This Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing is the best Asian salad you will ever have! Colorful vegetables and chicken get dressed up, Thai style!
Have you ever had peanut butter on your salad? If not, you’re about to. And trust me, it’s absolutely amazing. (Just as amazing as putting it on your rice, like in my Thai Chicken Satay). Especially with some soy sauce and ginger mixed in. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back to the beginning.
I don’t know if people from Thailand eat salad. But people from America do, and we are always looking for new and exciting ways to get our vegetables. Enter this Thai Chicken Salad. It’s a dinner salad because it’s packed with protein. But it’s an EXCITING salad because it’s filled with traditional Thai flavors and gorgeous colors, and is SUPER healthy.
Let’s start prepping this salad, shall we?
The first thing you need to do is marinate some chicken. I just used two chicken breasts, but they were enormous Costco chicken breasts. If you use breasts that have come from less buxom chickens, you may want to use four breasts.
For the marinade, you put the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with some vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sugar (or Truvia), garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. Then you let it sit for at least 4 hours in your refrigerator. (Confession. I almost never let things marinate for as long as I am supposed to because I am impatient. Nobody has ever complained).
When I was ready to bake the chicken, I put it in my George Foreman Grill and cooked it until I got some lovely grill marks. Unfortunately, due to the thickness of the generously-endowed Costco chicken breasts, the center did not get cooked. (Chicken needs to be baked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees in order for it to be safe). But not to worry! I popped the chicken into a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes to finish off the baking, and it worked wonderfully. Look at this gorgeous chicken.
Yum! I love how the cilantro leaves from the marinade got pressed into the chicken. Little things like this make me happy.
Next you’re going to cut up your yummy vegetables and make the bulk of your salad. You can use whichever kind of greens in here you like. I used spinach and Romaine lettuce. Then I added cucumbers, carrots, red bell peppers, green onions, and cilantro.
Now you add your chicken and then drizzle the salad with a special sauce. This is in addition to the peanut sauce. It’s a lovely dressing made of rice vinegar, Thai sweet red chili sauce, sesame oil, and a wee bit of sugar or Truvia. (Confession: I hardly ever use sesame oil because I just really don’t care for it. So if you don’t have any, don’t sweat it. Just leave it out, and things will still taste wonderful).
When I talk about sweet red chili sauce, I am talking about stuff like this: Mae Ploy is the most common name of this sauce. You can find it in the Asian section of any grocery store.
Now you mix all that up. Get out plates or bowls for everyone, and then ready your peanut sauce. This stuff is seriously so amazing that I could eat it straight. It’s just natural peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, more of that yummy sweet red Thai chili sauce, some water, and some sugar or Truvia to taste.
Now pour it on. Don’t be shy.
There you have it. A gourmet, Thai-inspired salad that will keep you coming back for more. Go start prepping that chicken!
Recipe adapted from Taste and Tell.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 breasts if they are large)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. sugar or 2 packets of Truvia
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 heart of Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/2 head of Napa cabbage, chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- salted peanuts for garnish (optional)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup Thai sweet red chili sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp. sugar or Truvia
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Thai sweet red chili sauce
- 3 Tbsp. water
- 1-2 tsp. sugar, to taste (or 1 packet Truvia)
- Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Massage the chicken and move the marinade all around so that the chicken is covered. Place in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
- When ready, grill or bake the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and juices run clear. In a 350-degree oven, this will take about 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. A grill will be faster (about 8 minutes per side), again, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. When chicken is done, let cool for about 10 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Combine all the salad ingredients (except the peanuts) in a large bowl. Add the chicken.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. (You may not use all the dressing, depending on your preferences). Toss until the salad is evenly coated with dressing.
- Combine all the peanut sauce ingredients. Adjust the sugar or water until you get the flavor and consistency you want.
- Serve salad on individual plates and drizzle with a generous portion of peanut sauce. Garnish with peanuts if desired.