One word: wow. Thai Chicken Salad is possibly the prettiest thing I have ever made. And it tastes just as satisfying.
The amount of health that this salad has blows me away. Oh, and color. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate; the deep purple from the red cabbage, orange from the shredded carrot, light green from the lime, vibrant deep green from the cilantro and jalapeno, yellow from the mango, and the rich, earthy brown of the Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce and added peanuts. If I could live in a salad, it would be this one.Jump to Recipe
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How to make Thai Chicken Salad:
Prepare for a lot of chopping and a lot of grating.
Seriously. For the majority of this recipe, you’ll be manhandling vegetables.
You’ll need to thinly slice/shred 1/2 of a green cabbage, 1/2 of a red cabbage, green onions, and cilantro. Then, you’ll need to grate 2 carrots and a mango. Lastly, you’ll be chopping peanuts and jalapenos. It’s a good bit, but it’s what this salad is all about.
Be sure to thinly slice your cabbages. It makes up the “salad” portion of this dish, replacing lettuce in a traditional salad.
A great thing about a salad made of cabbage? It doesn’t get soggy.
You’re free to leave this salad completely mixed up in the same bowl ready to go in your refrigerator (or meal prep containers) for up to 4 days. I keep the Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce separate in a mason jar, however. Tip: Be sure to start with all fresh vegetables. If you use a lime that’s about to go up, it will degrade the rest of the ingredients when it comes to how long you should store it. Now, that’s sad.
The only cooked element in this dish is the chicken. I used seasoned chicken thighs (thighs stay more tender in this dish and have a lot of natural flavor). Another thing I like to do is buy a whole chicken. The night before making this, I’ll cook the chicken in simple seasonings and we’ll eat the drumsticks and wings. I’ll shred all of the breast meat and remaining white/dark meat and use it in this recipe the next day. This is a time saver, and a bonus because you’ll have already shredded, cold chicken (this recipe tastes best fully chilled). Either way, it turns out delicious every time.
Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce:
This sauce is so dreamy I made it a post all its own.
Click here for my Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce recipe.
Notes on Thai Chicken Salad:
- Buy the smallest cabbages you can find. You’re looking for about a softball size of each. I don’t know if it’s just the area I’m in, but my local stores tend to sell huge volleyball sized cabbages. Whenever I’m lucky enough to find a small size, I buy them and make this recipe. The cabbages above in the photo were so large I used them for 6 servings of this recipe, 4 servings of coleslaw, and still had 1/4 remaining of each. Not only are large cabbages hard to not waste, they are pretty pricy. The smaller, the better.
- Have leftover cabbage? You could make my Vinegar Slaw with Craisins – Easy Old Fashioned Coleslaw Without Mayo to go with some pulled pork or chicken, or even sloppy joes.
- While you could buy a bag of coleslaw mix instead of green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots, it doesn’t have quite the same flavor, in my opinion.
- Put a Ziploc sandwich bag on your hand when handling the jalapeno. I always do this as a precaution so I don’t accidentally burn my face half an hour later. Jalapenos are usually mild (can vary drastically from jalapeno to jalapeno). I find that adding one jalapeno de-seeded does not add any element of heat to this recipe whatsoever. It only adds a touch of freshness and jalapeno-flavor (minus the heat).
- If you are allergic to peanuts, try switching them out for slivered almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
Thai Chicken Salad with Creamy Peanut Sauce
- 3 cups thinly sliced/shredded green cabbage
- 1-2 cups red cabbage - depends on how much you want to make
- 4 cups sliced chicken thighs - seasoned lightly w/ S&P
- 2 cups grated carrots - (about 2 carrots)
- 1 ripe mango
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 1 cup fresh cilantro - chopped
- 1 jalapeno - chopped
- ½ cup peanuts - chopped
- lime - freshly squeezed, to taste
- one recipe Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce
- Prep. Rinse, trim & season chicken thighs. Pan sear until golden brown on both sides, then finish cooking in an oven heated to 350 F until the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice/shred green cabbage and red cabbage. Slice green onions. Chop cilantro, peanuts, and jalapeno (using a sandwich bag to protect your hand). Peel and grate carrots and mango. Add all to a very large mixing bowl as you go. Add a squeeze or two of lime. Stir to combine.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, allow it to cool. You may refrigerate your salad mixture in the meantime. If using already shredded chicken, simply add to bowl & chill. Once chicken thighs are cool, chop and add to bowl. Serve cold with Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce.
- Be careful of what peanuts you use. Plain or dry roasted is the best. If you’re using lightly salted, be weary of how much soy sauce you put in the Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce. You don’t want to make it overly salty.
- Go here for my Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce recipe.
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