Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad is a deliciously light, fresh and healthy salad. Cooked quinoa, lots of colorful and crunchy vegetables and cashews are tossed in a simple ginger peanut dressing. This recipe serves 6.
Craving a healthy, colorful, crunchy and most importantly delicious salad?
Ive got you.
I first made this flavorful salad in 2013. Back then I was a contributor to The Pioneer Woman’s recipe sharing site Tasty Kitchen. TK is where a lot of us OG food bloggers would go to share our recipes in hopes to get featured on the TK homepage. As a contributor, I could cherrypick recipes to share and then photograph them step-by-step for the blog section of the website. It was a fun gig.
This crunchy cashew Thai quinoa salad was one of those recipes. It literally won me over the moment it graced my computer screen. Since those TK days I’ve made this salad dozens of times, and with it a few subtle (and I mean subtle) changes to this recipe.
It still remains one of my favorites to this day.
To Make This Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad You Will Need:
for the peanut dressing:
- peanut butter – Cashew butter can also be used.
- ginger – Pungent, spicy, and sweet. There’s no need to peel ginger first, simple grate on a microplane
- garlic – This adds distinct and punchy flavor.
- coconut aminos – A healthy alternative to soy sauce.
- red wine vinegar – Adds tang and acidity.
- toasted sesame oil – Lends a rich, earthy and nutty flavor.
for the salad:
- quinoa – High in fiber, plus several vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber, and folate.
- cabbage – Lends a pop of color and delicious crunch!
- red and yellow bell pepper – Add sweetness, crunch and color.
- carrot – I like to save time and use pre-shredded but you can also grate carrot on the large holes of your box grater.
- cilantro – Lends fresh, citrusy (and to some a soapy) flavor.
- cashew pieces and halves – Adds a rich nutty flavor.
- green onions – For a mild onion flavor.
- lime – Adds citrusy notes and will enhance the flavors in the salad.
Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse under cool water. Transfer to a sauce pan and add the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Then remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.
Need a visual? Click Here for my step-by-step post for making perfectly cooke quinoa.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, measure and add 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon grated fresh garlic, 3 tablespoons coconut aminos, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil.
WHAT IS COCONUT AMINOS?
Coconut aminos is a flavorful and salty sauce made from the fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt, yet it does not taste like coconut at all. Its consistency and deeply brown color is similar to soy sauce. It’s also happens to be soy, gluten and wheat-free too. With that said, coconut aminos is a healthy substitute for those with a restrictive diet.
Whisk well to combine. If the dressing seems to be too thick, it can be thinned out with water.
Toss half of the dressing with the quinoa.
Next add in 1 cup shredded cabbage, 1/4 cup each diced red and yellow bell pepper, 1/2 cup red onion, 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup cashew pieces and 4 sliced green onions.
Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime.
And season with kosher salt to taste.
Adding more dressing as desired.
This salad is absolutely delicious served right away at room temperature. The flavors are perfect, crunchy factor is incredible and it’s healthy yet totally satisfying. I love the rainbow of veggies and the protein and fiber from the quinoa keeps me full. And the simple ginger peanut dressing is out of this world *chefs kiss*.
How long will this quinoa salad last?
If stored in a container with a tight fitting lid and stored in the refrigerator, this salad will keep for for 3 to 5 days.
For meal prep:
Store the salad and cashews separately and just toss together when ready to eat. Otherwise they tend to lose their crunch over time as they sit in the dressing.
Enjoy! And if you give this Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!
Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad
FOR THE SALAD:
- 3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup cashew halves and pieces
- 4 green onions, sliced
- ½ lime, juiced, plus wedges for serving
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, grated
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
MAKE THE QUINOA:
- Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse under cool water. Transfer to a sauce pan and add the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Then remove and fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.
MAKE THE DRESSING:
- In a small bowl, measure and add peanut butter, honey, ginger, garlic, coconut aminos, vinegar and toasted sesame oil. Whiske well to combine.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- Toss half of the dressing with the quinoa. Add in the cabbage, diced bell pepper, onion, carrot, cilantro, cashew pieces and green onions.
- Season with kosher salt and squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a (juicy) lime. Toss to combine, add more dressing to taste.
- Serve topped with extra green onions, cashews and cilantro.
This recipe is lovingly and only slightly adapted from Ambitious Kitchen.
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THANK YOU in advance for your support!
I saw this other day and thought man that sounds so good!! I love the quinoa and Thai flavors are my favorite!
Saw this featured as a step-by-step on Tasty Kitchen and instantly thought, “Hmmm….that looks like something Laurie would make!’ I was right! Sounds like a great recreation of an already-yummy dish! You always take such beautiful photos with such vibrant color!
Looks fresh and healthy! Never tried Quinoa, I should soon!
Um, 100% pinned this for dinner. OMG I can’t wait!
Holy gorgeousness! This looks so delicious and wholesome. Love the colors and the flavors! Going to get this loveliness in my life now!
I agree with Georgia!! Thats one beautiful salad.. Look at those colors!! Wow..
This is gorgeous! I just make an Asian-inspired dish on Monday night with quinoa instead of rice and it was amazing. Now I need to try this one!
YUM! I have just converted Dusty into a Quinoa lover, so I can’t wait to make this 🙂
Ahhh thank you Laurie! 🙂 You are pretty AMAZING yourself!
Too funny, I made a very similar salad and posted it this week! Great minds:)
I know Maria! I saw it and thought the same thing! Too funny 🙂
I love this! I could eat it everyday.
looks amazing! damn you quinoa intolerance 🙁
Wow:( What a Colorful recipe . Eager to taste it. Can’t wait . I’m going for a try now.
Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful, as
well as the content!
Wow! This is the most colorful recipe I’ve ever seen. It really looks delicious and easy to do. BTW, thanks for the link of the Tasty Kitchen. I can’t wait to try this recipe. 🙂
I love those rainbow veggies to this looks so appetising and summery!
This was excellent – and my children loved it too! I used rice wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. For the adult portions, I add a little Sriracha. It is awesome!
Ooooh I love Sriracha! Good call… I bet it was super yummy too!
I love Thai food and I’ve never tried Quinoa so this looks like something healthy and new to try.
I’ve been looking for another show stopper salad….. FINALLY I found it! Took it to work today for my gal pal’s BD along with applesauce oatmeal muffins….. EVERYTHING was a hit! Guys and Gals all loved it! THANK YOU!
Awesome! I’m so glad… thanks Cathy!
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This was delicious. I meal prepped it. Kept the quinoa separate from the veggies. And, added cashews and cilantro each day fresh for lunch. My only change would be to cut back on the onion. Between the red onion and scallions, I had major onion breath following lunch.
Wonderful combination, Laurie! Another great success . . . thank you!
With full transparency, I am not a big fan of ‘grain’ salads, especially ‘tiny grain’ salads, but you have converted me with this one.
The dressing is beyond delicious and it will definitely find its way on to other things for sure!
I just made a couple of slight changes to the recipe by omitting the Cilantro due to a Cilantro-adverse household, and I toasted the cashews and reserved all of them for addition on individual servings along with the green onion garnish. So very tasty!
The contrast between the soft grains and the crunchy vegetable and nuts is beautiful!
One question I have for you . . . how ‘thin’ would you suggest the dressing to be. Mine was very thick and I did reduce it a wee bit with some boiling water but I did not want to go too far and risk losing the fabulous flavour. I did end up using all of the dressing for the bowl of salad. Your thoughts are always appreciated, Laurie! Thank you.
With hopes all is well with you and your loved ones . . . our days of summer are waning for sure, but I do love the air and coolness of fall!
“Cheers” from the Canadian Prairies!
Question: Is the recipe supposed to be 3/4 Cup of Quinoa? Does not seem like very much yet 3-4 cups seems like WAY to much. All ingredients in the counter ready to make! Thanks. 🙂
I used 3/4 cups of uncooked Quinoa and everything was balanced perfectly. The recipe does make a good amount and certainly provided a few meals, served as a side and main lunch meal.
I hope this helps you if I’m not too late!
“Good Luck” from the Canadian Prairies
Figured it out after reading my Quinoa bag!!
I really enjoyed the salad! The colors are spectacular together and the flavor was wonderful. Also used the quinoa recipe directions and indeed had the fluffiest quinoa I have ever made. Thanks so much for sharing it!!