 green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
Start by cooking the quinoa. Combine 1 cup dry quinoa and 2 1/2 cups water in a pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and set timer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a food process or bullet and blend until smooth.
Cover frozen edamame with water in a bowl, and microwave 4 minutes until soft. Drain and process in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add to salad bowl.
Get chopping! Dice bell peppers or cut into julienne strips. Grate carrots (I like to put them in a food processor to speed things up). Chop green onions and cilantro. Cut kale into thin pieces and remove stiff stems.
When quinoa has absorbed all the water and is tender, drain any excess water (I don't usually have any), and pour into the salad bowl. The hot quinoa will slightly wilt the kale, making it easier to chew. Toss together with all the dressing and enjoy!
Keeps well in the fridge for 1-2 days, even with the dressing on it.
Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum’s Chopped Thai Salad.