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Famous Crunchy Cashew Thai-Inspired Quinoa Salad

by Contributing Author

this gorgeous thai quinoa salad The recipe was first posted in 2013 when I met my now-husband. It’s so sweet

What I changed about this recipe was the photo, tips, and how to make it gluten-free and vegan.

For those of you who don’t know, this recipe is one of Ambitious Kitchen’s most popular recipes.

So without further ado, here’s the story of how we first met.

I’m back from vacation in Arizona. I had an amazing night that I can’t say enough about. Food, Margus, driving around in a red convertible, soaking up the sunshine, swimming at night, a trip to a baseball game, Mexican food, Froyo, and Sprinkles cupcakes!

I want to take a vacation for the rest of my life.

Interestingly, we even dated during the trip! (The most random things happen to me, I swear.) I met him through a friend and we hit it off. On a date, we went to the zoo, ate really good Italian food, and laughed hysterically. I don’t think he reads my blog, so in my opinion it’s perfectly fine to talk about how sweet he was.

FYI: I told him about the life-changing cookie.I think he was sold.

Seriously, I have to stop telling people about brown butter and the flavor profile of those freaking cookies; especially on dates.

But but! All I really have to do is face reality and accept that in my near future there will be no more Marg or her FroYo, all I need in my life right now is a gorgeous healthy salad is.

Are you in?

Ingredients for this Thai Quinoa Salad

This salad is easily vegan and gluten-free, and incredibly crunchy (not a word, but it should be). A creamy peanut butter dressing with loads of veggies and ginger flavor is a must try. Here’s what you need to create:

  • Quinoa: As you may know, the base of this salad is nutritious and hearty. QuinoaOne of my favorite grains for salads!
  • vegetable: This salad is very colorful and full of shredded cabbage, red bell peppers, red onions, shredded carrots, coriander and scallions.
  • nuts: i like to add extra crunch cashew nuts Or peanuts (especially honey roasted).
  • For dressing: Its creamy peanut dressing is made with all-natural peanut butter, fresh ginger, soy sauce, Honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil & Olive oil. I love wild friends peanut butterand you can use the code 15% off “AMBITIOUS15”!

In the end, all the ingredients blend perfectly and somehow, the salad works wonderfully. If you want this to be a complete meal, or if you want to eat more, we recommend adding edamame or chickpeas.

Oh, and like almost everything else on this blog, I love it with all my heart.

Bowl of Thai Quinoa Salad, garnished with peanut dressing, green onions, coriander and lime in the background

Customize this Thai Quinoa Salad

Customize your salad with your favorite ingredients or the ingredients you have on hand and enjoy!

  • Choose your vegetables: You can use plenty of vegetables that are left in the refrigerator. Chopped broccoli or shredded Brussels sprouts are great here.
  • Keep it Vegan: Use agave syrup or pure maple syrup instead of honey in dressings.
  • Try new grains: I think this salad would be great with couscous, orzo, farro, or rice vermicelli!
  • Be Grain Free: You can also swap the quinoa for kale or double the vegetables for a hearty grain-free salad.

Want some extra protein?

This Thai Quinoa Salad is a great base for your favorite meats or plant protein. Here’s what I suggest:

Bowl of thai quinoa salad with cashew nuts and linen

The Best Thai Quinoa Salad in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Cook the quinoa. Start by cooking the quinoa until fluffy. Let cool while you make the dressing.
  2. Make the dressing. Heat the peanut butter and honey in the microwave for easy mixing, then whisk in the remaining dressing ingredients until smooth.
  3. Dress up the quinoa. Mix a little of the dressing into the chilled quinoa to start absorbing the flavors well.
  4. Garnish & serve. Top the salad with cashew nuts and scallions and squeeze lime juice.

Two bowls of Thai quinoa salad

How to make the perfect fluffy quinoa

Get all the best tips and tricks for cooking perfectly fluffy quinoa here!

storage tips

Try this Vegan Thai Quinoa Salad airtight container About 3-4 days in the refrigerator. A salad that can be easily made the day before and is delicious the next day!

Bowl of Thai quinoa salad served with scallions, coriander and lime wedges

That’s right, my husband and I met while on vacation. A week later he asked me to send him a life-changing cookie.After nearly five years, we are now married.Cute story, right?

Healthier Salad Recipes You’ll Love

Get all of my salad recipes here!

If you make this Thai Quinoa Salad recipe, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe! Instagram Use the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen. And of course, follow Ambitious Kitchen. InstagramShit!

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad {Vegan, Gluten Free}

Thai quinoa salad in a bowl

A crunchy and flavorful Thai-style quinoa salad stuffed with rainbow vegetables and tossed with a creamy peanut-ginger dressing. This easy Thai quinoa salad is delicious on its own and perfect for customizing with your favorite protein. Perfect for meal prep lunches, picnics and parties. This salad will please everyone!


  • ¾
    uncooked quinoa
  • 2
    shredded red cabbage, depending on how crunchy you like it
  • 1
    diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4
    diced red onion
  • 1
    julienne carrot
  • ½
    chopped coriander
  • ¼
    diced green onion
  • ½
    cashews or peanuts (honey roasted is better)
  • Optional: 1 cup edamame or chickpeas
  • fresh lime, slightly tangy
  • For dressing:
  • ¼
    all natural peanut butter
  • 2
    tea spoon
    grated ginger
  • 3
    gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1
    honey (use agave or pure maple syrup if vegan)
  • 1
    rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1
    tea spoon
    sesame oil
  • 1
    tea spoon
    olive oil or sesame oil
  • Dilute with water if necessary


  1. To cook quinoa: Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the water. Remove from heat and flake quinoa with a fork. Place in a large bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes. You will need a little over 2 cups of quinoa.

  2. To make the dressing: Place peanut butter and honey or agave in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and olive oil and stir until smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, stir in 1-2 teaspoons of water or olive oil.

  3. Add as much dressing as you like to the quinoa. I always start with a little dressing and usually add more to my liking. However, I love adding it to my quinoa first because the flavor of the dressing usually seeps into the salad.

  4. Then add red peppers, onions, cabbage, carrots and cilantro to the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve chilled or at room temperature, if desired.

recipe notebook

Check out the full post for tips, tricks, and ways to customize this salad.

To save: Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for about 3-4 days. A salad that can be easily made the day before and is delicious the next day!


Serving: 6 servings

Serving size: 1 serving

calorie: 260kcal

obesity: 13.5g

carbohydrates: 27.7g

fiber: 4.3g

sugar: 7g

protein: 8.6g

This post was originally published on April 11, 2019 and republished on February 9, 2023.

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