This simple Thai Quinoa Salad is peppered with a rainbow of veggies and tossed in a creamy almond butter sauce! Tastes like pad thai, but in salad form!
After spending a few weeks in Thailand last fall, I came home with a new found obsession with all things Thai-flavored.
Visiting Thailand had always been a dream of mine. I'd always loved the food, but there was something about the culture that drew me there. The Buddhist way of life just resonates with me and I felt this intense pull to travel there. And so I hopped on a plane (all by myself!) and went.
I was lucky enough to spend about 8 days there and all my feelings were solidified. The country is inspiring, the people are warm and friendly and the food. Oh guys, the food. It's SO good. (if you want to read more about my trip, check out my travel recap!)
And while I can't necessarily bring you all with me to Thailand, I can certainly help bring those amazing flavors to life and perhaps transport you virtually to the Land of Smiles 🙂 So, on our menu today? This Almond Butter Thai Quinoa Salad.
It kind of reminds me of super healthy version of Pad Thai. Like a Pad Thai but in crunchy salad form.
The blend of vegetables gives the salad the perfect mixture of flavors and textures. The carrots and bell peppers bring a hint of sweetness, while the broccoli and cabbage add their brilliant earthy flavors, which is all balanced out with the brightness from the green onions. And then there’s the quinoa which makes the whole salad feel fluffy and light.
But what makes this salad distinctly Thai-inspired is the wonderful dressing. A typical Pad Thai dressing is made with many ingredients that I simply don’t use in my own kitchen anymore – fish sauce, refined sugar, processed peanut butter and soy sauce being a few of them.
So instead of the traditional route, I went for a clean eating version and made a simple dressing that boasts a ton of flavor and brings this whole salad to life. And since I know many of you have peanut allergies, I chose to make a creamy almond butter dressing instead.
Same great texture, and arguably even better nutty flavor!
The dressing uses just five ingredients, is healthy, and is gluten-free and vegan. It starts with a blend of creamy almond butter, toasted sesame oil and gluten-free tamari. Then for some acidity, I added in brown rice vinegar and lime juice. It’s creamy, nutty and just delicious!
And drizzled over this quinoa salad? Oh my. To die for.
So let’s take a little mental vacation, my friends and take ourselves to Thailand where soaking up the sun, riding elephants and eating this awesome quinoa salad is all we have to do each day. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it?
If you make this recipe, make sure to snap a pic and share it on Instagram using #SIMPLYQUINOA – I want to see your own quinoa creations!
Almond Butter Thai Salad
Like a Pad Thai but in crunchy salad form!
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup broccoli florets finely chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup red bell pepper julienned and cut into 2″ strips
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1/4 cup peanuts chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup creamy almond butter (or peanut butter
- 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 – 3 tablespoons water to thin the dressing
- Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl, minus the broccoli and dressing.
- If desired, gently steam the broccoli for 2 minutes (or 40 seconds in the microwave) and transfer to the salad bowl. Toss ingredients together to combine. (<-- this step is optional, you can also just eat it raw!)
- Drizzle dressing over salad and toss again until everything is incorporated and evenly covered by the dressing.
- Serve immediately or store in fridge and serve when desired.
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