An easy recipe for Rainbow Thai Salad. It’s full of colorful vegetables, herbs, sweet mango, crunchy nuts, and a delicious sweet and spicy Peanut Dressing!
Unless you put your mind to it and have a game plan in place, you probably aren’t going to eat enough vegetables today.
Who ever does? It’s nearly impossible unless you devote one of your meals to some kind of giant salad.
Speaking of which:
What is the difference between Napa cabbage and regular cabbage?
Napa cabbage (also known as Chinese cabbage) is milder in flavor than regular green cabbage. It’s oblong-shaped rather than round and the leaves may be lighter in color, veering towards yellow.
The leaves are also loosely clustered around the core rather than tightly wound, so it’s easier to clean and easier to pull apart.
What is a good substitute for Napa cabbage?
Savoy cabbage is the closest match to Napa. It’s round like green cabbage but has crinkly leaves like Napa.
In a pinch, you can definitely substitute regular green cabbage. The point here is to eat your veggies!
Other lettuce varieties you can use:
No grocery store is fully-equipped to carry every single kind of baby green or exotic lettuce in the world. So if you can’t get kale or baby kale, you can definitely switch it up with something else.
My advice is to choose your favorite bag of baby salad greens, or use tender butter lettuce, iceberg, or crunchy Romaine lettuce instead. Watch out for the more flavorful varieties, though; anything with a lot of a robust taste (arugula, for example) might clash with the dressing and mint.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you and your personal preference. If you don’t like the taste of kale, you may not like baby kale or other greens with a similar flavor profile. Use what you enjoy eating, and you’re probably going to enjoy this salad!
Thai Salad Dressing Recipe
Even though this salad dressing has 9 ingredients (plus s&p), it’s mostly pantry ingredients, and a lot of very common ones at that.
Here are a few tips on the ingredients:
- Coconut aminos is a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce, but soy sauce is also tasty in this dressing.
- If you cannot be bothered with peeling and mincing fresh ginger, you can find ginger paste in a tube in the produce section of many grocery stores. It lasts for weeks in the fridge or indefinitely in the freezer.
- Last, if you don’t have rice vinegar and don’t want to buy it, cider vinegar is an excellent substitute.
Rainbow Thai Salad with Mango Recipe
For the Peanut Dressing:
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice from one lime
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Thai Salad:
- 2 cups kale thinly sliced, or baby kale
- 1 1/2 cups napa cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup carrot shredded
- 1 mango thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 8 mint leaves thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon green onions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup peanuts roughly chopped
To make the Peanut Dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, rice vinegar, coconut aminos, honey, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
- If the dressing is thick, thin with water. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper) and more red chili flakes if desired.
To assemble the Rainbow Thai Salad:
- In a large bowl, combine kale, cabbage, bell pepper, carrot, mango, cilantro, mint, and onions.
- Slowly pour the dressing over the salad, and toss until well coated. Drizzle with more dressing if desired. Top with freshly ground black pepper and roasted peanuts.