Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad

Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad in glass bowl

Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad is a delicious twist on a potluck classic ~ quick to prepare using common ingredients, the Asian flavors in this colorful pasta salad really pop. It’s an easy summer side salad recipe perfect for barbecue season!

Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad in glass bowl

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.

Ingredients for Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad in a bowl

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.

overhead photo of spicy Thai spaghetti salad in a glass bowl

a useful pasta salad to have on hand for potlucks and barbecues

It’s hearty, colorful, and can be made ahead of time, the flavors actually benefit from a little time in the fridge. It’s an economical way to feed a crowd, and there’s no mayo to spoil outdoors, either. The Thai flavors make it unique.

A spicy Thai spaghetti salad in a glass bowl with cilantro leaves

Thai inspired flavors are so refreshing, and none of them are unusual or hard to find.

You’ll use regular  spaghetti for the noodles, and for the peanut dressing you’ll use rice vinegar, regular peanut butter like Jiff, oil, garlic, and cayenne pepper. The result is a tangy dressing  with just the right amount of peanut butter flavor without being overpowering.

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.

Toassing a spicy Thai spaghetti salad

classic 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 ~

Serving up spicy Thai spaghetti salad with tongs

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 longer, fine shreds that retain their texture.

  • Use regular spaghetti, not the thin or thick style. Thin spaghetti can become mushy, and thick will overpower the veggies.

Reader Rave ~

“This salad is delicious, I uses white cabbage because that’s what I had and it’s amazing too. Thanks for the great recipe, easy to make and a great hit at my granddaughter’s graduation as well. She is vegetarian so it was perfect.” ~Bertha


Ingredients for Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad in a bowl
3.76 from 498 votes

Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad

This yummy Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad is an delicious twist on a potluck classic ~ quick to prepare using common ingredients, the Asian flavors in this colorful pasta salad really pop.  This easy summer side salad recipe will be your go to for barbecues this season!
Course lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Thai/American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 10 servings
Calories 189kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 8 ounces of regular 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.


Cook's notes

  • 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.


Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 205mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2291IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Is this real spicy? I don’t like a lot of spice so would I put less cayenne pepper?

    • Reply
      May 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      The salad has a hint of spice, but you can leave the cayenne out entirely.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Is rice vinegar the same as rice wine vinegar?

    • Reply
      May 25, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      Yes, use either, they’re virtually the same.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    5 stars
    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!

    • Reply
      April 21, 2020 at 7:10 am

      That’s so great Kimberly, what a victory!

  • Reply
    Janet Lail
    April 9, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    I have a peanut allergy in my home, do you have a sub for peanuts?

    • Reply
      April 9, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      You might try sunflower butter, or sesame pasta (tahini)

      • Reply
        May 25, 2020 at 10:31 am

        What about almond butter and almonds instead of peanut butter and peanuts? I hate the latter.

        • Reply
          May 25, 2020 at 10:34 am

          Sure, you can swap that out. Another option would be tahini and sesame seeds.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2020 at 6:30 am

    If doing it one day ahead of time do we already add the dressing or leave everything separated in the fridge?

    • Reply
      April 9, 2020 at 7:05 am

      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.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2020 at 7:04 am

    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.

    • Reply
      April 2, 2020 at 7:32 am

      If you can tolerate sesame seeds you can substitute tahini (sesame paste.) Otherwise sunflower butter might work.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2020 at 6:46 am

    I didn’t see any prior comments, but can you make this salad using rice noodles instead of spaghetti noodles?

    • Reply
      February 16, 2020 at 7:01 am

      Yes, and it would be delicious!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2020 at 3:28 am

    4 stars
    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!

  • Reply
    Penni Wilson
    July 13, 2019 at 10:16 am

    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?

    • Reply
      July 13, 2019 at 11:30 am

      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.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2019 at 9:07 am

    5 stars
    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.

    • Reply
      June 15, 2019 at 9:21 am

      Thanks for the chicken tip Shirley 🙂

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