When Shalane Flanagan traveled to Bend, Oregon, to kick off recipe testing for Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. with me, this Thai Quinoa Salad was the very first recipe to come out of the kitchen.
It was love at first bite. We continued to tweak the recipe, not because it needed much work, but because we secretly wanted an excuse to make it time and again. This is the salad Shalane made on a near weekly basis while training for the 2017 NYC Marathon and 2018 Boston Marathon.
We highly recommend the use of fish sauce (a store-bought condiment) to give the salad a true Thai-inspired umami kick, but if you’re vegan or vegetarian, the salad is crown-worthy made with just soy sauce.
Make this salad on a Sunday night for work lunches all week long or serve as a side dish with a juicy, grilled steak for a dinner set to impress.
Thai Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups grated carrots (about 2 large)
- 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
- 3 green onions, white and green parts sliced
- 1 cup packed mint leaves, chopped (cilantro works too)
- 1 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeds removed, minced (optional)
- ½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice (2 to 3 limes)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as Red Boat)
Here is a foolproof method to cook quinoa: In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil 1½ cups water and the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce or tamari, honey, and fish sauce (if using) in a glass jar or bowl and stir to combine.
Once the quinoa is cool, add the carrots, cabbage, onion, mint, basil, and pepper (if using) to the bowl and toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss again. Taste and, if needed, add more fish sauce or soy sauce.
Top with the peanuts. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
This salad will stay fresh in airtight glass containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Elyse Kopecky is a nutrition coach, chef, and two-time New York Times best-selling author. In her exclusive “Food Is Fuel” monthly column, the co-author of Run Fast. Eat Slow. and Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. explores everything women want to know about how to fuel—from breakfast to snacks, to recovery, and on-the-go foods. Have a topic you’d like to have Elyse talk about? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.