Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce is a delicious change-up from your usual chicken salad. Perfect for lunch or dinner, this salad is packed with a mixture of crisp fruits and vegetables like bell pepper, shredded cabbage, carrots, cucumber, and fresh mango. It’s tossed with flavorful herbs like scallions, cilantro, basil, mint, and a luxurious peanut dressing.
Everything you’ll need to make Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce
Quick heads up: the ingredient list is going to look pretty long. But even though it requires a decent amount of ingredients, I assure you, this recipe is super easy to make. All of these ingredients are all super important in flavoring this dish.
The herbs here are especially important. You see, when you try to lighten-up dishes, sometimes that means you need to add extra ingredients to get that same flavor. For this recipe, I rely heavily on all of the herbs to give this dish it’s bright flavor, without costing a ton of calories or points.
If you can’t stand the taste of cilantro, I get it. You can leave it out; but I urge you not to omit all of the herbs. Even if you think you don’t like mint, add it. It gives it that authentic Thai flavor.
- chicken breast – you will need 4 cups of cooked chicken breast. For this recipe, I poach my chicken. I have included directions on how to do this in the recipe card. If you are poaching your chicken, you will need the following:
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- a lime
- ground ginger
- kosher salt
- salad ingredients
- red bell pepper
- shredded cabbage
- shredded carrots
- peanut sauce ingredients
- powdered peanut butter (like this one)
- low sodium soy sauce
- sesame oil
- lime juice
All about powdered peanut butter
So, what is powdered peanut butter, and why do I use it here? For starters, powdered peanut butter is really just ground up peanuts, mixed with some sugar and salt. It comes in a powder format, and you mix it with either water or milk to bring it together. You can add just a little liquid to make it thicker in consistency, or add more liquid to make it thinner and easy to drizzle.
It’s way lower in calories than traditional peanut butter, 2 tablespoons is just 60 calories as compared to a traditional peanut butter, which is around 190 calories for 2 tablespoons. It’s great for baking, or for adding a peanut flavor to smoothies. I love using it here, because when mixed with soy sauce and the other dressing ingredients, it creates a delicious peanut sauce without all the added calories and fat.
Even though I use powdered peanut butter pretty regularly, I could never, ever, just eat it off a spoon like I do with real peanut butter. It’s definitely not the same in that case. It’s a great substitute for the scenarios I listed above, though!
You can find powdered peanut butter right in the peanut butter aisle of your supermarket, usually on the top shelf. There are tons of brands to choose from, I don’t recommend any one particular brand over another. They’re all pretty comparable!
How to poach the chicken for Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce
If you’ve made any of my chicken salad recipes, you know I am a fan of poaching chicken. Mostly because it’s just so quick and easy. It’s a great way to cook your chicken quickly while you prepare the other ingredients. Poached chicken shreds really easily, and it comes out really moist and flavorful.
You can always use a rotisserie chicken for this, and skip this entire step altogether. But, I find that poaching my own chicken is more inexpensive than buying an already-cooked chicken, and you can control the ingredients and flavor profile better this way.
To poach the chicken, simply place the raw chicken breast in a large pot. Next, add the juice of one lime, and then throw the lime halves right in the pot with the chicken breast. Then, add your ground ginger, salt and pepper.
Next, cover the chicken with cold water. Make sure everything is submerged under the water. Place the pot on the stove with a lid, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the water to a rapid simmer, and cook uncovered. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. You can determine that by using a meat thermometer like this one.
When the chicken has reached the internal temperature of 165, remove it from the pan and place it on a cutting board to cool. Then, shred it using two forks. This method will yield 4 cups of cooked chicken breast.
How to make the salad
While the chicken is cooking away, it’s time to prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. This part is super easy. To make the salad, just add your shredded cabbage and shredded carrots to a large mixing bowl. Next, slice up your red bell pepper strips and add those in, too. For the cucumber, peel the skin off, and then use the vegetable peeler to peel the cucumber itself into thin strips. Once you get down to the last bits of cucumber, use your knife to chop them up.
I like using shaved cucumber here, because it just kind of melts into the other salad ingredients and absorbs the flavors really well, as opposed to chopping the cucumber up.
Next, add your mango chunks and all of the herbs, and stir to combine. Add the shredded chicken in last.
Making the peanut sauce, topping and serving
To make the peanut sauce, simply whisk all of the sauce ingredients together. It will become thick and velvety-looking. Pour the dressing right on top of the salad, and toss with tongs to coat. To garnish the salad, add the peanuts and some extra herbs.
Frequently asked questions
How do I store this for meal prep?
I recommend adding the dressing to the salad all at once. As the salad sits with the dressing on it all week, it gets even better in my opinion. You can, however, store the dressing in individual servings on the side, and dress the salad right before eating.
Do you eat this warm or cold?
I eat this salad cold, especially since there is fruit inside.
What is the serving size?
The serving size of this salad is 2 cups.
Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce
- mixing bowl
- large pot
- 2 lbs chicken breast raw
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tsp ginger ground
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cucumber
- 2 cups mango 2 mangoes, can use frozen chunks (be sure to defrost)
- 2 scallions
- 1/4 cup cilantro fresh
- 2 tbsp mint leaves fresh
- 1/4 cup basil fresh
- 3/4 cup powdered peanut butter
- 3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp honey
- .5 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup peanuts chopped
Poaching the Chicken
- Add the raw chicken breast to the bottom of a large pot.
- Add the juice of the lime, the kosher salt, pepper, and the ginger. Throw in the juiced lime halves as well.
- Cover the contents of the pot with water.
- Place the lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a rapid simmer.
- Simmer the chicken for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, and place on a cutting board to cool.
- Once cooled, shred the chicken using two forks.
Making the Salad
- Thinly slice the red bell pepper.
- Peel the skin from the cucumber and discard. Then peel the cucumber into thin strips using the vegetable peeler.
- Add the pepper strips, cucumber strips, carrots, cabbage, chicken, and mango, cilantro, basil, scallions and mint to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
Making the Peanut Sauce and Serving
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add a little dressing at a time to the salad, making sure to toss everything so its coated evenly.
- Top with the chopped peanuts. Garnish with extra herbs and lime wedges.
- 6 WW points (green plan)
- 4 WW points (blue and purple plans)