Pad Thai Salad

Pad Thai Salad

Photos like this one may give the impression that our lives are full only of the freshest ingredients, and that we expertly cook and eat beautifully styled meals each day. Let me be the first to admit that my dinner this evening consisted of some brown rice, cottage cheese, and a piece of chocolate, and for Alex a pickle, some refried beans, and a Clif bar. And we’ll most certainly have popcorn later. (Darn popcorn addiction.)

The good thing about eating is that you don’t have to be perfect. Which is hard, for people who feel like they have to have it all figured out in order to start. Or that there should be some sort of consequence or guilt for messing up.

To us, eating healthy is about embracing good things, enjoying splurges in moderation, and starting small, with what you know you can handle — be it one salad at a time. This salad is a pretty tasty one to start with. It does take a while to prepare the fresh ingredients and the dressing, but it’s well worth it for the flavor. And while it doesn’t taste exactly like noodle dish of the same name, the flavors and textures are quite reminiscent. We were huge fans and hope you’ll enjoy too! It makes for a lovely light lunch, or side dish to contribute to a shared meal.

Thanks to Cupcakes and Kale for the inspiration. And we used chard from our friend Anita of Homestead Growers, who will be stepping down next Saturday from many years selling at Indy’s farmer’s markets. Thanks to Anita for your hard work, smiling face and friendship!

Did you make this recipe?

If you make this pad thai salad, we’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture and mention @acouplecooks on Facebook or Instagram.

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free


Pad Thai Salad

1 Star (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4


  • 2 large bunches chard
  • ½ small red cabbage
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 green onions
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups bean sprouts


  1. Tear the leaves from the chard and discard the stems; then thinly slice the leaves (chiffonade). Shred the red cabbage and carrots (a food processor makes for quick work). Thinly slice the green onions. Chop the peanuts and cilantro.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 tablespoon water, juice from 1/2 lime, 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
  3. Place chard, cabbage, carrots, and green onions on a plate, then top with fresh cilantro and bean sprouts. Drizzle with dressing and top with chopped peanuts.


Inspired by Cupcakes and Kale


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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    April 23, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    So true!! Food blogging makes bloggers lives seem perfect. Everything always looks so pretty, but know really sees the mess that sits just outside of the photo. And know one would ever think that your dinner came from a bag, or a box, or from the freezer section!

    This salad is my salad! I love pad Thai, well really all Thai! This looks beautiful and sounds even better!

  • Reply
    Naomi [Sugar and Spice Blog]
    April 24, 2013 at 10:04 am

    This sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    April 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Loooove this! Totally trying this asap!

  • Reply
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker
    April 24, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Hahaha I swear my friends think all i eat is homemade stuff too. I think all cooks and bakers have their indulgences, they only problem is do they have guts to admit it. Lovely take on pad thai, less heavy than the original for lunch time!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

    This looks and sounds awesome. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    Cookie and Kate
    April 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I love love love this salad concept! And, I’ll admit that a few weeks ago, I subsisted entirely on yogurt and granola and ice cream for a week. I think I had half an orange at one point, too.

    • Reply
      May 26, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Haha! Yes, it’s amazing even having a food blog you can still find plenty of nights for popcorn dinner and the like :)

  • Reply
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies
    April 25, 2013 at 9:28 am

    This is crazy–I had Pad Thai Salad for lunch this week! Yours looks much prettier than mine did, though. :)

    • Reply
      May 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Oh, how funny — we’re on the same wavelength! We saw your post about it — looked delicious!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Looks beautiful. I have never had pad thai before, but everyone else loves it, so I should probably give it a try one of these day…

  • Reply
    Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are}
    April 27, 2013 at 7:06 am

    You’re right – this looks so fresh! All your photos make me wish I had a garden right outside my kitchen door. I love shredded cabbage, and I especially like the addition of peanut butter and sriracha in this dressing! Yum! And we have a little popcorn addiction happening in our house too. . . .

    • Reply
      May 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      Haha, thank you — I’m glad to know we’re not alone with the popcorn addiction :)

  • Reply
    May 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Oh my word. Making this tonight! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Linda Poole
    June 10, 2013 at 8:24 am

    One of my favorite restaurants here in the Cleveland area closed and will reopen…but it’s taking too long. They make the BEST pad thai…since I can’t wait, I’ll be trying your recipe…which I’m sure is less calories too!

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