Steak Pad Thai Salad ~ a classic rice noodle bowl made into a salad with lots of crunchy veggies and greens topped off with thinly sliced grilled steak. The noodles are naturally gluten free, and the flavors really pop ~ who could ask for anything more?
The tropics of southeast Asia have produced some of the most refreshing food on the planet. I find myself turning to Thai and Vietnamese dishes for inspiration all the time in the summer ~ today’s steak pad Thai salad follows close on the heels of last week’s summer rolls. I’ve upped the refreshment factor by turning traditional pad Thai, which is usually stir fried, into a salad. I’ve added lots of green crunch in the form of slivers of cucumber, pea pods, and green pepper. Also lots of freshness with micro-greens and herbs like basil, cilantro, and mint. Lime gives it a burst of citrus, and the slippery rice noodles? They’re like a cool breeze. Are you feeling refreshed yet?
Thai rice noodles are such fun because you don’t even need to cook them, they just need a soak in hot water to soften. They aren’t starchy or sticky like pasta, either, so they’re easy to work with. Just drain them and use them right away or set them aside.
The dressing has all the classic Thai flavors, so you may want to think ahead and grab anything you don’t have in the kitchen already. You’ll find the fish sauce and tamarind paste in the Asian section of your supermarket.
- fresh limes
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- tamarind paste
- sesame oil
- brown sugar
Other summery Thai inspired recipes to try ~
This riff on classic Thai flavors is the perfect thing when you want to bring something a little different to a potluck. I use spaghetti in place of traditional Thai rice noodles.
This recipe is better and fresher than what you’ll find at your favorite Thai restaurant.
This is the more familiar stir fried version of pad Thai, it can be eaten hot, warm, or cold, making it a super versatile dish. It uses the same rice noodles that I’ve used in today’s salad.
Steak Pad Thai Salad ~ a classic rice noodle bowl made into a salad with lots of crunchy veggies and greens topped off with thinly sliced grilled steak. The noodles are naturally gluten free, and the flavors really pop.
- 1 lb sirloin steak
- 10 ounces pad Thai rice noodles
- 1 bunch (about 8) green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced, white and green parts
- 1 small pickling cucumber, cut in thin matchsticks (don't peel)
- 1 small green pepper, cut in thin matchsticks
- 1 cup snap peas, sliced in half lengthwise, on the diagonal.
- 1 cup micro-greens or sprouts
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup small basil leaves (if your leaves are larger, roll and thinly slice them)
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp Tamari soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- chopped peanuts
- basil or cilantro leaves
- Soak the noodles according to the package instructions, you want them to be nice and soft. Drain well and put in a large salad bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and toss the noodles with some of the dressing.
- Meanwhile heat a grill pan over medium high heat until quite hot. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper and grill for about 5 minutes per side, or until done to medium (or however you like it.) Set aside to rest under foil for 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
- Add the vegetables, herbs, and peanuts to the salad bowl and toss to combine. Top with the sliced steak. Pour the remaining dressing over all, and serve, garnished with extra chopped peanuts and fresh herbs.
Occasionally I notice that the soaking directions on Thai noodles aren't accurate, and I end up with stiff noodles. Taste your noodles after soaking and if they aren't perfectly soft, hit them with a quick dousing of boiling water...that will instantly soften them, then drain and proceed with the recipe.
Make this steak pad Thai salad your own ~
- Make it with grilled shrimp or chicken
- Make it vegetarian/vegan ~ use form tofu, omit the fish sauce and use more soy sauce..
- Make it spicy ~ add a finely diced jalapeño pepper, with seeds, to the mix.