Spicy Thai chicken salad with chili lime dressing is fresh and delicious. It’s the perfect light and refreshing lunch or dinner, and it’s great for meal prepping. This Thai spicy chicken salad recipe comes together quickly – just toss all of the ingredients in a bowl. With plenty of crunch and texture, this salad is satisfying, good for you and so delicious.
Thai chicken salad
This recipe for spicy Thai salad with chicken is one of my favorites. I love it in the heat of summer, but I truly love it after the holidays. For me, it’s the perfect antidote to all of the sweets I tend to eat at the end of the year.
I make no apologies for it, but after a few weeks, I start craving spicy, crunchy vegetables, and this friends, hits the spot.
Is this supposed to be an “authentic” Thai recipe? No. It’s something I made up over ten years ago. It has Thai flavors and that’s the name I gave it a decade ago.
This is the base of the salad – lots of vegetables and herbs with a bit of chicken. If you choose to omit the chicken, this salad is vegan.
I go heavy on the herbs, because I like it that way. If you don’t, feel free to cut back on them, or add in more cabbage, carrots or chicken.
Chili lime dressing ingredients
This spicy Thai dressing is super quick and easy. If you have difficulty finding fresh chili peppers, and you like a little heat in your food, you can add a dash of sriracha or any other hot sauce that you like.
To make the chili lime vinaigrette, this is what you’ll need –
I roasted all of my garlic, forgetting that I needed raw for this dressing. Either way, it was still delicious.
One more note, I prefer Thai red chili for this dressing, but the Asian market was out of them, so I had to use a green hot pepper. Again, the dressing will be delicious no matter what kind of chili you use.
Thai chili lime dressing
Combine rice vinegar, lime zest and juice, shallot, chili pepper and garlic in a small bowl. The acid will help break down and mellow garlic & shallot and the flavors along with the chili pepper will infuse dressing.
Let this sit for 10 – 15 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. After you’ve added everything, give it whisk and let it sit for another 10 – 15 minutes.
I like the acidic bite of vinegar and lime juice, however, if you don’t, reduce limes to one.
How to make Thai chicken salad
Making this Thai chicken salad recipe could not be easier. Everything is mixed up in one large bowl. I will admit that there is a bit of chopping, if you don’t have a food processor, but it isn’t too much work.
Thai basil (pictured below) can be found at any Asian market. This is out of my garden. It was flowering, so I picked it, yours will likely not have flowers.
If you can’t find Thai basil, substitute with regular basil, or omit it. The flavor is very unique, so I recommend checking out your local market to try to find it.
Once you have all of the vegetables and herbs chopped, the chicken shredded and the dressing whisked together, it all goes into a bowl. Give it a good mixing and serve. It’s so simple to make and it is so delicious!
Time saving shortcut – Use rotisserie chicken from the store instead of cooking chicken breasts!
For this recipe I only used the breast meat. If you are using a store-bought rotisserie chicken, reserve the thighs for sandwiches or soups, the carcass for stock, etc.
I poached a couple of chicken breasts while I was grating vegetables and chopping herbs. It barely takes any time at all, it will be cooked by the time you finish everything else. Then use a couple of forks to shred the meat and set it aside to cool slightly.
Combine everything in a large glass bowl to show off all of the colors from the veggies and herbs. This salad is perfect for weekday lunches and meal-prepping. Full of flavor, texture and lots of crunch, it’s as good for you as it is delicious.
More quick and easy salad recipes
- Chicken taco salad
- Mediterranean chicken meal prep
- Apple cranberry chicken salad
- Low carb chicken fajita bowls
- Moroccan chicken meal prep bowls
- Beet and apple spinach salad
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I hope you love this spicy Thai chicken salad as much as we do! Please consider rating and/or commenting.
For the dressing
- 3 tbsp. rice vinegar
- zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 shallot, finely sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 small red Thai chili (green if you can't find red), minced
- 4 tbsp. neutral oil (vegetable, grapeseed, canola)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Thai chicken salad
- 1 small head green or Napa cabbage
- 3 medium carrots
- 10 ounces cooked chicken breasts, shredded or finely sliced (2 small)
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch scallions (green onion), sliced on bias
- 1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced on bias
- 1 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp. Thai basil, chopped (sub regular basil if you can't find, or omit)
- 2 tbsp. mint, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
Make the chili lime dressing
- Combine rice vinegar, lime zest and juice, shallot, chili pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Let this sit for 10 - 15 minutes, then add remaining ingredients and give it a whisk. Let the dressing sit for an additional 10 - 15 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the Spicy Thai chicken salad
- Shred the cabbage and carrots in the food processor, or grate carrots on box grater and thinly slice cabbage. Add to large mixing bowl.
- Add shredded chicken, peanuts, scallions, snow peas, herbs, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Pour dressing over and mix thoroughly to coat. Serve immediately.
If you are serving this salad later, or meal prepping, DO NOT add dressing. Keep it separate and mix just before eating. The acid will turn the herbs dark and make the mixture soggy. The crunch is the best part of this salad!
Omit the chicken and this salad is vegan.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 171mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 14g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published 7/10/12, most recent update 12/28/21.