Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad is full of vibrantly colored carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and bell peppers, tossed in a Thai peanut dressing, and then topped with crunchy peanuts or cashews. This easy and healthy recipe can be served hot or cold for a potluck or BBQ and is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
Want a few other healthy quinoa salad recipes to choose from? You might also enjoy this Sweet Potato Broccoli Quinoa Bowl, Sausage, Kale, & Sweet Potato Quinoa, Best Quinoa Salad, and this Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad.
The Best Quinoa Salad Recipe – Thai Peanut Style!
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting a few of our friends at our house while they helped my hubby record his first album in the studio.
Since I have no musical talent to contribute, I felt it was my job to keep them all fed. After all, a tummy full of healthy and nutritious food is a happy tummy ready to make great music!
For lunch one day I started pulling out whatever ingredients I had in my pantry and refrigerator: Tri-color quinoa, broccoli, carrots, peanut butter, cabbage… a Thai-style peanut quinoa salad it is!!
Seriously, it might be the best quinoa salad recipe I have ever had!
Healthy Quinoa Salads to Keep You Full!
Quinoa salads are a little bit of a misnomer to me. Normally when you hear the word “salad” you automatically assume your tummy will be rumbling from hunger within an hour or two.
Nu-uh. Not with this filling recipe.
The fiber and protein-loaded superfood is not only ultra healthy for you, but it also has the magical ability to keep you full for HOURS.
A win-win in my book.
How to Cook
For this recipe, I would recommend using a rice cooker or pot with a steamer basket. This will allow you to steam the carrots and broccoli while simultaneously cooking the quinoa.
How to Cook in a Rice Cooker
- Rinse and drain quinoa in a mesh sieve until clear liquid runs through.
- Add to a rice cooker with 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or broth. Add salt if desired.
- Turn rice cooker on and cook until done. (About 20-25 minutes.)
- Serve quinoa immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
You can follow Kate’s directions on How to Cook Quinoa on the Stovetop if you prefer to cook it this way.
COOK’S TIP: If you are making this Thai inspired recipe below, add the chopped broccoli and carrots to a steamer basket and steam during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
What I love so much about this recipe is how absolutely B-E-A-UTIFUL the colors are!! All of those vibrant pops of color come from the following ingredients:
- Tri-color quinoa: You can also use regular white or red quinoa.
- Carrots sticks: Feel free to finely dice regular-sized carrots, instead.
- Red bell pepper: Green or yellow bell pepper will work fabulously, too.
- Red cabbage: This vegetable is gorgeous enough on its own, right?
- Cilantro & Basil: No salad is completely without a bit of green!
- Thai peanut dressing: Such a stunning golden color with a nutty flavor.
How to Make
Now that you have all of your ingredients gathered, let’s take a closer look into how to make this recipe.
- Cook quinoa in a rice cooker, Instant Pot, or on the stovetop.
- Steam broccoli and carrot sticks during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Let it cool slightly and then toss together with Thai peanut dressing.
- Mix in remaining vegetables.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours for a cold quinoa salad or serve immediately for a warm side.
- Top with coarsely chopped peanuts or cashews and enjoy!
You’ve seen me mention that Thai peanut salad dressing a few times now, but what ingredients do you need to make it?
- Soy sauce – You can use a gluten-free soy sauce, gluten-free Tamari sauce, or coconut liquid aminos if allergic to soy.
- Rice vinegar – Make sure you do not use rice wine vinegar or seasoned gourmet. These will both have sugar already added to it and will make the salad dressing too sweet.
- Ginger paste – My favorite to use, but you can also use freshly grated ginger if you cannot find the paste.
- Olive oil – A good quality olive oil makes up the bulk of this salad dressing, but you can also use avocado oil with similar results.
- Peanut Butter – The peanut butter from the grinders in the bulk section is what I used, but feel free to use jarred peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter instead.
How to Make The Dressing
You have all of your Thai peanut dressing ingredients gathered up, now what? It’s time to blend them all together to make a sweet and tangy dressing.
3 Ways to make Thai Peanut Dressing
- High-Speed Blender – A Nutribullet or Vitamix will give you the creamiest and most homogenous Thai inspired dressing and is my personal preference.
- Food Processor – This is also a great option, but it does not completely blend up the ingredients until smooth and can be a little difficult if you only have a large processor.
- Whisk It – Definitely the last resort if you do not have any of the kitchen utensils mentioned previously. If mixing by hand the Thai peanut dressing will most likely need to be whisked for a long time or else the dressing will begin to separate.
One of the best things about quinoa salad recipes is how incredibly versatile they are. Here are a few variations you can try to this recipe:
- Swap out the peanut butter and peanuts for cashews.
- Use sugar snap peas instead of the broccoli.
- Throw in some chopped kale for added nutrients.
- Top with green onions for an added zing!
How long does it last?
A quinoa salad will last in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days if store properly between servings.
Can I meal prep this dish?
Quinoa salads are an incredibly easy recipe to meal prep. You can cook your quinoa at the beginning of the week and then add various meats, vegetables, and salad dressings to change it up throughout the week.
Is quinoa salad healthy?
Yes. This recipe can be incredibly healthy and good for you when made with nutritious ingredients and a healthy salad dressing. They are full of fiber, protein, and will keep you full for hours.
Some of the Best Quinoa Recipes:
Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad Recipe
Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad is full of vibrantly colored carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and bell peppers, tossed in a Thai peanut salad dressing, and then topped with crunchy peanuts or cashews.
- 1 ¼ cup tri-color quinoa uncooked, rinsed and drained
- 2 ½ cups water
- ¾ tsp. salt to taste
- 1 cup carrot sticks
- 2 cups broccoli cut into florets
- 1 cup red bell pepper finely diced
- 2 cups red cabbage thinly sliced
- ¼ cup basil finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
- ½ cup peanuts or cashews, salted, coarsely chopped
Thai Peanut Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce gluten-free, or Tamari sauce
- 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. orange juice fresh
- 1 tsp. orange zest
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter or almond or cashew butter
- 2 tsp. sugar or honey
Add quinoa, water, and salt to a rice cooker or pot and cook until done.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking, place a steamer basket full of the carrots and broccoli on top of the rice cooker/pot. Steam for 12-15 minutes, or until tender.
In a large bowl combine quinoa and salad dressing. Toss until the quinoa is well coated in the salad dressing.
Just before serving add carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, cabbage, basil, and cilantro. Mix well until combined.
Serve Thai quinoa salad with additional basil or cilantro and coarsely chopped cashews. Enjoy!
- Quinoa salad will keep well for up to 3-5 days when stored in the refrigerator.