“This Thai Spaghetti salad recipe is on REPEAT in my house!!!! So yummy. I add pan seared tofu and make it a meal. 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
Thanks so much for this recipe Sue. I’ve been hunting for a different type of lunch that will be nourishing and interesting. This is it!
I made this today and it’s delicious!! It’s great on it’s own but I’ll grill chicken tonight, slice thin strips, and have it over top. I made extra dressing so I could drizzle a tad bit more when I top it with the sliced chicken. Thank you so much for sharing!!
This recipe is on REPEAT in my house!!!! So yummy! I add pan seared tofu and make it a meal! Love it! Thank you!
Wonderful salad. Very tasty dressing. We loved it at our house. I will be making this again and again. Thank you for this recipe.
What if I don’t like cilantro… like seriously dislike it.
what else can I add?!
Try basil and/or mint Lacey, it will be great.
Thanks for the reply ! I’ve whipped this recipe up today for a bbq I’m heading to this afternoon. 🙂
Delicious. Added some fresh broccoli, grilled chicken and grilled shrimp and it was a very filling meal. It’s so easy to add or remove certain ingredients based on everyone’s likes. I did make some extra sauce because I kept adding more and more ingredients. Thanks for the recipe.
Delicious! Used soy sauce to think the dressing a little, added a splash of sesame oil and doubled the sauce. Thank you so much for sharing!!
You’re so welcome, glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you so much for an Asian recipe that doesn’t include soy! I’m allergic, and it’s been tough giving up Asian flavors. This is a very welcome addition to my recipe box!
I made this last night and I loved it. The dressing is so easy to make. I added a bit of lime juice and it was delicious but it was delicious before I added the lime juice. I love the sour and sweet combination of the vinegar and the peanut butter and that touch of heat from the pepper. I added sugar snap peas and chicken. The crunchy peanuts are a must as far as I’m concerned. Such a satisfying meal, especially on a hot day.
I followed your recommendation to use the food processor to grate the carrots. I didn’t really want to lug it out but I’m glad I did. I never noticed the difference in textures before between box grated and food processor grated carrots but it’s there.
Thanks for a great recipe.
To save time, can I assemble this completely a day before Mother’s Day ?
It will not be soggy and taste as good as if it were made the very same day?
Salads are hardly ever as good the next day Walter. If you can swing it, I would prep everything the day before, but assemble and dress the day of, that way you’ll get the best texture. You can cook the pasta ahead, just rinse it well after cooking to remove extra starch. If you have to make it ahead, this one will keep pretty well, though.
Thank you Sue, have a Wonderful Mother’s Day!