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This tasty crunchy Thai-inspired rainbow salad with peanut dressing is chock full of healthy bits! It makes for a fantastic summer side dish for potlucks and, if you add some protein, it lends itself as the perfect make-ahead lunch. Just prep all of your ingredients at the beginning of the week and you’re set!

Rainbow salad in a bowl with a lime wedge.

I always have this refreshing Thai rainbow salad in my fridge ready for the eatin’. Sometimes I use it as a side to a nice main, like these Thai Sweet Chili Air Fryer Salmon Bites, but typically it’s there for me to eat for lunch throughout the week. I usually top it with rotisserie chicken from the supermarket or appropriate leftovers, like leftover miso salmon or the leftover meat from my sesame hoisin chicken lettuce cups. This is also the perfect salad to bring to a potluck. People always comment on the vibrant colors, fresh flavors, and that lip-smacking peanut dressing!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s full of antioxidants—You get to eat the rainbow with this salad, which doesn’t just mean that it’s pretty! It also means that it contains a ton of phytonutrients which have tons of benefits.
  • It’s great for meal prep—Make a batch of this salad with peanut dressing and keep it in the fridge for the week! Just add protein and you’ve got yourself a complete lunch.
  • You can easily adapt it—My version here is jam-packed with crisp veggies that we love, but you can add or subtract as you see fit. Check out my recipe modifications below for some ideas.

Crunchy Thai Rainbow Salad Ingredients

A full list of ingredients and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

Ingredients for rainbow salad with peanut dressing on a white background.
  • Mango—among all of those crisp veggies, I wanted to add a little burst of sweetness and mango goes swimmingly with not just the array of veggies, but the peanut lime dressing, too!
  • Edamame—Some grocery stores will have edamame in a refrigerated section in produce, ready to eat. But most will have them in the frozen veggies section in a steamable bag. That’s what I normally end up getting, and then I just steam them, and pop the edamame out from the pods.
  • Honey—This brings a bit of sweetness to the dressing. I love using hot honey for a little kick.

Recipe Variations & Modifications

  • Kale—I like using kale in this salad because it remains sturdy, even after being in the fridge for a few days. But if kale isn’t your jam, you can absolutely use baby spinach. Just note that it will get soggy when refrigerated, so I highly recommend kale.
  • Peanuts—Since we’ve got a peanut lime dressing, peanuts seemed the appropriate nut to toss into the mix. But cashews or almond would also work well!
  • Vegetables—If there’s a veggie listed in this recipe that you don’t like, feel free to leave it out or swap it for another! For some ideas, think purple cauliflower, avocado, broccoli, and spinach.

How to Make Rainbow Thai Crunch Salad With Peanut Dressing

This salad and its dressing are incredibly easy to make. The majority of work involved is in the prep.

  1. First, make your dressing. Pop all of the ingredients into a small blender (I love my little Magic Bullet for this one) and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, you can whisk the ingredients in a small bowl. Just be sure to whisk it really well so that it’s fully blended.
  2. Chop and prep all of your veggies. Place them all into a large bowl, in addition to the peanuts.
  3. Toss, toss, and toss some more. Toss your veggies, then drizzle about 1/3 of the dressing over it. Toss it again, and drizzle half of what’s left of the dressing over it. Toss, drizzle the rest of the dressing over the salad, and give it one final toss. Dressing the salad this way will ensure that everything is nicely and evenly coated.

Recipe Tips

  • Massage your kale—This sounds like such a pretentious method: massage your kale. But kale is rough! By drizzling about a tablespoon of olive oil over your kale, getting in there with your hands, and really rubbing it into the kale leaves, you’re softening and tenderizing the leaves, resulting in a nice and tasty green
  • This salad gets better with age—It’s great fresh, don’t get me wrong. But by sitting in the fridge for a day or overnight, the kale and veggies soak up all of that wonderful flavor from the dressing and it’s just that much tastier. The best part—the salad doesn’t lose any of its crunch!

What to Serve This With It

As a side dish, this salad can pair with pretty much anything. You can keep it on theme flavor-wise with and serve it with these bangin’ Korean BBQ beef skewers, some healthy orange chicken, or of course these popular Thai sweet chili air fryer salmon bites. Or you can serve it next to a turkey burger, air fryer chicken cutlets, or a simple baked Alaska pollock.

Rainbow salad being tossed in a bamboo serving bowl.

Storage

  • This salad can be stored, already tossed in its dressing, in an airtight container for up to 5 days without losing it’s flavor and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is rainbow salad made of?

A rainbow salad isn’t a precisely written out recipe, but more of an idea where we incorporate vegetables of every color in order to benefit from their various nutrients. Each deeply colored vegetable is rich in phytonutrients which can help protect against chronic diseases and work as anti-inflammatories. For a deep dive on this topic, check out this article on eating the rainbow.

More Salads You’ll Want on Your Plate

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Crunchy Thai Rainbow Salad With Peanut Dressing

This tasty crunchy Thai-inspired rainbow salad with peanut dressing is chock full of healthy bits! It makes for a fantastic summer side dish for potlucks and, if you add some protein, it lends itself as the perfect make-ahead lunch. Just prep all of your ingredients at the beginning of the week and you’re set!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
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Ingredients 

  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage, Preferably sliced with a mandolin
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup roughly chopped sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup edamame (optional)
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Peanut Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 TBSP creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, more to taste if necessary
  • 2 tsp organic liquid honey, Use spicy honey if you like a nice little kick!
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions 

Peanut Dressing

  • Place all of the ingredients for the peanut dressing into a blender (preferably a small blender, like a Magic Bullet), and blend until smooth. Give it a taste test and add a bit more salt if the flavors need a pop; a bit more olive oil if the flavor is too tart and limey. When done, set it aside.

Thai Rainbow Salad

  • Prep and chop all of the ingredients and place them into a large serving bowl.
  • Give them a toss, then drizzle about 1/3 of the dressing over it. Toss to coat, then drizzle half of what's left of the dressing over the salad. Toss, and if necessary, drizzle the rest of the dressing over the salad and toss it one more time.
  • Alternatively, you could save that last half of the dressing if a) you're planning to refrigerate the salad and serve it later, or b) you plan on having leftovers and will want some extra dressing.

Notes

  • Massage your kale—This sounds like such a pretentious method: massage your kale. But kale is rough! By drizzling about a tablespoon of olive oil over your kale, getting in there with your hands, and really rubbing it into the kale leaves, you’re softening and tenderizing the leaves, resulting in a nice and tasty green
  • This salad gets better with age—It’s great fresh, don’t get me wrong. But by sitting in the fridge for a day or overnight, the kale and veggies soak up all of that wonderful flavor from the dressing and it’s just that much tastier. The best part—the salad doesn’t lose any of its crunch!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Fiber: 4g
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