Thai Green Salad

Thai green salad with romaine lettuce

Kanawa Studio / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
180 Calories
11g Fat
20g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 995mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Protein 8g
Calcium 438mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Thai green salad makes a wonderfully cooling side dish to spicy curries, pad thai, and other Thai favorites, but it's also an unexpected treat for non-Asian meals, too. This easy recipe can be put together in a matter of minutes and includes a simple Thai-inspired salad dressing that's delicious, fresh, and slightly creamy. The dressing is also healthy and can be made as mild or as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes.

If you haven't worked with fish sauce before, which is an ingredient in this salad dressing, you might be taken aback by it. Fish sauce might not have the most pleasant odor, but it tastes better than it smells and it's typically used in a balanced fashion so it's not as overpowering as you might think. It's also a key ingredient in Thai dishes, so it's imperative that you don't skip it because of its unappetizing aroma.


  • 4 cups romaine or green leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 to 1 cucumber (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 green (spring) onions (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts or cashews (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Wash the lettuce, dry thoroughly, and put it in a large salad bowl.

  2. Slice the cucumber lengthwise into thick matchstick-like pieces and add to the bowl. For a fancier presentation, use a potato peeler and peel the cucumber into long, thin ribbons. If the slices turn out too long to eat easily, cut them in half or in thirds.

  3. Add the cucumber and cilantro to the salad bowl and toss all the ingredients together.

  4. To make the dressing, combine the coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and brown sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add crushed red pepper flakes to your preferred level of spiciness.

  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. Top with the sliced green onions, basil, and chopped peanuts or cashews. Edible flowers can also be added to dress up the dish. Serve immediately.


  • When making this salad for dinner parties, prepare the dressing and bowl of greens ahead of time, keeping them separate. When ready to eat, toss the salad with the dressing and plate it, adding the onion and basil on top.
  • Coconut milk becomes somewhat solid when refrigerated. If you've refrigerated the salad dressing, simply take it out a few minutes early and let it sit at room temperature. Give it a stir and it's ready to use.
  • Double the salad dressing recipe and keep any extra in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to be used for all your salad needs.

Recipe Variations

  • Entree salad: Marinate slices of raw beef or chicken in soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and sesame oil for at least an hour. Saute until cooked through and use the protein such as cooked tofu, edamame, or shrimp, to top the salad for an entrée.
  • Gluten-free: Replace the soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos, both of which are gluten-free.