Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing Recipe

Introduction

Looking for a refreshing, vibrant, and nutritious salad that’s bursting with flavor? This Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing is just what you need! Packed with fresh vegetables, tender chicken, and crunchy wonton strips, all tossed in a creamy, tangy peanut dressing, this salad is a delightful mix of textures and tastes. Perfect for a light lunch or a hearty side dish, this recipe is simple to make and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients Overview

Napa Cabbage

Thinly shredded Napa cabbage forms the base of this salad, providing a crisp and refreshing crunch.

Shredded Cooked Chicken

Adding 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken makes this salad more substantial and adds a nice protein boost.

Fried Wonton Strips

These strips add a delightful crunch and a hint of savory flavor. You can use homemade or store-bought.

Fresh Cilantro

One cup of chopped fresh cilantro adds a burst of freshness and a hint of citrusy flavor.

Fresh Mint

Fresh mint leaves (2/3 cup chopped) bring a refreshing and aromatic quality to the salad.

Julienne Carrots

Julienned carrots (2/3 cup) add color, sweetness, and a satisfying crunch.

Julienne English Cucumber

Julienned English cucumber (2/3 cup) provides a cool, crisp texture.

Scallions

Thinly sliced scallions (both white and green parts) add a mild onion flavor.

Red Bell Pepper

Thinly sliced red bell pepper adds a sweet and slightly tangy flavor, along with vibrant color.

Salted Peanuts

A half cup of salted peanuts adds a nutty crunch and enhances the overall texture of the salad.

Peanut Butter

Natural creamy peanut butter forms the base of our dressing, adding richness and a slight sweetness.

Lime Juice

Freshly squeezed lime juice (3 tablespoons) adds acidity and brightness to the dressing.

Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

Two teaspoons of low-sodium soy sauce provide a salty, umami depth to the dressing.

Fresh Ginger

One tablespoon of grated fresh ginger adds a spicy, aromatic note.

Toasted Sesame Oil

A teaspoon of toasted sesame oil brings a nutty, toasty flavor to the dressing.

Garlic

One large clove of grated garlic adds a robust, savory flavor to the dressing.

Water

A quarter cup of water helps achieve the desired consistency for the dressing.

Equipment Needed

  • Mixing Bowls: For combining dressing and salad ingredients.
  • Whisk: To mix the dressing.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: To ensure accurate ingredient measurements.
  • Large Salad Bowl: To toss all the salad ingredients together.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: For chopping and slicing vegetables and herbs.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Make the Peanut Dressing

In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of natural creamy peanut butter, 3 tablespoons of lime juice, 2 teaspoons of low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, and 1 large grated garlic clove. Gradually add 1/4 cup of water, whisking until the dressing is smooth and reaches your desired consistency. If the dressing is too thick, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until it thins out.

Toss the Salad

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of thinly shredded Napa cabbage, 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken, 2 cups of fried wonton strips, 1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro, 2/3 cup of chopped fresh mint, 2/3 cup of julienned carrots, 2/3 cup of julienned English cucumber, 3 thinly sliced scallions, 1 large thinly sliced red bell pepper, and 1/2 cup of salted peanuts. Drizzle with the peanut dressing and toss until all the ingredients are evenly coated.

Serve and Enjoy

Serve the salad immediately to enjoy the fresh, crunchy textures and vibrant flavors. This salad is perfect on its own or as a side dish to your favorite Thai-inspired meal.

Tips for Perfect Thai Crunch Salad

  • Fresh Ingredients: Use the freshest vegetables and herbs for the best flavor and crunch.
  • Uniform Slices: Slice vegetables uniformly to ensure even distribution and texture.
  • Taste the Dressing: Adjust the seasoning of the dressing to your preference before tossing it with the salad.
  • Serve Immediately: For maximum crunch, serve the salad right after tossing with the dressing.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the chicken and add tofu or edamame for a protein boost.
  • Different Nuts: Substitute peanuts with cashews or almonds for a different flavor.
  • Spicy Kick: Add a chopped Thai chili or a drizzle of sriracha to the dressing for some heat.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free soy sauce and wonton strips.

Health Benefits of Thai Crunch Salad

  • Rich in nutrients: Made from fresh herbs and vegetables, they are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Protein-Packed: Chicken and peanuts provide a good amount of protein, making the salad filling and satisfying.
  • Healthy Fats: Peanut butter and sesame oil contribute healthy fats that are good for heart health.
  • Low in Calories: A great option for those looking to maintain or lose weight without sacrificing flavor.

Pairing Suggestions

  • Thai Iced Tea: A sweet, creamy beverage that complements the tangy, nutty flavors of the salad.
  • Grilled Chicken Satay: Pair with this salad for a complete Thai-inspired meal.
  • Light White Wine: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can enhance the fresh flavors of the salad.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can the dressing be prepared in advance? Certainly, the peanut dressing can be prepared up to one day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Prior to usage, it is recommended to give it a thorough stir.

2. How do I keep the salad from getting soggy? Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving to maintain its crunch.

3. Can I use other types of cabbage? Yes, you can substitute Napa cabbage with green or red cabbage if you prefer.

4. What can I use instead of fried wonton strips? Try using crispy rice noodles or crushed tortilla chips as an alternative.

5. Is this salad good for meal prep? Yes, you can prep the vegetables and dressing separately and store them in the fridge. Combine just before serving for a quick, fresh meal.

Now that you have all the details, it’s time to make your own Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing. Enjoy the explosion of flavors and textures in every bite, and don’t forget to share this delightful recipe with your friends and family! Happy cooking!

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