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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.

Bowls of 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. If you have a hankering for an Asian-inspired salad that is a meal in itself, this soba chicken noodle salad is totally satisfying and this Vietnamese shredded chicken salad uses rotisserie chicken so it’s a cinch to prepare).

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.

“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!”


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

What you’ll need to make the peanut dressing

Peanut dressing ingredients including honey, rice vinegar, and lime.
  • Creamy Peanut Butter: Provides the rich, nutty base essential for the dressing’s flavor and texture.
  • Unseasoned Rice Vinegar: Adds tanginess and helps balance the richness of the peanut butter.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: Introduces a zesty citrus note and a bit of tang, enhancing the overall freshness of the dressing.
  • Vegetable Oil: Helps emulsify the ingredients and provides a smooth consistency.
  • Soy Sauce: Contributes savory depth and a touch of umami flavor.
  • Honey and Sugar: Sweeten the dressing, balancing out the acidity and saltiness.
  • Garlic Cloves and Fresh Ginger: Infuse aromatic and pungent notes, adding complexity to the flavor profile.
  • Salt: Enhances other flavors and helps balance the sweetness.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Provide a subtle heat and depth of flavor.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Adds a bright, herbaceous flavor and a pop of color to the dressing.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

What you’ll need to make Thai crunch salad

Salad ingredients including carrots, English cucumber, and edamame.
  • Chopped Napa Cabbage or Shredded Coleslaw Mix: Forms the base of the salad, providing crunch and freshness. (I like to toss in a little shredded red cabbage for color.)
  • Shredded Carrots: Add sweetness and color, enhancing the visual appeal of the salad. Buying the bagged shredded carrots at the supermarket saves time!
  • Red Bell Pepper: Contributes vibrant color and a crisp texture.
  • English Cucumber: Also known as hothouse cucumbers, offer a refreshing and crunchy element to the salad.
  • Cooked and Shelled Edamame: Provides plant-based protein, a subtle nutty flavor, and adds substance to the salad.
  • Scallions: Impart a mild onion flavor and a pop of green color, enhancing the overall freshness.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Adds a fragrant and herbaceous note, elevating the flavor profile of the salad.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

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.

Dressing ingredients in a blender.

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.)

Cilantro in a blender with dressing ingredients.

It will look like this.

Blender of 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 vegetables on a cutting board.

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

Spoon removing the seeds from a cucumber.

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

Bowl of unmixed vegetables.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Thai peanut dressing ahead of time?

Definitely! The dressing keeps nicely refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.

Can I make Thai crunch salad ahead of time?

While you can make the dressing and prepare the veggies ahead (the veggies can be prepped up to 2 days in advance), wait until you’re ready to serve the salad to toss everything together.

Is there a substitute for the peanut butter?

Sure, you can use almond butter in place of peanut butter.

What is a good substitute for the cilantro?

You can replace the cilantro with flat-leaf parsley. The salad and dressing will still be delicious!

Bowls of Thai crunch salad with peanut dressing.

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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


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


  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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  • We all loved it , I didn’t add the sugar and chopped half a mango in as well.

    • — Cynthia Walker
    • Reply
  • delicious! I didn’t add the maple syrup or sugar. It doesn’t need it! also thinned it with some water

  • Amazing on how all the spices blend so well.

  • Absolutely delicious! The only change I made was to cut the sugar down by half. Thank you!!!

  • Wow, I finally found the best salad dressing. Great job!

  • This is absolutely delicious and when paired with the honey, lime, sriracha chicken it’s the best dinner ever. How long will the dressing last so I can have it on hand? Thank you

    • So glad you enjoyed it! The dressing should last for up to a week.

  • Excellent recipe … fun to make, and more fun to eat.

  • Best salad I have ever tasted!!
    Absolutely amazing!!

  • Delicious! Add a little water to the dressing to thin out the dressing a little, but it’s amazing

    • — Stacy chernett
    • Reply
  • This salad is light and refreshing and delicious – perfect for a hot summer day! But please don’t use vegetable oil – it’s refined and processed; a trans fat, which negatively affects your heart health. Use extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil instead.

  • Hi.
    Just trying to figure out the difference between the ThaI crunch salad or the Asian slaw? Is it just lime?

    • — Nicole McBurney
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicole, they are quite similar, but there are some very minor differences in both the dressing and the salad.

  • delicious, easy and healthy!

  • Have made this multiple times and love it. The dressing is great over pasta. If I want to add protein…shrimp or shredded chicken?

    • — Carol Winkelman
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! I’ve topped this with shredded chicken but shrimp would be delicious too. 🙂

      • I love, love , love this salad! Great recipe! I will be making this many times! Thanks Jenn!

  • Delicious! I also cut down on the sugar by half, but left in the honey. It’s still very sweet on it’s own, but considering this is going on a big, undressed salad, it needs a lot of the flavors to be very pronounced, as not to get lost in all the veg. Used crunchy peanut butter to add more texture and peanut flavor. Along with some poached chicken slices, it made for a satisfying dinner.

  • This is excellent and makes a huge amount! Used a small head of Napa cabbage and this easily feeds 6. Couldn’t find edamame, but toasted sliced almonds worked well. Also used 3 packets of stevia instead of sugar and taste was great! Mixed 1/2 with 1/2 dressing, so the rest will stay fresh and crisp for tomorrow. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • We had this last night with the sriracha chicken. Amazing recipe and it is definitely restaurant quality. Making it again tonight. Another winner.

    • — Patticakes in Darien
    • Reply
  • Ok seriously, this was phenomenal. The only changes I made was adding a couple extra veggies in the salad but the dressing I made exactly as the recipe states. Guys, ITS SO GOOD! The dressing is so delicious my boyfriend is topping it on everything including dipping his sushi in it! Sounds weird, I know, but this dressing is out of this world. Had to make a double batch 3x!!!! Great great great great recipe! I’ve spent so much money at the Cheesecake Factory on their Thai Chicken Salad so eventually I scoured the internet for a substitution that would do the trick and this went way beyond what I was expecting! I’ll never have to spend $24 on a Thai salad again! Thank you thank you!

  • We love this salad! The dressing is so good! And the crunch is amazing. If you want leftovers, be aware that the cucumbers wilt after the first few hours. I use a can of water chestnuts instead, so no wilting!

  • Made this tonight and it was a big hit. I had shredded rotisserie chicken breast for those who wanted to add it on top of their salad. I used Trader Joe’s cole slaw mix, ready to eat edamame and shredded carrots which cut down prep time. The dressing is fantastic and I’m not a big peanut butter fan so I was a bit hesitant but the other ingredients add a lot of flavor.

  • This is an absolutely delicious salad, I loved it and everyone else that ate it raved about how wonderful it was. This is sure to become a regular in my house!!!

  • So delicious…thank you for the recipe!

    • — Nancy B Benedetto
    • Reply
  • Has anyone tried adding SOBA noodles to this dish

  • Does it need to be vegetable oil?

    • Hi Robin, I like vegetable oil here as the flavor is very mild, but you can use a different oil if you’d like. Hope that helps!

    • Make this all the time, great salad! As usual your recipes never miss!

    • I used Avocado oil and it tasted great.

  • Great-tasting salad, and it’s pretty, too! The crunch and the dressing make for an awesome combination! Was a hit at my house!

    • This was excellent! I used a bit of sesame oil and recur noodles. Very yummy.

      • Made recipe as written and ate the salad with cold rice noodles and teriyaki salmon. Oh so good! I really liked the Napa cabbage which gave a great texture. The head I bought was only $1.89. I thought it would cost more.

        I found the recipe online and was thrilled it was also in your cookbook Jenn!! So nice to read from a book instead of my phone.

  • Can you use something else in place of vegetable oil?

    • Hi Nyree, Any other neutral-tasting oil will work here.

  • Hello. Trying eat more healthy and this looks great. However, do I really need both the honey and the additional sugar? Can I leave one out without significantly impacting the final taste?

    • Hi DW, I haven’t tried it, but a few readers have commented that they’ve omitted the sugar and have still enjoyed the dressing. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Jenn I’ve made this salad twice in the last week, served with Vietnamese Meatballs and last night with the Honey Lime Sriracha chicken. All three recipes are excellent. My “girls” (daughter, daughter-in-law to be and friends) all agree your recipes are the best! I especially like the prep/cooking instructions that contribute to success. I have your cookbook and pre-ordered your next one. All the best and many thanks for being my number one, go-to recipe/cooking site (:

    • Thanks for your kind words — so glad you like the recipes! 🙂

  • I added some left over chopped grilled chicken breasts. This was so good. Perfect crunch with a bit of spicy. Delicious.

  • I have made this recipe several times and could put the dressing on everything. But it is great on the salad too. The honey lime chicken is a great accompaniment.

  • Is there anything I can replace the cilantro with? Highly allergic to it.

    • Sure, you can replace the cilantro with flat-leaf parsley. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hello, would this work with almond or cashew butter, or would that completely change the taste of the dressing?

    • Hi Alicia, either will work and the dressing will have a slightly different flavor, but will still be delicious!

  • The sauce was wayyy too acidic. Will be passing on this sauce recipe.

  • This was delicious! I was in such a rut and this met all my cravings – sweet, tangy, a little spicy, crunchy, salty and just yummy overall. I didn’t have edamame so I swapped it for blanched and salted snow peas and left out the garlic and shallots (to avoid a migraine). This recipe is a keeper!

  • I made this delish salad for lunch today. My husband and I both loved it. I had a little cooked quinoa in the refrig and put that in the bottom of the bowls, then the veggies. The only other addition was salted peanuts to the top of the bowls. Will make again soon.

  • I made this dressing and it was delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Best. Salad. Ever! I didn’t have fresh ginger so I skipped it. Dressing was still incredible.

  • I make this salad often and am always asked for the recipe. It has great flavor and depth! Also had sliced radishes for extra crunch.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • This!! This salad is one I could literally eat once a week and never tire of. My husband lovingly tells me I could “slather the dressing on a shoe” and he’d eat it. It’s that good. The variations of the salad are endless: I’ve added thinly sliced steak, chicken and a myriad of fresh crunch veggies, or I’ve gone the route of using the dressing as a dipping sauce, alongside other sauces with wings and even tofu!

  • Love this salad and the dressing crazy delicious!! I sometimes shred leftover rotisserie chicken breast and add.

  • This salad is colorful, crunchy, healthy and yummy. The dressing makes it even more fabulous. Sometimes I make a mixture of plain ramen noodles and slivered almonds cooked in melted butter till browned. I let that cool spread out on paper towels and then sprinkle on top of the salad. If we are wanting protein with this, I marinate 1# chicken tenders in 6 tsp. Hoisin sauce and 3 tsp. sesame oil for 15 minutes. Then dredge each one in a mixture of Panko and sesame seeds and cook in oiled skillet until golden brown. Because of all the colors of the vegetables, it really makes a nice presentation. With or without the chicken, it is a meal in itself.
    Thank you, Jenn.

  • This is such a great salad! I usually double the recipe for the dressing and use it all week. I also like to add some shredded rotisserie chicken.

  • I love this salad dressing! My friends love it whenever I make this salad dressing (which is quite often). Things I did change was decrease the sugar to 1 tablespoon. Instead of 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, I changed it to 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. I prefer the siracha instead of the crushed red pepper flakes because it blends better.

    This salad goes well with the Vietnamese-style Meatballs with Chili Sauce.

    Thank you for all your recipes!

    • — Lillian Shiiba
    • Reply
  • I love this salad. It does take a long time to make so I have to plan ahead of time if I want to make it. Well worth the time and the effort. Great to serve at a friends and family gathering – when we can safely do that again.

  • The dressing is out of this world amazing. Always looking for new ways to incorporate salads into my meal plans and this is amazing. Have made it several times for several different crowds and always a hit

  • My all-time favorite salad to make for family potlucks! Its such an easy, crisp, clean and healthy recipe and my entire family loves it!

  • Great recipe! I always make as directed, and it makes quite a bit, so I just dress just the portion we are planning to eat, and then store the veggies and rest of the dressing separately in the fridge. As long as you take the seeds out of the cucumber, the veggies will stay fresh for 3 or 4 days, and you can add the dressing as you go. I have packed it for lunches, too, and again, it is much tastier and fresher tasting if you toss the veggies in the dressing right before you eat.

  • This salad is delicious and nutritious! The dressing has so many layers of flavor and is what makes this dish exceptional. The recipe is one of my go-to favorites!

    • — Corinne McCombs
    • Reply
  • This salad has been a favorite of mine for years now! Jenn got the perfect ratio of flavors in the dressing ingredients. I often make this when I entertain guests and always get requests for the recipe.

  • Oh my I have made this recipe so many times and it is addictive. I could eat it everyday!!! Thanks so much for a great recipe.

  • Love this salad! I could eat it everyday. It truly is a 5-star salad, hence the rating, and would be a wonderful dish to bring to a holiday, potluck, etc. The only thing is it’s pretty labor intensive. A ton of chopping. I think this took me at least 30 min to prepare, and because you need a blender for the dressing, lots of dishes. Still deserves 5 stars. Just go into it knowing how long it will take you. This isn’t something you can just whip up.

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