“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
Yum! I just went and made this- and I’d just had lunch. I can see where you can vary the ingredients to suit what items you have on hand. I grated in some fresh zucchini because I have so much. However, the cilantro and dressing are a must! I did add a splash of sesame oil as one reader suggested and it mellows out the tartness a bit. Absolutely delicious!
Trader Joe’s has a shredded bag mix with shaved brussels sprouts in it that would be fantastic in this since I would need to add more veggies and as you suggested chicken. Yum.
Great idea 🙂
Hello! I substituted yellow squash for the spaghetti. I was not sure if sesame seeds needed to be toasted & didn’t put them in the recipe. I also added broccoli.
My picky 21 year old daughter absolutely loves this salad. ?
This was a winner – yum! Doubled sauce & used some to marinate chicken breast pieces. Then put it in grill pan and added to the salad – very tasty!! (Used sriracha instead and left out cabbage & used other veggies that I had in my fridge!) You can adjust the sauce to your preferred taste prior to adding!!
Hi – this looks perfect for a weekend salad – was wondering if you’d recommend adding some sesame oil to the dressing ? Perhaps half veg/half sesame oil to intensify flavor? I don’t want to overwhelm the veggies,though.
Definitely, that would be delicious, just go easy as it is intense. I’d add it to taste, usually a tablespoon would be enough.
My husband and older kids loved this (the toddler did not). I thought it was okay. I served it with leftover teriyaki chicken and still thought it was not super impressive. But my family was happy with it, and it was a nice, easy recipe. Thank you!
I saw your recommendation for regular size spaghetti noodles and not thin, but can you substitute it with whole wheat spaghetti noodles?
Sure, you can use just about any type of strand noodle you like.
Has anybody be ever tried anything besides basic spaghetti noodles? Maybe like an Asian egg noodle to give it a more cultural feel?
You could definitely use an Asian noodle, any type you like.
How is this Thai? That’s pretty much the definition of Cultural Appropriation. This is not okay.
Wow Bear ????.
This was a joke, right?
Good Lord, the flavors are Thai, get a grip – besides, in case you hadn’t noticed, your constitutional rights are about to be stripped away…perhaps you should concentrate on standing up for them
Yeah Kel!! I was just thinking the same thing!!
This was a delicious salad with all the wonderful flavors of Thai food. Thank you!
THIS LOOKS SOOOOO GOOD! DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE THE BREAK DOWN OF THE NUTRITION VALUE?