A fresh vegan Thai-inspired Quinoa Salad tossed in the most amazing homemade garlic-ginger peanut sauce! (Gluten-free and oil-free.)
This salad combines bright colors, delicious flavors, and plant-based nutrients. Plus it is pleasantly filling.
The best part for me is the creamy peanut sauce. It is so luscious, savory, and full of flavor.
This meal is a great choice for make-ahead meals and lunches. (It tastes great the next day after the flavors get a chance to mingle.)
Ingredients for Thai Quinoa Salad
For this salad portion you will toss together:
- White quinoa: You will need 1 cup quinoa for this recipe (which is about 4 cups cooked quinoa). Or substitute with your favorite noodles or rice noodles for a noodle salad instead.
- Red cabbage
- Red bell pepper: Or yellow or orange.
- Green onion (scallion)
- Fresh cilantro
- Cashews: Or substitute peanuts if desired. This adds great crunch to the salad.
Ingredients for Peanut Sauce
For the peanut sauce you will whisk together in a bowl:
- Peanut butter: I use creamy and natural. You could also substitute another nut butter like almond butter if desired.
- Brown sugar: Or use pure maple syrup for a naturally sweetened option.
- Tamari: Or soy sauce, but I use tamari for gluten-free.
- Fresh lemon juice: Or lime juice.
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh ginger
- Hot water to thin
For more notes and detailed instruction, see my full post for the Easy Peanut Sauce.
Change up this recipe as you see fit. A few suggestions include:
Vegetables: Add other veggies like snow peas, cucumber, broccoli, bean sprouts, shredded kale, spinach, etc.
Extra protein: Include shelled edamame or tofu for extra plant-based protein if desired.
Herbs + seeds: Garnish your bowl with fresh Thai basil, red pepper flakes, or sesame seeds before serving.
This salad keeps well covered in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
It's a great choice for meal prep, a main dish or side dish, take-along lunches, picnics, etc.
For more inspiration, browse all gluten-free recipes.
Fresh Thai-Style Quinoa Salad with Peanut Sauce
- 3/4 cup white quinoa (uncooked)
- 1 1/2 cups red cabbage
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 green onions
- 1/3 cup fresh 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 peanut sauce 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.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this Thai Quinoa Salad recipe with peanut sauce, also check out:
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Vegan Taco Salad with Creamy Southwestern Dressing
- Cucumber Salad
- Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing