Colorful, crunchy Thai-inspired Quinoa Salad tossed in the most amazing homemade garlic-ginger peanut sauce! (Vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free)
This salad is bursting with bright rainbow colors, delicious Thai-inspired flavors, plenty of fresh crunch, and awesome plant-based nutrition. I’m continually surprised at how pleasantly filling it is. The key component for me is really the peanut sauce. Delicious, savory, and so full of flavor. Plus it’s a great choice for make-ahead meals & lunches. (It still tastes awesome the next day after the flavors get a chance to mingle.)
I’ve made versions of this salad with quinoa as seen here, but also the more typical rice noodles and enjoy it both ways. So feel free to substitute the quinoa for your own favorite noodles/rice noodles as well. I find myself trending more towards the quinoa option for both the nutrition boost and sometimes the delicate rice noodles break apart on me creating a bit of a mess. (But a happy, delicious mess nonetheless!) For more notes and detailed instruction on the sauce, see my full post here for the Easy Peanut Sauce. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!
PS – come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram and share a photo if you make this! (Also please leave a review & star rating below if you give it a try. Your feedback is greatly appreciated – thank you!)
Fresh Thai Quinoa Salad with Peanut Sauce
- 3/4 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 1 1/2 cups red cabbage
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 green onions
- 1/3 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup cashews (or peanuts, or a combo of both)
For the peanut sauce:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (I use creamy, natural)
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar or maple syrup (more/less to taste)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 tsp. fresh grated ginger (or more to taste)
- Hot water (to thin to desired consistency)
- Optional: red pepper flakes
- Rinse and cook the quinoa according to package instructions.*
- Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce: mince garlic and grate ginger. In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients except water. Heat about 3/4 cup of water to just under boiling. Slowly add water, a couple tablespoons at a time, and whisk. Continue adding water and whisking until sauce reaches your desired consistency. (I usually end up adding roughly 1/2 cup water.) Set aside.
- Prepare veggies: thinly slice or shred cabbage, grate carrot, thinly slice or dice bell pepper, slice green onions, and roughly chop cilantro (stems removed). Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add cashews (and/or peanuts) and cooked quinoa.
- Add dressing and toss well to combine.
- Top with more nuts or cilantro if desired.