Healthy Thai Salads

Enjoy the fresh and bold flavors of Southeast Asia in a bowl

Thai flavors are fresh and bold. With a beautiful mix of herbs, spices, and the greenest of produce, these preparations burst with flavor, are low in fat, and are naturally low in calories. Fruits like grapefruit, mango, and papayas mix with chicken, beef, crab, or shrimp in tangy lemon dressing or creamy coconut sauces. There's a salad for everyone in our collection.

Remember that most calories in a salad come from fatty dressings, so keep yours on the side if you're trying to watch your weight.

  • 01 of 14

    Beautiful Thai Summer Grapefruit Salad

    Beautiful Thai Summer Grapefruit Salad!
    Beautiful Thai Summer Grapefruit Salad!. D.Schmidt for About.com

    This fresh and lively summer salad mixes grapefruit and shrimp with fresh summer vegetables and herbs. This is one of the most famous of all Thai salads, and a favorite among the Thai people, although in Thailand they use pomelo, a citrus fruit similar to our pink grapefruit. The dressing doesn't have added oils, so it's a perfect low-calorie and nutritious addition.

    This salad makes a terrific lunch, side salad, or even a beautiful starter to any Thai or Asian-style meal. Ready in 25 minutes.

  • 02 of 14

    Juicy Waterfall Beef Salad

    Thai Beef

    Takeaway / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    This beef salad recipe offers a feast of flavors and textures with every bite. It's based on the famous Thai "Waterfall Beef," which takes its name from the splashing sound of marinated pieces of beef juices falling onto a hot grill. The beef is lightly grilled or oven-broiled, thinly sliced, and then served with a mixture of greens and fresh papaya. The dressing of fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, cayenne, and sugar gives the perfect tang to this hearty preparation.

    Serve as the main course for an exquisite dinner that's naturally high in protein and low in carbs. Ready in 32 minutes.

  • 03 of 14

    Thai Chicken Salad With Fresh Basil and Mint

    Thai grilled chicken salad

     D.Schmidt/The Spruce

    This Thai chicken salad is easy to make and low in calories and fat while still really tasty. The chicken is marinated in a light peppercorn marinade, then grilled (or oven-broiled) and served over a bed of cool greens with a tangy Thai dressing, fresh basil, and mint.

    The dressing is made out of lemongrass, makrut lime, fish sauce, garlic, sugar, coriander, chili sauce, and a little bit of brown sugar that gives the tangy mixture a perfectly sweet balance. Ready in 50 minutes.

  • 04 of 14

    Low-Carb Pad Thai Noodle Salad

    Pad Thai Noodle Salad

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    If you like Asian noodle salads, try this delicious dish featuring bold Thai flavors and an abundance of textures: a tangy tamarind dressing coats shrimp, rice noodles, vegetables, and crunchy peanuts. Light in calories and fat, it's also naturally gluten-free.

    Ready in just 30 minutes, this salad is packed with protein and fiber, making it a healthy and light lunch or dinner. Serve 6 shrimp per person as an appetizer, or 10 to 12 if you're making it a main.

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Thai Mango Chicken Salad

    Thai Mango Chicken Salad
    D.Schmidt

    This visually appealing and delicious salad is remarkably low in calories and fat, and although it requires many ingredients, it's fairly easy to make. Mangoes, peanuts, pepper, cucumbers, beans sprouts, coconut, onions, and basil are the base of the salad. Top it with marinated chicken and coat with a tangy and sweet dressing.

    This salad is a great main dish, full of fiber and protein. Ready in 42 minutes, or 10 if you're using already cooked chicken.

  • 06 of 14

    Thai Crab Salad with Coconut-Lime Dressing

    Thai Crab Salad
    D.Schmidt

    This crab salad is delightfully creamy thanks to the fat in the coconut milk. Thinly sliced cabbage is the base of the salad, and onion, bean sprouts, and carrots add more crunch and texture. Use cooked or canned crab for a quick version, and simply mix all the dressing ingredients and pour over the mixed salad ingredients. Crunchy peanuts and fresh coriander top the salad.

    Ready in 25 minutes.

  • 07 of 14

    Thai Cucumber Salad

    cucumber thai salad

    The Spruce 

    This cucumber salad is easy to make and brimming with the quintessential tastes of Thai cooking. Thinly slice cucumbers and mix them with shallots, green onions, cilantro, and peanuts. Then make a sweet-savory dressing of soy, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Mix and eat!

    If you need a vegan version, skip the fish sauce and add more soy to the dressing, and if there are peanut allergies, use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead. Ready in 10 minutes.

  • 08 of 14

    Thai Fruit Salad With Coconut-Lime Dressing

    Tropical Fruit Salad (Served here in a Pineapple)
    Tropical Fruit Salad (Served here in a Pineapple). Taken by D.Schmidt for About.com (Copyright)

    This healthy Thai fruit salad is visually appealing thanks to the pineapple boat in which it is served. Use papayas, starfruit, pineapples, mangoes, lychees, and any other fruit that you'd like. Cut them in pretty shapes using cookie cutters and dress in a creamy coconut-lime dressing.

    For a dessert version, top the boat with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Ready in 15 minutes.

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Green Mango Salad

    Thai green mango salad

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Our mango salad has amazing flavors and a unique blend of textures. Low in calories and fat, it makes a great appetizer or side dish. For a main dish, add cooked shrimp, chicken, pork, or deep-fried tofu.

    Mix coconut, mango, bean sprouts, coriander, onions, and peanuts, then dress with a spicy no-oil dressing. Use cashews instead of peanuts if you'd prefer; pine nuts are also a nice mild-flavored nut that is a great addition to this salad. Ready in 20 minutes.

  • 10 of 14

    Pineapple-Cucumber Salad with Peppers and Peanuts

    Crunchy Thai Cashew Salad!
    Crunchy Thai Cashew Salad!. D.Schmidt for About.com

    This easy salad is simply scrumptious. Toss some pineapple chunks (fresh or canned) with cucumber, green onion, slices of red pepper, and peanuts together in an easy homemade Thai salad dressing of lime and soy with fish sauce and shrimp paste.

    If you want to give it more body and make it a main dish, grill chicken or shrimp, season it well with salt, pepper, cayenne, lime juice, and paprika, and add it on top. Ready in 20 minutes.

  • 11 of 14

    Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)

    Som tam thai recipe

    The Spruce 

    This salad is popular in most areas of Thailand. Slightly tart in flavor thanks to the green papaya, spicy from the chile pepper, salty from the shrimp paste and fish sauce, and sweet from honey, all these flavors make a unique and beautiful salad. Nutritious, high in fiber, and low in calories, this salad can be made vegan is you skip the fish sauce in the dressing.

    Add grilled chicken or shrimp on top to make it a main dish, or serve it as a refreshing appetizer. Ready in 25 minutes.

  • 12 of 14

    Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad)

    Larb Gai

    The Spruce

    Larb salad is common in Thailand and can be served topped with beef, chicken, or pork. The key ingredient is fresh mint, so don't skip it because it adds a wonderful color and flavor. Arugula, known for its peppery flavor, makes a bold green base to which you add onions, basil, peppers, cucumbers, peanuts, shallots, and makrut leaves. A simple spicy dressing covers the preparations.

    We used chicken in our recipe but feel free to substitute it for the animal protein of your choice, or a vegan alternative like tofu or tempeh. Ready in 28 minutes.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Thai Green Salad with Creamy Coconut Dressing

    Roamine for a green salad

    Kanawa_Studio/Getty Images

    This easy tossed green salad recipe can be put together in a matter of minutes. Thai green salad makes a wonderfully cooling side dish to spicy Thai curries and other Thai recipes but is equally excellent for everyday meals. A low-calorie dressing, which can be made as spicy as you'd like, coats a mixture of romaine, cucumbers, cilantro, basil, and peanuts.

    Make it a side dish as is, or add marinated and cooked chicken, beef, pork, fish, or shrimp. Skip the fish sauce and use grilled tofu, seitan, or tempeh for your vegetarian and vegan friends, and replace the soy sauce for aminos if you want to make it gluten-free. Ready in 15 minutes.

  • 14 of 14

    Weeping Tiger Grilled Beef Salad

    Thai beef salad
    James de Wall / Getty Images

    This Thai beef salad is named after the famous Thai grilled beef called "weeping tiger beef." Either a tiger cried when a hunter took the cow he was eating for lunch, or the salad is so spicy that it makes a tiger weep. In any case, you'd want to try this dish. Use good quality beef, sirloin as suggested, marinate it, quickly grill it, and serve it over a salad of greens with tomatoes and fresh herbs.

    A flavor-popping Thai dressing of chile peppers, soy, sugar, and fish sauce gives the salad a bold and spicy flavor. Use half the chiles and taste before adding more. Ready in 35 minutes.