Thai Quinoa Salad is a perfect dish for gatherings with our family and friends at picnics, the beach or the lake! It’s chock full of fresh veggies!
We serve this Thai Quinoa Salad along with Bow Tie Pesto Pasta Salad and Kale Quinoa Salad at many of our gatherings because they are all such a big hit with our guests. If you love chickpeas, you’ll love Chickpea Pasta Salad too.
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Thai food is one of our favorite things to cook and order in. This salad brings fantastic Thai flavors together in a delicious salad. If you’re looking for one of the best quinoa salad recipes, add this to your list. Garnish this salad with Thai basil and you’ve got the taste of Thailand in a bowl.
How to Make Quinoa Salad
What is quinoa salad? Quinoa salads start with a good serving of quinoa, mixed with veggies, and topped with flavorful dressing and garnishes.
- Start by cooking the quinoa
- Mix together the salad dressing ingredients
- My little trick is to flavor the quinoa by adding part of the dressing directly to the quinoa so that the flavors are well incorporated
- Prepare vegetables. For shredding the cabbage and carrots, I find a mandoline is easy and quick. And of course, I use one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, the chopper, to chop the red pepper and even the green onions!
- Add vegetables to the quinoa and toss.
- Add dressing and garnish. Serve!
How to Cook Quinoa For Salad
Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice. We like to use our Instant Pot to cook quinoa. The Instant Pot acts as a rice cooker to make perfect easy quinoa every time. Add quinoa and water to the Instant Pot. Use the Manual setting for 1 minute, and allow natural release. Fluff and serve! When using the Instant Pot, I’d recommend making 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water to make sure there is enough liquid in the Instant Pot.
I often make enough quinoa for other easy quinoa salad recipes like Kale Quinoa Salad. Store extra quinoa in the fridge to toss into the salad, or serve alongside Dijon chicken, smoked beef brisket or smoked chicken breasts.
How Do You Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker?
As with rice, rinse the quinoa. Add 2 parts liquid (broth or water) to 1 part quinoa. With this dish, I love making the quinoa with chicken broth. Thai food and chicken flavors go so well together! Add the quinoa and broth to the rice cooker, close it up and turn it on. It’s that easy and works every time. Say hello to fluffy perfect quinoa for your Thai Quinoa Salad!
What Are The Health Benefits of Quinoa?
For those of us that want to eat healthier (wait, isn’t that everyone?!), quinoa is an excellent choice. The nutritional benefits of quinoa are many! It’s high in protein and fiber. Eating a cup of quinoa adds many minerals to your diet, including copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Quinoa is considered a vegan superfood and is also naturally gluten-free.
Thai food is one of our favorite kinds of food. During my husband’s trip to Thailand, he had such a great time and tasted amazing food and flavors (including eating bugs!). From late night dining at street side vendors in Bangkok on Sukhumvit Soi (Soi mean “street” in Thai) to eating super spicy grilled prawns to slurping a cup of Tom Yum soup in the hotel restaurant, Thailand seems like an incredible experience that I look forward to one day. This salad is a perfect blend of the flavors that he experienced there.
This Thai Quinoa Salad recipe, of course, can be adapted. Black beans can replace the chickpeas for a quinoa black bean salad recipe and shredded beef, chicken or pulled pork can be added to for a summer dinner entree. Enjoy!
Thai Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups cooked quinoa cooled (cook according to package directions), approximately ¾ cup uncooked
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 15 ounces chickpeas 1 small can, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups grape tomatoes sliced
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- 2 green onion chopped, for garnish
- ½ cup peanuts chopped, for garnish
- juice of fresh lime optional
- lime wedges optional garnish
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger or ¼ teaspoon dry ginger
- 3 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes or to taste
- Melt peanut butter in a glass measuring cup for 20 seconds. Add ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil and chili flakes.
- Stir with a whisk or fork until smooth. Add one teaspoon olive oil (or water) if you’d like a thinner dressing.
- Add quinoa to a large bowl and mix with half of the prepared dressing.
- Add cabbage, red pepper, onion, carrots, cilantro, chickpeas, and grape tomatoes and toss to combine. Add dressing a little at a time until dressed to your liking. I like to use the entire dressing.
- Garnish with green onions, peanuts, lime juice, lime wedges and extra cilantro if desired.
- Chill until serving.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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Very slightly adapted from Ambitious Kitchen