If you love interesting and exciting salads, then this Thai chicken salad recipe is sure to be one of your new favorites. Packed with flavor, protein, fruits and veggies, this delicious, bright salad has it all!
Chopped Thai Chicken Salad
Thai food has such an amazing and unique flavor that so many people love. It is bright and fresh, a little bit tropical and it also has a nice spiciness to it. It’s hard to find this combination in any other cuisine!
This recipe for Thai chicken salad captures all those amazing Thai flavors in one irresistible bowl. While the ingredient list may look long, it is actually not too hard to make this chopped salad. There are a few parts that you can easily make ahead of time, saving you prep time later on.
Once you read a little more about this delicious Thai salad, you are surely going to want to head straight to the kitchen to start cooking!
Steps to Making Thai Chicken Salad
I will be the first to admit that long lists of ingredients tend to scare me away. However, when you really stop and take a look at this recipe, you will see that it is actually quite simple. It just involves four major, easy steps:
- Make the dressing
- Cook the chicken breasts
- Chop the vegetables and fruits
- Combine everything in one big bowl!
Simple enough! You can have this salad cooked and ready to eat in just about 30 minutes if you plan your cooking time correctly. What I have found to work well is the following:
- Start cooking the chicken right away, tossing it in a large saute pan or wok in order to heat it quickly and evenly.
- While the chicken is cooking, throw all the dressing ingredients into a food processor, pulse quickly then set it aside.
- Give the cooking chicken a few tosses in the pan
- Chop all the vegetables while the chicken finishes cooking.
You can easily prepare the dressing and get all the vegetables cut in the amount of time it takes to cook the chicken. See, just 30 minutes!
Make-Ahead Thai Chicken Salad
In addition to being pretty quick to cook, this chicken salad recipe keeps very well in the fridge for several days. To make the salad last, simply keep the dressing on the side, adding it to the chicken salad right before you are ready to eat it.
You can make a double or triple recipe, divide it into separate containers and put one in your insulated lunch bag for work each morning to have as a lunch or a healthy snack. Meal prep has never been so easy!
To save time making this chicken salad, you can:
- Make a big batch of the dressing and divide it into individual 1/4 cup portions to use when you are ready to eat.
- Use cooked, shredded rotisserie chicken rather than raw chicken breast. Toss the rotisserie chicken in a pan for just a few minutes to heat with the ingredients for the chicken portion of the dish.
- Make sure the chicken breast is thinly sliced before cooking to ensure it cooks quickly.
- Chop all the vegetables ahead of time so all you need to do is assemble the salad later on.
Another nice point about this Thai chicken recipe is that it is great when eaten either hot or cold. So you can enjoy it straight from the fridge or give the chicken a quick minute in the microwave. You will love it both ways!
Healthy Thai Chicken Salad
So we have talked about how this salad recipe is delicious and also how easy it is to make. But what about nutrients? Don’t worry, there are plenty! Our recipe is actually quite healthy thanks to all the vitamins and minerals found in the:
- lime juice
- red bell pepper
And those are just a few of the most nutritious ingredients! This salad is full of protein thanks to the chicken and cashews. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and fruit. And there are also some great beneficial fats (not harmful saturated fat!) added in from the coconut oil and cashews again.
So, yes, this Thai chicken salad is quite healthy and you can feel good about eating it regularly. In fact, you may want to make a point to eat this salad regularly in order to maintain a balanced diet. It really does have everything you need.
Easy Thai Salad Dressing
Making homemade dressing is actually a very easy process. It adds so much fresh flavor that it should be required for all salads, all the time.
You really can’t beat a fresh salad dressing! Our dressing for this recipe definitely falls under the category of simple since everything is tossed into a food processor and pureed together.
Many Thai salads feature a peanut based dressing. While those are fantastic, we love our recipe that focuses on the flavors of soy sauce, lime juice and honey rather than peanut butter. However, being as versatile as it is, this salad would pair very well with a peanut dressing too.
If you want to make a peanut dressing for the chicken salad instead, make these simple changes to our dressing recipe:
- Skip the soy sauce and apple cider vinegar
- Add 4 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter to the food processor.
- Puree together with the other ingredients listed in our recipe and enjoy.
Switching to a peanut dressing will make for a nice, creamy sauce that will bring new life to this delicious salad. You can even just try adding a few ingredients to our dressing to spice it up such as:
- A tablespoon of fish sauce to add a deep layer of pungent flavor (fish sauce may smell strong but it tastes smooth and unique)
- Rice vinegar rather than apple cider vinegar
- Blend in some fresh cilantro
- Add a cup of chopped green bell pepper to make the dressing have a little peppery kick
- Add lime zest along with lime juice to enhance the flavor
It is always fun making new, unique dressings. Since this chicken salad recipe adapts so well to various tastes, it is the perfect recipe to experiment with! Whether you give fish sauce a try or add some sriracha chili sauce to the mix, playing with the sauce is a great way to make this recipe your own, one that you truly will love.
If you are a fan of Thai flavors and are ready to make some authentic, delicious Thai foods at home, definitely start with this recipe. We know you are going to love all the complex tastes that come together so perfectly. Enjoy!
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This salad is bursting with fresh thai flavors and loaded with veggies in every bite.
- 2 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon smoke paprika
- salt/pepper for seasoning
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 16 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 cups napa cabbage, chopped
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 3 green onions, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup cashews, roasted with salt
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- Place all ingredients for dressing into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- In a skillet, add coconut oil and chicken with seasonings and cook on med-high heat 15 minutes or until brown.
- While chicken is cooking, slice up lettuce, cabbage, carrots, pepper, cilantro leaves and green onions into thin strips and place into 2 large bowls.
- When chicken is done add on top of salad with cashews.
- Drizzle with dressing, toss gently until well combined and serve immediately.
- Whisk all the ingredients together for the chicken cooking sauce before pouring into the pan. Blending the seasonings ahead of time and making a “sauce” for the chicken will ensure that all the flavors are evenly combined and coating the meat as it cooks.
- If you plan to make this recipe in advance and enjoy it later on, set aside a cup of the chicken after it has cooked. Then, you can reheat the chicken before placing it on the salad for a hot, salad option.
- Make a double batch of dressing and use more to coat your salad. Everyone loves extra sauce and you can then pair the salad with a slice of nice bread and sop up the extra dressing with the bread- yum!