This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Meet this Thai-Inspired Chicken Quinoa Salad! Perfect for lunch and meal prep. It uses fresh ingredients that pack flavor and a crunch, nutrient dense ingredients, and tossed with most fabulous Thai Peanut Salad Dressing!
Thai Chicken Salad with Quinoa
This salad has been on repeat because while it does have a handful of ingredients, it comes together quickly, it is packed with flavor, and is great to make in the beginning of the week and have for the next few days! Plus, don’t sleep on the Thai Peanut Salad Dressing, which I want to put on basically everything!
This list includes ingredients for the salad and the dressing. The full list of ingredients and the recipe instructions are listed at the end of this post!
Thai Chicken Salad with Quinoa
Cooked Quinoa: A protein powerhouse, quinoa is really delicious in a salad! Did you know I have a whole guide with all the best ways to cook quinoa? I like to prep it ahead of time, so it’s cooled down for this salad! More on this below!
Shredded Chicken: If you haven’t made my easy shredded chicken, it’s the best! You can also shortcut even further and grab a rotisserie chicken!
Shredded Cabbage: Grab a green cabbage and slice it nice and thin.
Scallions: I love nothing more than chopped green onions, so throw them on in!
Shaved Carrots: I know you can buy store-bought shredded carrots, but I’ve tested this all of the ways and shaving them with a food grater is the way to go!
Chopped Peanuts: While this salad already comes with a crunch, this added crunch is swoon-worthy!
Cooked Edamame: While this is optional, I do love it! I buy frozen, non-gmo, organic edamame and it cooks up super quickly.
Fresh Cilantro: You can never go wrong with fresh herbs, especially in this quinoa salad!
Mandarins or Oranges: You can use either, and while mandarins may be slightly more annoying to segment (see below), they’re worthy of it!
Salt and Pepper: Just two essentials!
Lime: I’m in the more-fresh-lime-the-better camp!
Thai Peanut Dressing:
Peanut Butter: Creamy with nothing else added (no added oils or sugars needed)… perfection!
Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is actually made from fermented rice and is fabulous in salad dressing!
Coconut Aminos: A soy sauce alternative. You can use soy sauce or Tamari if you’d like.
Fresh Ginger: Go fresh here!
Fresh Garlic: Again, go for fresh here!
Toasted Sesame Oil: Flavor city
Water: This thins out the sauce!
Fresh Lime: Pack this dressing with a punch!
How to Customize Your Thai Inspired Chicken Salad
Customize it with other add-ins/toppings like:
- Tortilla Strips
- Sliced Mango or Papaya
- Thinly Sliced Red Bell Peppers
The Thai Peanut Salad Dressing… is Amazing!
This Thai peanut salad dressing dressing is down-right incredible. I want to pour it on everything! You use the water as needed to thin it out, so don’t panic if it starts off thick! This dressing can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Coleslaw Blend versus Hand Grated
Here’s the deal! I’ve tested this quinoa thai chicken salad with store-bought coleslaw blend and a bag of shredded carrots, and honestly, if you have a few extra minutes, it’s worth the fresh cabbage and the grated carrots!
Quinoa in Your Thai Chicken Salad
Though it does pair well with grilled chicken, shrimp, or salmon, quinoa is a great source of a complete protein, so this salad is quite filling! Our in-house nutritionist Gabby says: Quinoa is tremendously healthy, especially for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Quinoa is one of the very few plant proteins that contains all nine essential amino acids that our body cannot make on its own, making it a complete protein. Not only is quinoa a rich source of protein, it is also naturally gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease.
Our guide on how to cook quinoa is my go-to! I like to prep it ahead of time, so it’s cooled down for this salad! If you are making this all the day of, you can add it in a bit warm, or to speed up the cooling process, simply spread your cooked quinoa onto a baking sheet and let cool in the refrigerator.
How to Cook Quinoa on the Stove:
This is probably the most common way of cooking quinoa! You bring quinoa up to a boil and then simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed! Finally, let it sit for a few minutes, and fluff with a fork. It takes about 20-25 minutes.
Bonus Short Cut: I’ve recently seen frozen organic quinoa in the freezer section at my local Whole Foods Market!
How to Segment Citrus
- Cut the base and top of the citrus fruit so it sits flat on a cutting board.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the peel and white pith on the outside of your citrus.
- Cut in between the white membrane to remove the segments.
Prepping Salad Ahead For Meal Prep:
Quinoa salads do so well as meal prep. You can totally prep components of this hours in advance, or even the day before! Just make sure everything is prepped, and then dress just before serving. This does well dressed for a few days in the fridge as well, but I do love it best when served immediately!
Shredded Chicken: You can prep this a day or two ahead!
Cabbage and Carrots: You can shred/chop these a day ahead and store in the refrigerator.
Quinoa: Our guide on how to cook quinoa is my go-to! I like to prep it ahead of time, so it’s cooled down for this salad! If you are making this all the day of, you can add it in a bit warm, or to speed up the cooling process, simply spread your cooked quinoa onto a baking sheet and let cool in the refrigerator.
Thai Peanut Salad Dressing: You can make this a day or two ahead and store in the refrigerator. Dress the salad just before serving.
Storing: Everything else I’d prep the day of assembling and serving. Keeping all of this in mind, this salad will keep well for 3-5 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
If You Love This Quinoa Recipe, Try These Others:
- Apple, Sweet Potato and Kale Quinoa Salad
- Healthy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Herb and Garlic Quinoa
Thai Chicken Quinoa Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing
For the chicken quinoa salad:
- 2 cups cooked quinoa roughly 12 ounces
- 2 cups shredded chicken homemade or rotisserie
- 2 cups green cabbage or 2 cups chopped coleslaw blend, sliced thin
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions
- 1 cup shredded/grated carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 cup cooked edamame optional
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 3 Mandarins or oranges segmented
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 lime juiced
Thai Peanut Salad Dressing:
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- pinch salt
- 1 lime juiced
- Water to thin as needed (1/4 cup roughly)
- Make quinoa as directed on package, and set aside to cool.
- Chop cabbage, scallions, peanuts, cilantro, and shred carrots. Set aside.
- Segment mandarins or oranges, and set aside.
- Make your salad dressing: In a bowl whisk together all ingredients, except for the water. Once combined, add water, tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired creamy, but pourable consistency.
- Assemble the salad: Add everything into a serving bowl. Drizzle peanut dressing over the salad, toss and serve.
- This salad will keep well for 3-5 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.