Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce | Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free
Heard of Meatless Monday? Well, we’ve got a new one for you: Salad Sunday. Now hear me out. I used to think salads were one thing: B, O, R, I, N, G. Think iceberg lettuce, pinkish unripe tomatoes, and cardboard-y carrot shreds. You know the type, that kind that only goes down with a healthy smothering of ranch. This is not that type of salad. A good salad is a beautiful rainbow bowl of nutrients, full of contrasting textures and flavors. It should taste like a million bucks, and be able to satisfy even the most passionate meat-and-potatoes eater.
We think this Thai Salad can stand up to the test (we hope!). The crunchy vegetables and warm, crisp-sauteed tofu are drizzled in an addicting creamy peanut sauce, then topped with peanuts, cilantro, and lime. If you’re not a tofu fan, try substituting sauteed chicken, shrimp, or cooked and shelled edamame for the protein. As it stands, the salad is gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free, so it works for a variety of diets as well. There’s a lot going on in this bowl, since the more varied and interesting the flavors and textures of a salad, the more satisfying it is (read: less temptation for post-dinner snacking for me!).
Back to Salad Sundays. What better a way to end the weekend and start the week than with a tradition of a healthy, delicious salad? There’s something comforting about having a dinner idea already planned (much like Pizza Fridays), and this one has endless riffs. You could use this dressing as a concept for your own salad, but customize the veggies and proteins by using what you like or have on hand. Without fail, when Alex and I are looking for a quick, easy meal, some sort of main dish salad makes a frequent appearance at our table, so we’re on board with this no-frills Sunday evening type of fare.
We wish we had thought of the Salad Sundays concept ourselves, but alas: Earthbound Farm Organic beat us to it! We created this recipe for them as part of their Salad Sundays initiative, and it’s already a favorite in our house. (That dressing!). We’ll also share a few of our favorite main dish salads below. And join us in tagging your favorite salads — using #SaladSunday!
How about you: main dish salads; yay or nay?
Our Favorite Main Dish Salads:Print
- 14-ounce package extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 2 green onions
- ¼ red cabbage
- 4 carrots
- 10 ounces Earthbound Farm Organic Half & Half Baby Spinach and Spring Mix
- 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
- Cilantro, to garnish
- Lime wedges, to garnish
- Remove the tofu from the package and blot it dry with a clean dish towel. With tofu block flat, slice it into 3 long strips, and cut the strips in half crosswise. Slice each piece into thirds.
- On a non-stick griddle or large skillet over low heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the tofu on the griddle, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping every few minutes, until light brown and crisp on both sides. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, and then cut into smaller bite-sized pieces if desired.
- In a small bowl, whisk together coconut milk, peanut butter, soy, lime, honey, and kosher salt. Taste, and add additional peanut butter if desired (we added 1 additional tablespoon).
- Thinly slice the peppers, green onions and cabbage. Shred the carrots (using a julienne peeler, or us a vegetable peeler to make ribbons).
- To serve, place greens in a bowl. Top with vegetables and tofu and drizzle with dressing, then garnish with crushed peanuts, cilantro leaves, and a squeeze of lime.
This Thai Salad recipe was sponsored by Earthbound Farm Organic. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who keep A Couple Cooks in action!
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.