Crunchy, colorful and full of flavor. This crisp Thai-inspired salad tossed in a mildly spicy peanut dressing is a total powerhouse of nutrition. Carrots, snow peas, cabbage, quinoa — it’s going to be your new salad obsession.
You can instantly add more oomph with grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp, but it’s just as satisfying and filling without any animal protein added. Vegetarians might already know that quinoa and peanut butter are both excellent sources of plant-based protein. (Quinoa brings about 8 grams of protein per cup, and peanut butter brings about 8 grams per two tablespoons.)
This superfood salad is addictive! The peanut sauce is similar to that served at your favorite Thai restaurant with chicken satay or with fresh spring rolls, but it’s easy to whip up with ingredients common at your everyday supermarket. You’ll want to put it on everything!
Note to vegans: Most peanut butters are just a mix of nuts, oil, and salt, but if you’re looking to make truly vegan, double check your peanut butter’s ingredients list. Also, double check your Hoisin sauce. PETA lists Hoisin as a vegan condiment, but that’s not to say some brands out there might not slip in unapproved ingredients.
Vegan Thai-inspired salad with peanut dressing
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup snow peas, halved
- 1 cup carrot matchsticks
- 1/4 cup mandarin oranges, drained
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup jalapeños (optional)
- 1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and salted
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated back pepper
For the sauce
- 2/3 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
- 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp Sriracha
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- In a mesh colander, add quinoa and run under faucet to rinse. Transfer rinsed quinoa to pot and add 1 1/2 cups of water. On medium heat, bring the pot to a low boil, then reduce the heat and let quinoa simmer until it’s absorbed all of the water in the pot. Cover with lid, and remove from heat. After 5 minutes, fluff with fork. Let cool for at meat 10 minutes.
- Make the peanut sauce by mixing together all ingredients — minus half the water — in a small bowl. (Peanut butter can be too resistant for some whisks. If a whisk isn’t doing the job as well as you would like, mix with a fork.) If sauce is too thick, add remaining water.
- In a large serving bowl, add all vegetables, mandarins, and quinoa. Lightly season with black pepper.
- When ready to serve, toss with dressing and sprinkle with peanuts.
Note: Salad can be tossed in dressing and stored in the fridge, but to avoid the peanuts getting mushy, garnish just before serving.