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Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

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Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s recipe, this Thai crunch salad with peanut dressing always satisfies.

Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

This recipe was inspired by the popular Thai crunch salad served at California Pizza Kitchen. It’s made with crisp Napa cabbage, crunchy vegetables, and edamame, but it’s the creamy peanut dressing that makes it so good. I guarantee you’ll want to put it on everything! Serve this salad as a light lunch or pair it with grilled chicken or steak for a more substantial meal. It’s excellent with my honey, lime and sriracha chicken skewers.

What You’ll Need To Make Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

peanut-dressing-ingredients

This is one of those recipes with a long list of ingredients but don’t let that deter you; you can use many of the prepared vegetables available at the supermarket today, and the dressing is quickly puréed in a blender.

salad-ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by making the dressing. Simply combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a blender and process until completely smooth. It’s best to roughly chop the garlic and ginger beforehand, as most blenders aren’t able to process large pieces.

ready-to-blend

Add the cilantro and process for a few seconds until the cilantro is finely chopped. (If you add it in the beginning, it will completely blend into the dressing and give it a greenish hue.)

blending-in-cilantro

It will look like this.

finished-peanut-dressing

Next, make the salad. I typically use a blend of Napa cabbage, cucumbers, red bell peppers, shredded carrots, shredded purple cabbage and edamame, but you can use any crunchy vegetables that you like.

chopped-veggies

If you use cucumbers, be sure to remove the seeds, as they can make the salad watery.

seeding-cucumber

Combine all of the vegetables in a bowl along with the chopped spring onions and cilantro, and toss to combine.

ready-to-mix

If you’re serving the salad right away, drizzle the peanut dressing overtop and toss; otherwise serve the dressing on the side so the salad doesn’t get soggy.

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Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s recipe, this Thai crunch salad with peanut dressing always satisfies.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Thai Peanut Dressing

  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

For the Salad

  • 4 cups chopped Napa cabbage or shredded coleslaw mix (I like to toss in a little shredded red cabbage for color)
  • 1 cup prepared shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
  • 2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a blender and process until completely smooth. Add the cilantro and blend for a few seconds until the cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. For the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If serving right away, drizzle the peanut dressing over top and toss; otherwise, serve the dressing on the side so the salad doesn't get soggy.
  3. Note: Check out easy guidance on how to peel, grate, and chop fresh ginger here.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Serving size: Approximately 2 cups
  • Calories: 282
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sodium: 505 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Too sour. I had to double everything other than lime/vinegar in order to get something edible. 4 tablespoons of acid compared to 3 tablespoons oil + some peanut sauce is too sour.

    • — Tamba on February 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • Wonderful salad, just like all Jenn’s recipes! I listened to other reviews and left out the sugar and it was still delicious and sweet enough. I left out the cilantro simply because my family doesn’t care for it. Very bright, vibrant, beautiful and delicious still! Also used a small fresh cut head of cabbage and shredded some carrots instead of using a bagged mix. One mistake I made was using crunchy peanut butter because I thought it would add a texture and save the step of adding peanuts at the end. Wrong….once I blended the dressing the nuts were demolished but still big enough to be a little gritty. Flavor was perfect but texture was not. Next time I will use creamy peanut butter and add peanuts at the end. I mixed everything together and let it sit over night so the cabbage could soften. It was still crunchy and stayed crisp for the 2 days it was in the fridge.

    • — Angie on October 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • OMGOSH! The dressing was sooo good! I added some kale from the garden with the other ingredients and it turned out fantastic. Luckily I had some leftover dressing that I can use for later. Will look into more recipes from this site!

      • — Lisa Uerkvitz on November 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • Very nice! I just made this and forgot to add the sugar and it was still fantastic! I used it on a kale salad with red peppers, purple cabbage, lightly steamed broccoli, rice noodles, and tofu cubes. I was too lazy to mess with my food processor so I used garlic powder, jarred ginger, and a whisk. It started to look like it was going to separate but I kept whisking and it came together just fine. Bookmarked!

    • — Mizz P on October 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • I did an experiment, and removed a cup or so of the salad and added the dressing, let it marinate. I found the crisp vegetables stayed crisp and the overnight marination allowed the flavour of the sauce to impregnate the veggies. I also added about 1\2 cup chopped peanuts to add another crunch and accentuate the peanut taste. Great salad to make ahead of time.

    • — Heather Paterson on September 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • LOVED this! The dressing is so delicious!

    • — Nadine on August 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Chef Segal,
    I have been compiling recipes for many, many years and share them via e-mail with my relatives (I have 5 chefs in my immediate family), and this is my latest:

    20230816

    Thai Peanut Dressing

    I’ve been wanting to make the peanut dressing we get when going to Thai restaurants, so today I chose one recipe of many offered in the internet. It was the one by Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef (https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/thai-crunch-salad-with-peanut-dressing.html).
    The dressing has a lot of ingredients, but luckily I had them all in our pantry.

    Dressing Ingredients

    ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
    2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime ( I used lemon)
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    2 tablespoons honey
    2½ tablespoons sugar
    2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (see note)
    1 teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (don’t like them, I didn’t use)
    2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

    Combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a blender and process until completely smooth. Add the cilantro and blend for a few seconds until the cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    The taste and aroma were excellent. It was a great choice of recipe and will become my standard for Peanut Dressing.

    Chef Segal gives a recipe for the salad part in the recipe, but I didn’t follow it because I didn’t have all the ingredients and had a nice looking red cabbage head waiting to be useful so I proceeded to do the following vegetable mix but before doing anything else, I did cut the red cabbage and put it to soak in a cup of quartered vinegar and left it there until everything else was ready:

    Vegetable ingredients

    2 cups chopped red cabbage, soaked in vinegar solution, rinsed in cold water and dried
    1 large shredded carrot
    1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
    1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut in little cubes
    1 medium scallions, thinly sliced
    ½ cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

    Final assembly:
    I tossed all the ingredients together and added the Peanut Dressing.
    The results were outstanding, but it wasn’t a salad, it was more like coleslaw, actually better than the regular coleslaw, very enjoyable as such, highly recommended.
    Thank you Chef.
    JP

    • — Julio on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • I loved the dressing!

    Any thoughts on how long it will last in the refrigerator?

    • — Martha R Parmentier on August 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Martha, glad you like it! It will last nicely for up to a week in the fridge.

      • — Jenn on August 14, 2023
      • Reply
  • *chef’s kiss* that peanut dressing is exactly what I was craving on my salad – thanks so much for the recipe. I totally forgot to add the granulated sugar, too, and it was still just so damn delicious.

    • — Julia Robarts on August 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely one of my favorite salads! Have made numerous times. I gave recipe to a friend because she loved it at my house. She made it but said the dressing was thick. QUESTION…What is the best way to thin the dressing if it thickens? Just water or another ingredient? Thank you

    • — Kathy Bache on August 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, Glad you like it! You can thin the dressing out with a little water or coconut milk; just go easy so you don’t water it down.

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • LOVE this dressing. We’ve made it multiple times, but this time we quadrupled the recipe and froze in little mason jars. Now all we have to do is chop the veggies and dinner is ready! Thank you for yet another delicious recipe! 🙂

    • — Stefanie on June 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Great info!!

      • — Eca on August 2, 2023
      • Reply
    • What a brilliant idea! The dressing really is the bomb.

      • — Julia Robarts on August 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • Thanks for the salad dressing recipes, Jenn. I haven’t tried them yet but I know good recipes when I see them! Will comment on the results too, later.

    • — Mitchell Stukaloff on June 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’m not a Thai food fan, but I was looking for a different salad to try and thought I’d branch out a little. I’m so glad I did! This really is very, very good! I used jarred ginger paste because that’s what I had. I used honey but no sugar in the dressing. Also the grocery was out of green onions (gasp!!!) so I used some very thinly sliced red onion that I soaked for an hour. Came out Great!! I’ll be making this for my friends when I go see them in a few weeks. Thanks so much for the great recipe! I have a few of your other vegetarian dishes and salads book marked and will be going through and making them one by one. 🙂

    • — Kristine R on May 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • My wife absolutely loves this dressing, she keeps begging me to make more (I usually double up the recipe). She puts the dressing on everything!

    • — Josh W. on May 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • I always come back to this salad… this time 3x for a teacher/staff potluck. I subbed sun butter and GF soy sauce to make it peanut-free and celiac friendly. Slightly less honey. Worked great! Thanks!

    • — C Lu on May 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made the peanut dressing tonight for a regular garden salad and it’s delicious but I had to add some water to thin it out because it was super thick and wouldn’t really pour.
    I’ve checked the recipe over a few times and can’t see anything that I did wrong.
    Ive never tried the salad it’s inspire by so I’m not sure if it’s suppose to be really thick or what?
    I will definitely save the recipe and be making this regularly.

    • — Bran Lee on January 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Found this recipe in your cookbook – had to try it. Love, love, love the dressing! Only change I made was not adding the sugar as it was a bit too sweet! This is definitely going to be one of my top of list dressings! Salad was very good as well. Definitely a keeper!

    • — Sharon R on January 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I made with the honey lime chicken and will definitely be making again. Jen, you make trying new dishes and cooking fun. I love all your recipes and bought your cookbook for my daughter-in-law.

    • — Patricia on January 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Just made this tonight. I made a full recipe of the dressing and half of the salad. I probably used a bit more dressing than the recipe calls for because I forgot I had halved the salad but not the dressing, and it was wonderful. Saving the other half of the dressing and undressed salad separately for another day. We will be making and eating this often!

    I used crunchy natural 100% peanut butter and it was fine. Also accidentally put the cilantro in the blender with all the other dressing ingredients and that was also fine.

    • — Joan Reisman-Brill on January 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wow, this dressing is soo good. Highly recommend. Had it with carrots, purple cabbage and romaine lettuce and left over chicken. Oh the crunch

    • — A A on January 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • How long can I store the dressing refrigerated? I couldn’t finish it in one meal.

    • — Lorie JF on December 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Lorie, it will last nicely for up to a week in the fridge.

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2022
      • Reply
      • I really enjoyed this recipe. I work from home and it was nice to be able to make an easy but delicious salad. I added wonton strips, avocado, and chicken.

        • — Lupe on December 18, 2022
        • Reply
  • Fantastic dressing!! Thank you!

    • — Elaine on September 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • This salad was such a big hit at dinner last night that my guest requested seconds. It’s so over-the-top delicious that it’s insane! I paired this salad with your Beef Bulgogi and my meal was memorable. You’re the best, Jen!

    • — Gina Stevens on September 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious, especially the dressing! I used green and red cabbage, added shredded chicken and topped with crushed peanuts and Siracha!! YUM – thank you (again)!

    • — Jenny Morrow on September 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Coincidentally, I was just at our California Pizza for lunch last week. I always, always, order the this salad. I get the 1/2 portion which is huge. It is just so delicious.
    Once my brand new(4 month old)refrigerator gets a new compressor, I will make this.
    Oh, I made sure I saved the pickles! We did get a loner for the time being.

    • — Sunny Drohan on September 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Another delicious-sounding recipe. I would like to add some chicken to the salad. Would, say, 2 cups of rotisserie chicken be advisable?

    Thanks!

    • — Hannah on August 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yup, that sounds like a perfect amount. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is a definite keeper! The flavours were great. I added a bit of dried coconut and mint. SO good!

    • — debbie on August 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just remember to double the dressing recipe because it’s that good!!!

    This is my favorite go-to recipe, and when I make it at home my mom always jokes about drinking the dressing LOL

    • — Jennifer on August 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh, now that I’ve put the salad together I realize all I’ve changed is coleslaw mix for the Napa cabbage and sugar snap peas for the edamame…anyhow, it’s awesome!

    • — Susan P. West Kelowna, BC Canada on August 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve just made the dressing and have to say it is beyond delicious it’s somewhere up in the stratosphere of scrumptious!!! I’m making the salad with coleslaw mix, chopped sugar snap peas, grated carrot & red pepper, serving with large, wild caught Argentina shrimp and cilantro & chicken stuffed mini-wantons.
    However, there is also a good chance I may just put the dressing in a pretty stemmed glass and drink it 😉 – the heck with supper 😉

    • — Susan P. West Kelowna, BC Canada on August 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious!! Great for hot nights, my husband loved it. We’re making it again (already!). Dressing on the side makes it perfectly portable for the next day’s lunch. Easy to plug in a substitution when you don’t have everything on hand.

    • — Robin on July 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe, and I don’t like cucumbers, cabbage, or peppers! I made it because I love peanut sauce, and this one is fantastic! I doubled the recipe, added diced chicken, and used Swerve instead of sugar. All flavors complimented each other deliciously. My husband turned to me during dinner and said it’s a keeper. I agree.

    • — Laurie on July 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • This recipe is really forgiving and you can swap ingredients, the dressing is delicious, and it is perfect if you have GF, DF and/or vegan folks to feed. It is really hearty and everyone I made this for loves it. I can’t eat peanuts and make with almond butter and top with toasted sliced almonds- this recipe just works great, like most all the others in the cookbook (where I first found this)

    • — Suzanne on July 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe! I have made it several times, and it is a “go to” recipe for me.

    • — Dave H on July 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made t for Father’s Day. Amazing everyone loved it. This recipe is perfection!

    • — Mamaj on June 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • Love it!

    Thank you for all the extra details in the preparation of your recipes. They are truly helpful.

    • — Pam on June 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was wonderful. No need to thin down the dressing as it clung beautifully to every bite. I also didn’t use the sugar which was great for us. You have to love cilantro and peanut butter to enjoy this one.

    • — Suzie from AZ on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • This is to second the suggestion that the dressing is just as good–different, but just as good–without the sugar!

      • — Will Leben on January 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • I almost cried when I taste tested the dressing – it was so good. I’ve wanted a good peanut dressing for years and finally found one. Thank you so much for this great recipe!

    • — Ann on June 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • What a delicious salad! The dressing is beyond tasty! Love your recipes!!

    • — Doris on May 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • I am serving this salad, along with another salad, as a side for 8 people. I am wondering if I should double the recipe. This is the site I trust most for recipes and I am very rarely disappointed. Excellent recipes and well written.

    • — susan black on May 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, if you’re going to have another salad, I think you could get away with keeping the recipe as is (or for extra insurance, you could make 1.5 times the recipe). Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on May 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • Love this recipe just as is. I add any veggies I have but love to always use edamame and sprouts. I’m curious if there’s a way to use PB powder (as a lower-fat alternative) as a dressing ingredient?

    • — Lauren D. on April 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Lauren, so glad you like this! I’ve never worked with peanut butter powder so I can’t say for sure how it would impact the dressing but I suspect it would work. I’d love to hear how it comes out if you end up trying it!

      • — Jenn on April 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • I could take a bath in this dressing! It is so beloved amongst my family, and neighbors that I’m asked to make it for them at parties, since they only know limited English. I’ve also doubled the recipe with great success.

    • — Robin on March 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • So glad I made this for lunch today – it was perfectly delicious, and has definitely made its way onto my MA (make again) list. Thank you!

    • — Helen on March 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is simply delicious. One of my top 5 favorite salads. My husband loves it too. He generally isn’t overly enthusiastic about salads…he likes them okay but isn’t blow away by them and he said this one is REALLY GOOD. My mom asked for the recipe and makes it now too. Family favorite!

    • — Michelle G on March 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • My go-to Asian style dressing. Quick, easy and perfectly balanced. Thank you for sharing, Jenn!!

    • — Rita on March 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • I live alone. I made this salad last night for dinner. It is delicious – 5 stars. The peanut dressing is perfect. I liked the tiny bit of heat on my palate, but the next time I make it I might add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. The ingredients of each item in the salad were perfect for me – loved them all.

    I’m embarrassed to say it was the first time I ever purchased Napa cabbage. I have enough cabbage left to make another batch of this recipe in a few days.

    I have your cookbook, Once Upon a Chef, and have purchased the ingredients to make the Creamy Wild Mushroom soup. Looking forward to another delicious meal.

    Thank you,

    Paige Marshall
    LaPorte, IN

    • — Paige Marshall
    • Reply
  • My husband avoids salads, UNTIL NOW! He LOVES this salad and so do I. I cannot wait to serve it to guests and have already notified friends who love to cook and eat well that they should make this recipe(and visit your site for others) because it can be prepped ahead for a quick to serve meal that is wonderful! I had it with salmon, my husband with chicken, and the extra dressing spooned over the meat was a real treat!

    Time to order your cookbooks. I have time to try out LOTS of recipes, and hope to give copies to several friends next Christmas if all goes as I expect it will. Thank you so much for such tasty, healthy, and simple to prepare recipes so carefully presented.

    • Sooooooooo Good!!! I could not find edamame at my local grocery store, but I did find a bag of frozen mukimame (precooked and shelled edamame) so I decided to give it a try. I was doubtful using defrosted, previously frozen beans would taste alright in this salad, but I was pleasantly surprised. Plus all the work of cooking and shelling the beans, was already done for me – bonus!! I added chicken to make this a delicious lunch (or dinner). Definitely a keeper – thanks for sharing!!

      • — Denise K. on May 29, 2022
      • Reply
  • We LOVE this recipe. We leave out the cucumber and sprinkle roasted peanuts on the top at the end as a garnish. We also add rotisserie chicken if we have it to make a hearty meal.

    • Also, we often use bagged coleslaw mix to make super quick prep.

    • Another winner! The dressing is the bomb and came together very quickly. I used my food processor. For the salad, I used a bag of shredded cabbage, then added the green onions, chopped up mini cucumbers, edamame, and chopped red peppers. I added some grilled chicken breast and it was out of this world! Love the blend of flavors.

      • — Carol D on May 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • This salad is so delicious. I’ve made it four times lately for company and it’s been enjoyed by all. I would cut down on the sugar next time. I add chopped snap peas instead of the edamame beans. So good and crisp.
    Thanks Jenn for this great idea for a refreshing healthy salad.

  • delicious!
    added a dash of fish sauce to the dressing… it’s just not thai without a little bit o that wonderful funk!

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