Inspired by chicken satay, this scrumptious Thai chicken satay salad is packed with bold flavor and lots of fresh, colorful veggies fit for a refreshing lunch or dinner. Chicken is prepared with a mouthwatering marinade flavored with coconut milk, lemongrass and Thai red curry paste, then grilled on skewers and served on cool greens with a sweet peanut dressing!
When a Favorite Appetizer Becomes a Favorite Salad
I've always enjoyed Thai chicken satay, that delectable appetizer of tender, juicy marinated chicken threaded onto wooden skewers and lightly grilled, then served with a peanut dipping sauce—so light, flavorful and delicious!
And because I enjoy turning some of my favorite appetizers into hearty salads drenched in scrumptious dressings, this tasty little appetizer was the perfect inspiration...
Enter my Thai chicken satay salad, prepared with tender chunks of grilled chicken marinated in a mouthwatering combination of coconut milk, lemongrass, Thai red curry paste, plus a few other morsels for tons of flavor.
Served over fresh greens along with thinly-sliced red bell peppers, red cabbage, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes, this colorful salad is like an edible rainbow of deliciousness.
Drizzled with my sweet peanut dressing, this Thai chicken satay salad makes for a slightly more substantial meal, one where you get an entire array of colorful bells and whistles loaded up with lots of irresistible Thai flavor!
My Recipe for Thai Chicken Satay Salad
The majority of the flavor for this yummy and healthy chicken satay salad comes from the delicious marinade...
This marinade, prepared with coconut milk, lemongrass, Thai red curry paste, garlic, fish sauce, lime and turmeric, also becomes part of the ingredient list that makes up the sweet peanut dressing, which tastes so much like the authentic dipping sauce that Thai chicken satay is traditionally served with.
The marinade is prepared by adding all the ingredients to my food processor and blending until smooth, then allowing the chicken to marinate in about half of it.
I use other half of the marinade, along with a few other ingredients, to make the scrumptious dressing.
The end result is tender, juicy and delectably succulent grilled chicken skewers served over a bed of chopped romaine, plus a rainbow of veggies, ready to be doused in that sweet peanut dressing!
Here's a sneak peek at my Thai chicken satay salad recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my marinade, and reserve half of it (about 1 cup worth) to use in my peanut dressing.
- Then, I pour the rest of the marinade over my chicken tenderloins, and allow those to marinated for a couple hours ideally, or even overnight if making ahead (optimal flavor!).
- Next, I prepare my sweet peanut dressing, to have ready to use.
- When ready to prepare my Thai chicken satay salad, I thread my chicken pieces onto bamboo skewers, and grill for a few minutes on my grill pan.
- To assemble, I add some of my romaine greens to a plate or shallow bowl, top with some red bell pepper strips, red cabbage, shredded carrots, cucumber, then add a couple chicken satay skewers, and drizzle generously with my sweet peanut dressing.
Thai Chicken Satay Salad
by Ingrid Beer
This Thai chicken satay salad is a fun take on classic chicken satay, served with colorful veggies and a sweet peanut dressing!
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 480 calories per serving (with about ¼ cup dressing)
Prep Time: 25 minutes (does not include marination)
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Chicken Satay Salad Ingredients:
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk (full fat)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small stalk lemongrass, white part roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ½ lime, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins (about 6), sliced in half lengthwise to create thinner strips
- Cooking spray
- 2 romaine lettuce hearts, shredded
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- ½ cup crushed peanuts
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- Bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Sweet Peanut Dressing Ingredients:
- Reserved marinade from above (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your salad ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To the bowl of a food processor, add the can of coconut milk, plus the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the salt, and process until completely smooth and well-blended. (You will have roughly 2 cups of this marinade, and you will need to reserve 1 cup of it—roughly half—for use in the sweet peanut dressing.)
- Pour half of the marinade (about a cup or just slightly under) over the chicken strips, and allow them to marinate for a couple of hours, or ideally, overnight for best flavor.
- While the chicken marinates, gather and prep all of your sweet peanut dressing ingredients to have ready and organized for use.
- Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, and process until completely blended and smooth. Keep in a covered container in fridge, or at room temp if using soon.
- When ready to grill the chicken, allow any excess marinade to drip off and carefully thread the chicken strips onto the bamboo skewers.
- Place a grill pan over medium or medium-high heat, and spray a touch of cooking spray in the pan. Grill a small batch of the chicken skewers, turning occasionally until charred on all sides and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes total. Repeat with remaining skewers and hold on a plate.
- Prepare the salad by adding equal portions of the shredded romaine into bowls, then top with a section of the red bell pepper, red cabbage, carrot, and cucumber. Stick a couple of the Roma tomato wedges in each, as well.
- Add about 3 of the grilled chicken skewers over top, and squeeze over a lime wedge, then drizzle everything with some of the sweet peanut dressing, and enjoy!
Tips & Tidbits for my Thai Chicken Satay Salad recipe:
- Chicken tenderloins for the most tender, juicy grilled chicken: I opt for chicken tenderloins when preparing a chicken salad like this, as the pieces are smaller and therefore grill quicker, plus they're very tender and juicy, absorbing the marinade well. You can use skinless, boneless chicken breasts if you prefer, if that's what you have on hand.
- Vegetarian option: If you'd rather skip the chicken, you can substitute chunks of firm tofu and follow the recipe for marination and grilling just the same.
- Romaine hearts for crisp, crunchy texture: For that fresh, crunchy texture, I love to use romaine hearts here, and chop them very finely. You could also sub iceberg lettuce and even kale, and finely chop that as well.
- A colorful array of veggies: Using thinly-sliced cucumber, red bell pepper, carrots, red cabbage and tomato wedges compliments the flavor of the chicken satay skewers, and makes for a really beautiful presentation. However, feel free to use your favorite combination of veggies, or just one or two of the above.
Hungry for more cozy and refreshing recipes? Check out this Ahi Tuna Salad, this Chimichurri Shrimp Bowl, these Chicken Lettuce Wraps, this Ahi Poke Bowl, this Bok Choy Salad, or this Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2016, and has been updated with even more love!