November 4, 2020
If you love a good pasta salad full of fresh ingredients and homemade dressing, this Thai Pasta Salad with chicken is going to blow you away. It’s everything you want in a salad with grilled chicken, pasta, and crispy veggies tossed in a homemade Thai Peanut Dressing!
Just look at all that color! This is the kind of dish that spells healthy without leaving you hungry two hours later. It’s satisfying, packed with protein, and a ton of Thai flavor.
Who’s ready to make it?!
What is Thai Pasta Salad?
This delicious combination of tender, grilled chicken with veggies, pasta, fresh cilantro, and crushed peanuts all tossed in a tangy Peanut Dressing might be my favorite salad ever.
The savory and sweet flavors with those crispy vegetables and crushed peanuts are a flavor explosion you want to experience.
It’s divine. Out of this world. And the best thing since Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Tacos.
Thai Pasta Salad Ingredients
Toppings are always my favorite part, and the more color the better!
Since this is a Thai inspired salad, I wanted to stay true to the flavor profile, here’s what we’ve got:
- Shredded red cabbage
- Red bell pepper
- Matchstick carrots
- Fresh cilantro
- Unsalted peanuts
- Grilled chicken breasts
- Penne pasta
- Thai Peanut Dressing, recipe below
Thai Pasta Salad Dressing
The sauce is the boss, and once you give this tangy-sweet Peanut Dressing a taste, you’ll understand what I mean when I say I could eat it with everything! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Creamy peanut butter
- Fresh lime juice
- Soy sauce
- Grated garlic cloves
- Grated ginger
- Warm water
Did you know you can make this recipe nut-free? Just omit the crushed peanuts and swap the peanut butter for sunflower butter. It doesn’t taste exactly like Peanut Dressing but it’s a close second.
How to Make Peanut Dressing
Are you ready to make the best peanut dressing you’ve ever tasted? Grab your ingredients and a bowl, and let’s get to it!
- Combine and Whisk
In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha, and warm water. Whisk to combine, and you are done!
If not using immediately, refrigerate the dressing in a lidded jar and airtight container for up to 1 week.
If you like a thinner dressing, add warm water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
You’ll want to use it for more recipes than this salad, and for that reason, double the batch and store it for up to a week. Use it as a dip for grilled chicken or vegetables, drizzled into a lunch wrap over these Thai Chicken Bowls.
The Salad Plus Pasta
You usually won’t find penne pasta in a Thai salad, but I find it’s ridged shape holds onto every bit of the Peanut Dressing. Plus, my kids are more likely to eat their veggies when pasta is involved.
Use regular pasta or Pad Thai style noodles like soba and rice noodles. Any of them will work and make this one delicious meal.
Making Thai Pasta Salad with Chicken
This salad is a matter of tossing all the ingredients in a bowl and serving. Literally the easiest dinner recipe ever!
I do like to prepare the grilled chicken ahead of time, and usually, it’s from dinner the night before. However, if you’re short on time, a rotisserie chicken from the grocery or leftover baked chicken will work perfectly. Just shred the meat, you’ll need about 2 cups worth, and add to the salad.
More Thai Pasta Salad Toppings & Mix-Ins
You can make this recipe all your own. There are a variety of vegetables and toppings you can add to the mix and still stay true to the flavor profile. Here are a few ingredient ideas:
- Steamed, shelled edamame
- Sliced cucumber
- Coleslaw mix
- Fresh bean sprouts
- Broccoli slaw
Storing Leftover Thai Pasta Salad
With all the chicken, veggies, and pasta, this recipe yields quite a bit, and thankfully leftovers taste even better the next day. The bell peppers, carrots, and cabbage stay crunchy for several days, and the sauce prevents the pasta and chicken from drying out.
Once made, it will last for up to 3 days refrigerated in an airtight container, which is plenty of time for everyone to get their fill.
How to Prep-Ahead
This salad is another meal prep recipe you can make ahead and enjoy throughout the week. Start by grilling the chicken and boiling the noodles. Meanwhile, slice the bell peppers and red cabbage and prepare the Peanut Dressing.
From here, you have the option of assembling the salad or keeping the ingredients separate and storing in the refrigerator for another day.
I usually prefer to make this at the beginning of the week and use it for lunches throughout the week.
Packing Thai Chicken Salad for Lunch
The best meal prep lunches are those that can be split up into individual servings and refrigerated for a couple of days. Therefore, this salad is one of the best meal prep recipes. 🙂
You can store it in a large airtight container and serve as needed or divide it into individual meal prep containers; that way, they are ready for you to grab and pack into the lunch bag.
Thai Pasta Salad with Peanut Dressing
- For the Peanut Sauce
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 grated garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 3 tablespoons water
- For the Thai Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces penne pasta, or your choice of pasta
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- ½ bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 grilled chicken breast fillets, sliced
- ⅓ cup unsalted peanuts
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha, and water. Whisk to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse and transfer into a large bowl.
- To the pasta, add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, grilled chicken, peanuts, and cilantro, making separate rows of each.
- Drizzle with peanut sauce and toss to combine.
More Epic Salad Recipes
If you’re on the lookout for fresh, healthy, and delicious salads, you can prep ahead for the office; you’re in the right place. Along with this Thai Chicken Pasta Salad, there are many others worth giving a try.