Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe

Get ready for a vibrant and flavor-packed meal with this Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad recipe. This salad is a perfect blend of crunchy vegetables, nutty quinoa, and a tangy-sweet peanut dressing that ties all the flavors together nicely. It's a great way to balance your diet with protein-rich quinoa and veggies, all while enjoying the unique Thai flavors.

Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe

Photos of Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe

In case you are not familiar with some of the ingredients, quinoa is a grain that is rich in protein and fiber, commonly available in the grains section. Sriracha hot sauce and rice vinegar can be found in the Asian aisle, while matchstick carrots are usually in the produce section, but you can also make your own using a julienne peeler. If you can't find agave nectar, honey is a good substitute.

Ingredients for Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

Agave nectar: A natural sweetener derived from the agave plant, often used in place of sugar or honey.

Soy Sauce: A common Asian condiment that adds a salty, umami flavor to dishes.

Creamy peanut butter: Used as the base of the dressing, it contributes a creamy texture and nutty flavor.

Rice vinegar: It lends a tangy taste to the dressing.

Lime juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice can make all the difference in your dressing.

Garlic cloves: Essential in many dishes for their distinctive flavor.

Sriracha hot sauce: Adds a spicy kick to the dressing.

Sesame oil: It adds a wonderful, rich aroma to the dressing.

Ground ginger: A spice that gives a warm, spicy-sweet flavor.

Onion powder: Adds a quick and easy burst of flavor.

Quinoa: A super grain, high in protein and fiber.

Red cabbage: Adds a crunch and vibrant color to the salad.

Matchstick carrots: Adds sweetness and crunch to the salad.

Bean sprouts: Gives the salad a fresh and crisp texture.

Cucumber: It provides a refreshing crunch.

Green onions: They have a mild flavor and add a pop of color.

Peanuts: Adds a nice crunch and pair well with the peanut dressing.

Cilantro: Used as a garnish, it lends a fresh and citrusy flavor.

One reader, Aurora Showalter says:

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This Thai peanut quinoa salad recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are a delightful fusion of sweet, savory, and spicy. The dressing is the star of the show, and the combination of crunchy veggies and quinoa makes it a wholesome and satisfying meal. I can't get enough of it!

Aurora Showalter

Techniques Required for Making Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

How to prepare the dressing: Combine the agave, soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, hot sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and onion powder in a blender and puree for 30 seconds until emulsified. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

How to prepare the quinoa: Follow the directions listed on the package to cook the quinoa.

How to assemble the salad: Layer the cooked quinoa, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, green onions, and peanuts, then garnish with plenty of cilantro.

How to garnish and serve: Drizzle each serving with dressing to taste, serve, and enjoy!

How To Make Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

This Thai peanut quinoa salad is full of vibrant veggies, topped with creamy agave nectar and peanut butter dressing, for a healthy and flavorful meal.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



For Dressing:

  • ½cupagave nectar
  • ½cupsoy sauce,low-sodium
  • ½cupcreamy peanut butter
  • ¼cuprice vinegar
  • ¼cuplime juice,fresh, (about 3 limes)
  • 4garlic cloves,minced
  • 2tbspSriracha hot sauce,or to taste
  • 4tspsesame oil
  • 2tspground ginger
  • 2tsponion powder

For Salad:

  • 2cupsdry quinoa
  • 3cupsred cabbage,shredded
  • 2cupsmatchstick carrots
  • 8ozbean sprouts
  • 1cucumber,peeled, diced
  • 4green onions,chopped
  • 1cuppeanuts,dry roasted, chopped, unsalted or lightly salted
  • 1cupcilantro,fresh, long stems removed

For Optional Add-ins:

  • chicken,cooked
  • pork,cooked
  • shrimp,cooked
  • tofu,cooked


  1. Combine the agave, soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, hot sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and onion powder in a blender and puree for 30 seconds, until emulsified. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  2. Prepare the quinoa according to directions listed on package.

To Assemble:

  1. Layer the cooked quinoa, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, green onions, and peanuts, then garnish with plenty of cilantro.

  2. Drizzle each serving with dressing to taste, serve, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 657.86kcal
  • Fat: 29.98g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.68g
  • Trans Fat: 0.02g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.68g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.81g
  • Carbohydrates: 81.94g
  • Fiber: 12.31g
  • Sugar: 29.79g
  • Protein: 23.84g
  • Sodium: 1350.01mg
  • Calcium: 131.70mg
  • Potassium: 1155.40mg
  • Iron: 5.76mg
  • Vitamin A: 382.52µg
  • Vitamin C: 44.11mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Perfecting Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

When preparing the quinoa, make sure to rinse it thoroughly under cold water before cooking. This helps to remove the natural coating of saponins, which can give the quinoa a bitter taste if not properly rinsed off. Use a fine mesh strainer to ensure none of the grains escape during the rinsing process. This will result in a fluffier and more flavorful base for your Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Quinoa Salad Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the dressing and chop the vegetables in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot wonder: Cook the quinoa in the same pot as the other ingredients to minimize cleanup.

Batch cooking: Make a larger portion and store the leftovers for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

Efficient chopping: Use a food processor to quickly chop the cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables.

Ready-to-eat options: Consider using pre-cooked proteins like rotisserie chicken or pre-marinated tofu for a time-saving shortcut.

Organized workspace: Set up your ingredients and tools in an organized manner to work more efficiently.

Multi-task: While the quinoa is cooking, use that time to prepare the vegetables and dressing to save time.

Substitute Ingredients For Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe

  • agave nectar - Substitute with honey: Honey can provide a similar level of sweetness and viscosity to agave nectar, while also adding a distinct flavor to the dressing.

  • soy sauce - Substitute with tamari: Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce and has a similar umami-rich flavor, making it a suitable substitute in the dressing.

  • creamy peanut butter - Substitute with almond butter: Almond butter can offer a creamy texture and nutty flavor similar to peanut butter, providing a delicious alternative in the dressing.

  • rice vinegar - Substitute with apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can provide a slightly sweet and tangy flavor similar to rice vinegar, making it a suitable substitute in the dressing.

  • lime juice - Substitute with lemon juice: Lemon juice can offer a similar level of acidity and citrusy flavor to lime juice, providing a suitable alternative in the dressing.

  • garlic cloves - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic cloves, providing a convenient alternative in the dressing.

  • sriracha hot sauce - Substitute with chili garlic sauce: Chili garlic sauce can offer a similar level of heat and flavor to sriracha, making it a suitable substitute in the dressing.

  • sesame oil - Substitute with peanut oil: Peanut oil can provide a nutty flavor similar to sesame oil, making it a suitable substitute in the dressing.

  • ground ginger - Substitute with fresh grated ginger: Fresh grated ginger can offer a more intense and aromatic flavor compared to ground ginger, providing a suitable alternative in the dressing.

  • onion powder - Substitute with finely chopped shallots: Finely chopped shallots can provide a similar onion flavor to onion powder, making it a suitable substitute in the dressing.

  • dry quinoa - Substitute with bulgur: Bulgur can offer a similar nutty flavor and texture to quinoa, making it a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • red cabbage - Substitute with green cabbage: Green cabbage can provide a similar crunchy texture and mild flavor to red cabbage, making it a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • matchstick carrots - Substitute with julienned bell peppers: Julienned bell peppers can offer a similar crunch and vibrant color to matchstick carrots, making them a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • bean sprouts - Substitute with snow pea shoots: Snow pea shoots can provide a similar crisp texture and mild flavor to bean sprouts, making them a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • cucumber - Substitute with zucchini: Zucchini can offer a similar refreshing crunch and mild flavor to cucumbers, making it a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • green onions - Substitute with chives: Chives can provide a similar mild onion flavor and visual appeal to green onions, making them a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • peanuts - Substitute with cashews: Cashews can offer a similar creamy texture and nutty flavor to peanuts, making them a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • cilantro - Substitute with flat-leaf parsley: Flat-leaf parsley can provide a similar fresh and herbaceous flavor to cilantro, making it a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • chicken - Substitute with tofu: Tofu can offer a protein-rich alternative to chicken, providing a vegetarian option for the salad.

  • pork - Substitute with tempeh: Tempeh can provide a meaty texture and savory flavor similar to pork, making it a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • shrimp - Substitute with scallops: Scallops can offer a similar delicate texture and seafood flavor to shrimp, making them a suitable substitute in the salad.

  • tofu - Substitute with edamame: Edamame can provide a similar protein-rich and creamy texture to tofu, making it a suitable substitute in the salad.

Presentation Tips for a Stunning Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the quinoa salad in a visually appealing manner, ensuring each component is showcased beautifully on the plate.

  2. Incorporate color contrast: Integrate vibrant and colorful ingredients such as red cabbage, green onions, and cilantro to create an eye-catching and visually stimulating dish.

  3. Utilize garnishes: Sprinkle crushed peanuts and fresh cilantro on top of the salad to add texture and a pop of color, enhancing the overall presentation.

  4. Emphasize balance and symmetry: Arrange the components in a balanced and symmetrical manner, creating a visually pleasing composition that reflects precision and attention to detail.

  5. Highlight the dressing: Drizzle the flavorful Thai peanut dressing in an artistic manner, ensuring it complements the salad while adding a touch of sophistication to the presentation.

  6. Consider the plate selection: Choose a plate that complements the vibrant colors of the salad and enhances the overall visual appeal of the dish.

  7. Incorporate optional protein: If including optional proteins such as chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu, ensure they are cooked and presented in a visually appealing manner, adding an element of sophistication to the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

  • Blender: A versatile kitchen appliance used for pureeing, blending, and emulsifying ingredients. It's perfect for creating smooth dressings and sauces.

  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a handle and a lid, ideal for cooking quinoa and preparing dressings or sauces.

  • Mixing bowl: Essential for combining and tossing the salad ingredients together, ensuring even distribution of flavors.

  • Chef's knife: A sharp, multipurpose knife used for chopping vegetables, herbs, and other salad ingredients.

  • Cutting board: Provides a stable surface for chopping and preparing ingredients, preventing damage to countertops and ensuring safety during food preparation.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Necessary for accurately measuring the ingredients for the dressing and salad components.

  • Whisk: Used for blending and emulsifying the dressing ingredients, ensuring a smooth and well-combined texture.

  • Strainer: Useful for rinsing and draining the quinoa before cooking to remove any excess starch.

  • Serving bowl: A large, attractive bowl for presenting the finished Thai peanut quinoa salad, ready to be enjoyed.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

  • This thai peanut quinoa salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. The flavors will meld together and intensify over time, making it a perfect make-ahead meal or side dish.
  • If you plan to store the salad for more than a day, it's best to keep the dressing separate and add it just before serving to prevent the quinoa and vegetables from becoming soggy.
  • To keep the peanuts crunchy, store them separately in a small airtight container at room temperature and add them to the salad just before serving.
  • If you want to freeze the salad, it's best to do so without the dressing and peanuts. Allow the cooked quinoa to cool completely before placing it in a freezer-safe container. You can also freeze the chopped vegetables separately.
  • When ready to serve, thaw the quinoa and vegetables in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, fluff the quinoa with a fork and toss the salad together with the dressing and peanuts.
  • The dressing can be stored separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If the dressing thickens or separates, simply give it a good whisk or shake before using.

How To Reheat Leftover Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

  • To reheat leftover thai peanut quinoa salad, start by placing the desired amount of salad in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to prevent the quinoa from drying out during the reheating process.
  • Microwave the salad on high power for 1-2 minutes, or until it reaches your desired temperature. Be sure to stir the salad halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating throughout.
  • If you prefer a crunchier texture for your cabbage and carrots, you can opt to reheat the quinoa separately and then mix it with the fresh, crisp vegetables before serving.
  • For a more evenly heated salad, you can also reheat it in a skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of sesame oil or water to the pan to prevent sticking and help steam the quinoa. Stir the salad frequently until it is heated through, which should take about 3-5 minutes.
  • If you have any leftover chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu that you'd like to add to your reheated salad, simply heat them up separately and mix them in with the warm quinoa and fresh vegetables.
  • To maintain the best texture and flavor of your leftover thai peanut quinoa salad, be sure to store the dressing separately from the salad components. When you're ready to reheat and serve, drizzle the dressing over the warm salad and toss to combine.
  • If you find that your reheated salad is a bit dry, you can add a splash of lime juice or a dollop of peanut butter to help moisten it and enhance the flavors.

Is Making Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad at Home Cost-Effective?

This Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as quinoa, cabbage, carrots, and peanuts, are affordable and readily available. The optional add-ins like chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu can be adjusted based on budget and preference. The dressing ingredients are also commonly found in most kitchens, making this recipe budget-friendly. The overall verdict for this recipe is 9/10 for its affordability and nutritional value. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20-$25, making it a wallet-friendly and satisfying meal option.

Is This Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Healthy?

This Thai peanut quinoa salad recipe is a nutritious and flavorful dish that offers several health benefits:

  • Quinoa is a protein-rich pseudocereal that provides essential amino acids, fiber, and minerals like iron and magnesium.
  • The colorful vegetables, such as red cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, and cucumber, are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, which support overall health and digestion.
  • The dressing contains healthy fats from peanut butter and sesame oil, which can help with nutrient absorption and satiety.

However, there are a few aspects of the recipe that could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • The dressing contains a significant amount of agave nectar and soy sauce, which are high in sugar and sodium, respectively. Reducing these ingredients and replacing them with healthier alternatives, such as honey or coconut aminos, could help balance the flavors while minimizing the negative health impacts.
  • The recipe calls for a cup of peanuts, which, while nutritious, are also high in calories. Reducing the amount of peanuts or replacing some with other protein sources, like edamame or tofu, could help maintain the protein content while lowering the overall calorie count.

To further enhance the nutritional value of this salad, consider the following suggestions:

  • Incorporate a wider variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, snap peas, or radishes, to increase the diversity of vitamins and minerals
  • Add a serving of lean protein, like grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu, to make the salad a complete meal
  • Experiment with different types of quinoa, such as red or black quinoa, to vary the texture and nutrient profile
  • Use fresh herbs, like Thai basil or mint, to add bright, fresh flavors without relying on excessive amounts of salt or sugar in the dressing

Editor's Opinion on the Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe

This Thai peanut quinoa salad recipe is a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The dressing's balance of sweet, savory, and spicy notes complements the nutty quinoa and crunchy vegetables. The optional protein add-ins offer versatility, making it suitable for various dietary preferences. The vibrant colors and fresh ingredients make for an enticing presentation. Overall, this recipe is a delightful fusion of Thai-inspired ingredients and wholesome quinoa, perfect for a refreshing and satisfying meal.

Enhance Your Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Grilled Pineapple with Chili Lime Glaze: Grill the pineapple slices and brush with a spicy chili lime glaze for a sweet and tangy side dish that pairs perfectly with the Thai peanut quinoa salad.
Coconut Curry Chicken Skewers: Marinate chicken in a flavorful coconut curry sauce, then skewer and grill for a delicious and aromatic side dish to accompany the Thai peanut quinoa salad.
Mango Avocado Salsa: Combine ripe mango, creamy avocado, and zesty lime juice for a refreshing and tropical salsa that adds a burst of flavor to the Thai peanut quinoa salad.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

Spicy Beef Stir-Fry: This spicy beef stir-fry is a quick and easy dish that packs a punch of flavor. The tender beef is cooked with a variety of vegetables and a spicy sauce, creating a delicious and satisfying meal.
Mango Coconut Chicken Curry: This mango coconut chicken curry is a creamy and flavorful dish that combines tender chicken with sweet mango and creamy coconut milk. It's a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowl: This roasted vegetable quinoa bowl is a healthy and satisfying meal that's packed with flavor. The roasted vegetables add a delicious smoky flavor to the quinoa, making it a perfect dish for lunch or dinner.
Berry Chia Seed Pudding: This berry chia seed pudding is a healthy and delicious dessert that's perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. The chia seeds create a creamy and pudding-like texture, while the berries add a burst of natural sweetness.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a delectable appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a crowd-pleasing starter.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp: Coat succulent shrimp in a crispy coconut breading and fry until golden brown. Serve with a tangy dipping sauce for a tropical twist on a classic appetizer.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and decadent texture will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Berry Parfait: Layered with creamy yogurt, fresh berries, and crunchy granola, this berry parfait is a delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavors. It's a light and refreshing dessert option for any occasion.

Why trust this Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe:

This recipe offers a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, creating a delightful fusion of Thai and quinoa cuisine. The dressing, featuring creamy peanut butter and soy sauce, delivers a rich umami taste, while the vibrant mix of red cabbage, matchstick carrots, and cucumber provides a refreshing crunch. The addition of bean sprouts and peanuts offers a satisfying nuttiness, and the optional protein add-ins promise versatility. With a well-balanced dressing and a colorful array of fresh ingredients, this recipe guarantees a delightful and nourishing dining experience.

Share your thoughts and experiences making this Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad in the Recipe Sharing forum section. Let's discuss any variations or tips you have for this tasty and healthy dish!
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can definitely make this Thai peanut quinoa salad ahead of time. The flavors actually meld together even better after a few hours, so it's a great dish to prepare in advance.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Absolutely! You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using tamari instead of soy sauce. Just ensure that the other ingredients you use are also gluten-free.
Can I add protein to this salad?
Of course! This salad is versatile, and you can add your choice of protein such as grilled chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu to make it a complete meal.
How long will the dressing last in the refrigerator?
The dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just give it a good stir before using it as the ingredients may separate a bit.
Can I use a different type of nut butter?
Yes, you can use a different nut butter if you prefer. Almond butter or cashew butter would also work well in this recipe.

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