“This Thai spaghetti salad recipe is on REPEAT in my house!!!! So yummy. Love it! Thank you!” ~Natalie
I got the idea for this Thai spaghetti salad from my grocery store deli!
I get some of my best recipe ideas from the deli counter at my favorite market. They make surprisingly good salads and we like to pick 2 or 3 and call it dinner during the summer months when it’s too hot and sticky to cook. I chose three last week and I loved them so much I’m recreating each one for the blog. This Thai spaghetti salad is a twist on a potluck staple, spaghetti salad.
Thai spaghetti salad ingredients
This is a mash up between spaghetti salad, an American potluck classic, and a Thai noodle salad. It’s a true hybrid!
- I like to use regular spaghetti, not thin nor thick. It’s just the right consistency for this salad.
- red cabbage
- make sure your cabbage is thinly sliced, and the shreds aren’t super long for best eating experience.
- shredded carrots
- green onions
- roasted peanuts
- sesame seeds
- cilantro leaves
- basil leaves
- rice vinegar
- vegetable oil
- smooth peanut butter
- cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
the shortcut to a copy cat recipe
Prepared salads are usually easy to copy because they usually have their ingredients printed right on the label of the container. By law they have to list the ingredients in descending order of the amount used. I just used the label on my saved plastic container to build this wonderful spicy Thai spaghetti salad, starting with the pasta, red cabbage, and carrots, right through to the cayenne pepper and peanuts. It was fun, and it turned out perfect.
a useful pasta salad for potlucks and barbecues
This salad is hearty, colorful, and can be made ahead of time; the flavors actually benefit from hanging out in the fridge. It’s an economical way to feed a crowd, and there’s no mayo to spoil outdoors, either. As is it’s a hearty side dish, but you can easily augment it with extra protein in the form of shredded rotisserie chicken or grilled shrimp.
Thai flavors are so refreshing!
While this is not an authentic Thai recipe, the famously refreshing Thai flavor profile is represented. The Thai flavors make it unique but the salad is still familiar. It’s a great ‘starter’ Thai recipe for newbies or kids.
Fresh basil and cilantro are essential for this salad, so make sure you have some on hand. Better yet, buy small herb plants at your local nursery and keep them on the windowsill or back porch so you’ll always have fresh herbs available.
tips for making Thai spaghetti salad
- For best texture, shred your carrots in your food processor fitted with the shredding blade. A box grater can make wet and mushy shreds.
- I sliced my red cabbage on my mandoline slicer set on the 1/8 inch setting. This results in fine shreds that retain their texture. Slice the shreds in half if they are very long.
- Use regular spaghetti rather than the thin or thick style. Thin spaghetti can become mushy, and thick will be too starchy and overpower the veggies.
- Cook your spaghetti to an al dente stage so it retains some texture. It will soften further after you dress and chill it.
more summer potluck salads
They’re some are some of the best eating out there…the most successful ones are sturdy, have mass appeal, and can be made ahead
- Cowboy Caviar
- Thai Salad
- Mediterranean Bean Salad
- Dill Pickle Potato Salad
- Layered Rainbow Salad
- Israeli Salad
- Pasta Salad with Tuna
“This is such a hit in our family that I was requested to make it for my daughter’s graduation party. **For 100 people!** It still turned out fantastic and I’ve shared this recipe with a TON of people, as a result!!” ~TofuMom
Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad
- 8 ounces spaghetti, broken in half, cooked in plenty of salted water to al dente and rinsed well with cold water
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 bunch (about 6-8) green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 handful basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 heaping Tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- To make the dressing put all the ingredients in a small bowl and use an immersion blender to process into an emulsified dressing. Thin with more oil or vinegar to taste, if necessary.
- Put the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Make it a main course ~ add chunks of chicken, tender steak, or grilled shrimp.
- Make it gluten/grain free ~ try this with zucchini noodles (spiralized zucchini) or spaghetti squash.
- Make it with more veggies ~ try frozen and thawed edamame beans, broccoli, or bok choy, snap peas, or green beans.
Questions and Reviews
Is this real spicy? I don’t like a lot of spice so would I put less cayenne pepper?
The salad has a hint of spice, but you can leave the cayenne out entirely.
Is rice vinegar the same as rice wine vinegar?
Yes, use either, they’re virtually the same.
My boyfriend is raw veggie-averse, and was less than enthused when I told him it was on the menu. One bite in and he was hooked – said he could eat this every week for the rest of his life! I love this salad, too – thank you for sharing!
That’s so great Kimberly, what a victory!
I have a peanut allergy in my home, do you have a sub for peanuts?
You might try sunflower butter, or sesame pasta (tahini)
What about almond butter and almonds instead of peanut butter and peanuts? I hate the latter.
Sure, you can swap that out. Another option would be tahini and sesame seeds.
If doing it one day ahead of time do we already add the dressing or leave everything separated in the fridge?
You can really do it either way, but I would opt for keeping everything separate, if you can keep it all moist and fresh. Then dress the day of.
Can I make it without the peanuts and peanut butter? due to nut allergies if so what substitute would you use ? Your Suggestion will be very appreciated. Thank you.
If you can tolerate sesame seeds you can substitute tahini (sesame paste.) Otherwise sunflower butter might work.
I didn’t see any prior comments, but can you make this salad using rice noodles instead of spaghetti noodles?
Yes, and it would be delicious!
I liked this salad very much!
I even bought a bottle of rice vinegar just for this salad, as I didn’t have one 😀
I halved the recipe, but I shoudn’t have halved the dressing 😉 When I doubled the dressing, it was less dry and very tasty!
I just made this and dressing tastes like too much vinegar although I used 1/4 cup. Does it all meld together as it sits?
Definitely adjust it to your taste Penni, you can add more oil and a little more peanut butter to balance it out. Did you use rice wine vinegar? That’s quite a bit milder than regular vinegars.
This is a great salad Sue! I made it just as written and we loved it. I made a double batch of the dressing and smeared half all over some chicken breasts and let them marinate for a couple hours, grilled them and served them with the salad on the side. Delicious! It was a perfect dinner for a hot day in AZ.
Thanks for the chicken tip Shirley 🙂