Thai Quinoa Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing

This easy Thai Quinoa Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing is a great light Asian-inspired dinner, meal prep lunch, or crowd-pleasing side dish recipe for picnics and parties! Loaded with veggies, fresh cilantro and drizzled with the best Asian peanut dressing! It can be eaten cold! Gluten-free, dairy-free and can easily be made vegan!  #saladrecipes #mealpreprecipes #thaisalad #cleaneating #quinoasalad

This easy Thai Quinoa Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing is a great light Asian-inspired dinner, meal prep lunch, or crowd-pleasing side dish recipe for picnics and parties! Gluten-free, dairy-free and can easily be made vegan! 

overhead shot of a healthy Thai Quinoa Salad drizzled with creamy peanut dressing

Add this Thai Quinoa Salad recipe to your meal prep rut!

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food 👵🏻. Words of wisdom, I mostly agree with…But there are exceptions – like quinoa! A superfood I seriously can’t do without anymore, especially when it comes to putting together meal prep lunches!

Lunch for me is mostly salads as those don’t weigh me down and I don’t feel like having to nap for 2 hours afterward. Now, eating salad as a main can be a pretty boring affair. With this quinoa salad recipe, I was going to try and get as many flavors packed in as possible! The result is a filling salad that is incredibly colorful and fun to eat with all those different, exciting textures!

There’s just so much goodness in here: carrots, scallions, red cabbage, quinoa, cilantro, peanuts, red pepper, and more. Prepping all the veggies may take a little bit of time but it is SO WORTH IT! I DEFINITELY feel like this is a “no-nap-needed” Power Salad that will keep you satisfied until dinner!

The crunchy fresh veggies, the nutty quinoa, and the creamy dreamy peanut dressing all meld together perfectly and somehow the salad just works fantastically! Plus it is super filling so you can absolutely have it as a main! If you want to amp up the protein, or are just really really hungry, add some chopped chicken, edamame or chickpeas.

I also love that this quinoa salad can easily be made vegan by using maple syrup instead of honey in the dressing.

side view of a bowl with Asian Quinoa Salad with chopped veggies drizzled with a creamy Thai Peanut Dressing

This Asian-inspired quinoa salad is a fantastic make-ahead dish to prepare as a healthy office lunch or light weeknight dinner, but let nothing hold you back from serving it as a side dish with some grilled chicken or broiled or glazed salmon.

overhead shot of ingredients needed for making Thai quinoa salad recipe

 

 Creamy Thai Peanut Dressing – my new OBSESSION!

So I know that quinoa salad is not exactly a classic Asian salad. I still named it Thai Salad – not only because it feels fresh and light like all Asian salads but also because of the allover Asian flavor profile.

The Asian feel mostly comes from the creamy peanut butter dressing that features classic Thai cuisine ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, grated ginger, and Sriracha. Can I just say that it is absolutely TO DIE FOR? I could put in on everything and I do recommend you make a big batch of find some cool ways to incorporate it into your meals throughout the week.

creamy dairy-free Thai peanut dressing being stirred in a glass bowl

How to make Thai Quinoa Salad:

 

picture collage demonstrating how to cook quinoa perfectly

How to cook quinoa perfectly:

Prep: Rinse the quinoa: Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running cold water for about 30 seconds to a minute. Drain it well. This step is important as it removes any bitterness on the outside of the quinoa

Step 1 & 2 – In a medium saucepan, add quinoa and cover with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer on low heat and cover for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.

Step 3 – Add to a large mixing bowl, fluff with a fork and let cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

How to make Creamy Peanut Dressing:

picture collage demonstrating how to make creamy peanut dressing in a small bowl

Step 4 – In a medium bowl, add peanut butter and honey. Microwave 30 seconds to soften – it will be easier to work with.

Step 5 & 6  – Add soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, grated ginger, and Sriracha, if using.

picture collage showing how creamy dairy-free Thai peanut dressing should be stirred with hot water until smooth

Step 7 & 8Whisk to combine. The texture will be very thick.

Step 9 – Gradually stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach a smooth consistency you can easily drizzle (I used about 3 1/2 tablespoons)

How to assemble the quinoa salad:

picture collage demonstrating how to mix chopped vegetables, peanut dressing and cooked quinoa for making Asian quinoa salad

Step 9  – Once quinoa has cooled, add bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, scallions, cilantro and half of the peanuts to the bowl. Toss to combine.

Step 10 & 11Add 2/3rd of the sauce to the salad, reserving about 1/3 cup for serving. Toss again. To serve, drizzle each plate with reserved dressing, top with remaining peanuts, a few cilantro leaves, and a lime wedge. Enjoy!

Thai Quinoa Salad with Creamy Asian Peanut Dressing packed into glass meal prep containers

How to make this quinoa salad recipe for meal prep?

This is a great easy salad recipe to make in advance if you’re entertaining a big crowd or you simply want something healthy yet filling to bring in your lunchbox to work or school. You can prep the quinoa salad and store the peanut dressing on the side if you want to eat it throughout the week!

For meal prep, prepare the recipe as written until step 3 and pack the reserved dressing + other toppings separately.

 Can I make my quinoa in advance and keep it in the fridge? 

Yes! Properly stored, cooked quinoa will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. To maximize the shelf life of cooked quinoa, refrigerate the cooled quinoa in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags.

close-up of a bowl of Thai Quinoa Salad decorated with lime slices and cilantro and drizzled with Peanut Dressing

Tips for making this Thai Quinoa Salad recipe:

  • This salad is actually better the next day when it has had time to rest in the fridge and all the flavors have developed
  • Other veggies that would taste great in this salad: edamame, avocado, and mango. I recommend you add the avocado and mango when you’re ready to eat or they will get mushy.
  • Up the protein by adding some chopped chicken, edamame or chickpeas.
  • Make this quinoa salad recipe vegan by using maple syrup instead of honey.
overhead shot of a healthy Thai Quinoa Salad drizzled with creamy peanut dressing
5 from 5 votes
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Thai Quinoa Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing

This easy Thai Quinoa Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing is a great light Asian-inspired dinner, meal prep lunch, or crowd-pleasing side dish recipe for picnics and parties! Gluten-free, dairy-free and can easily be made vegan! 

Course Appetizer, lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Keyword Asian salad recipe, quinoa salad recipe, thai salad with peanut dressing
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 411 kcal
Author Marie

Ingredients

Salad

  • 3/4 cup quinoa - uncooked
  • red bell pepper diced
  • 3 cups purple cabbage thinly shredded
  • cup carrots about 2 carrots, shredded (packed cup)
  • 1/3 cup scallions chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro packed cup + more for serving
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 lime cut into 4 wedges, to serve

Creamy Peanut Dressing

  • 1/3  cup  creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • tbsp less sodium soy sauce - tamari for gluten-free
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • tsp grated ginger
  • tsp  Sriracha sauce - optional more or less to taste
  • Hot water to thin

Instructions

For the quinoa:

  1. Rinse the quinoa: Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running cold water for about 30 seconds to a minute. Drain it well. This step is important as it removes any bitterness on the outside of the quinoa.

  2.  In a medium saucepan, add quinoa and cover with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer on low heat and cover for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Add to a large mixing bowl, fluff with a fork and let cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

For the dressing:

  1. In a medium bowl, add peanut butter and honey. Microwave 30 seconds to soften – it will be easier to work with. Then add soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, grated ginger and Sriracha if using and whisk to combine. The texture will be very thick. Gradually stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach a smooth consistency you can easily drizzle (I used about 3 1/2 tablespoons)

For the salad:

  1. Once quinoa has cooled, add bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, scallions, cilantro and half of the peanuts to the bowl. Toss to combine. Add 2/3rd of the sauce to the salad, reserving about 1/3 cup for serving. Toss again.

  2. To serve, drizzle each plate with reserved dressing, top with remaining peanuts, a few cilantro leaves and a lime wedge. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • This salad is actually better the next day when it has had time to rest in the fridge and all the flavors have developed
  • Other veggies that would taste great in this salad: edamame, avocado, and mango. I recommend you add the avocado and mango when you’re ready to eat or they will get mushy.
  • Make this quinoa salad recipe vegan by using maple syrup instead of honey.
Nutrition Facts
Thai Quinoa Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing
Amount Per Serving (1 /4)
Calories 411 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Sodium 498mg 21%
Potassium 826mg 24%
Total Carbohydrates 42g 14%
Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
Sugars 9g
Protein 16g 32%
Vitamin A 143.9%
Vitamin C 103.8%
Calcium 9.4%
Iron 18.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Asian Quinoa Salad Recipe with Thai Peanut Dressing, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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All Seasons Recipes Appetizers Clean Eating Dairy Free Main Dishes Meal Prep Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Refined Sugar Free Salads Side dishes Spring Recipes Summer Recipes Vegetarian
5 Comments
  1. That creamy peanut dressing looks so amazing! So thick and full of flavor – I can taste it now! I”m making this dish tonight and already know it’ll be a hit!

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