Pad Thai Salad is made with summer fresh vegetables, baked tofu, and spicy peanut dressing. Inspired by my favorite peanutty pad Thai, it's hearty enough to be a meal on its own. This easy recipe is vegan with a gluten-free option.
Pad Thai Salad
I originally created this recipe in Rouxbe’s Professional Plant-Based Certification program way back in 2015. The challenge I was given was to make a side dish, soup, or salad using a leafy green and a starchy vegetable. We had to use two different knife cuts and one cooking technique. I decided to make a salad inspired my favorite spicy peanutty stir-fry, using julienned vegetables and baked, cubed tofu. I’m happy to say that received 100% on the assignment – and I got to eat this tasty dish as my reward to doing well.
I altered the recipe a little a year or two later, after receiving a co-op share containing two large heads of lettuce, some carrots, a head of napa cabbage, and some tiny Japanese salad turnips. I added the turnips and threw some cabbage into the salad.
The original salad was called Stir-Fry Salad. I later changed the name to Pad Thai Salad, because it reminded me of my favorite peanutty pad Thai. Pad Thai salads often include cold noodles, so feel free to add some, if you'd like.
How to Make Pad Thai Salad
This recipe is super easy to make!
- First you mix together the dressing ingredients in a blender.
- Then you mix together all of the salad ingredients.
- Next you toss in the tofu, drizzle on the dressing, and top your salad with sliced scallions and chopped peanuts.
Home-baked tofu is about a hundred times better than store-bought baked tofu, so I like to use my favorite baked tofu in this recipe. You can use store-bought baked tofu, if you're pressed for time. You'll need two 7-ounce packages. If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure your tofu doesn't contain soy sauce, which is made with wheat.
Spicy Peanut Dressing
Oh how I love peanut dressing! This sauce is better than anything I’ve ever poured from a bottle. It's super easy to whip up a batch, especially if you have a high-speed blender like a Blendtec. If you'd rather use store-bought dressing, you can. If you have a peanut allergy, you can use sunbutter or almond butter.
How to Customize your Pad Thai Salad
It's easy to make this recipe your own!
- Instead of romaine lettuce, you can use any type of leafy green, including baby spinach or kale.
- If you don't want to use baked tofu, you can use cooked chickpeas or shelled edamame.
- You can add 4 ounces of cooked rice noodles, to give your salad more of a pad Thai feel.
- I originally created this salad using salad turnips, which came in a co-op veggie share. If you can get your hands on some, use them instead of radishes.
Pad Thai Salad
For the Dressing:
- ⅓ cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste or sriracha
For the Salad:
- 6 cups romaine lettuce shredded
- 2 cups napa cabbage shredded
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 2 carrots shredded
- 6 radishes thinly sliced
- 1 recipe My Favorite Baked Tofu (or two 7-ounce packages store-bought baked tofu)
- 2 scallions sliced
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts chopped
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender or in a cup with an immersion blender.
- Mix the lettuce, cabbage, sprouts, bell pepper, carrots, and salad turnips or radishes together in a large bowl. Toss in the tofu. Drizzle the dressing on top and garish with the scallions and peanuts.
Other Salad Recipes You Might Enjoy Include:
- Asian-Inspired Spicy Chickpea and Cabbage Salad
- Thai Noodle Salad
- Chinese Tofu Salad from Wait, That’s Vegan?! by Lisa Dawn Angerame
- Mandarin Orange Salad
More recipes made with peanut sauce include:
- Peanutty Thai Quinoa Salad
- Carrot Noodles with Peanut Sauce from Vegan for Everyone by Laura Theodore
- Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
- Peanutty Pad Thai Zoodles