Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews

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Big Thai Carrot Kale Salad with Curried Cashews for a quick vegan whole meal salad

By now, you probably know our dirty little secret: We order Thai food on Sunday. Every Sunday. And it’s delivery. There, I said it!

OK, fine. We eat it in stretchy pants while watching Netflix and Hulu. Are you happy?

Our Thai food rotation has been a mix of Mango Curry, Spring Rolls, and Pad Thai (recipe in 31 Meals). And our current obsession? Papaya Salad.

Because green papaya can be quite difficult to find, I’ve recently been making an inspired version that relies on carrot and kale instead. I think you know where this is going.

Photos of kale, shredded carrots, and dressing for our Easy Thai Carrot Salad recipe

This recipe is simple, requiring just 30 minutes to prepare.

The base is shredded carrot and lime-sesame massaged kale. Curry-Spiced Cashews add protein and healthy fats (and a TON of flavor).  And the peanut-chili-lime dressing takes this salad to the next level.

It’s tangy. It’s sweet. It’s sour. It’s spicy. It’s perfect.

Pouring dressing onto our Easy Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews

I hope you all love this salad! It’s:

Vegetable packed
Super flavorful
Perfectly dressed
Tangy
Spicy
Sweet
Crunchy
Fresh
& SO satisfying

This would make the perfect meal when you want something light and fresh but still hearty. It’s a lovely stand-alone entrée, but would also pair well with my Mango Curry!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (pretty please?), and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers friends!

A big bowl of our flavorful Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews for a sweet and crunchy vegan meal

Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews

An easy, 30-minute Thai-inspired carrot and kale salad with a savory-sweet dressing and curried cashews! Flavorful, hearty, so delicious!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Big bowl of Thai Carrot Kale Salad topped with Curried Cashews
4.92 from 24 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (side salads)
Course Entree, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Thai-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2 Days

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp dry roasted salted peanuts OR cashews (or sub 1 heaping TBSP salted peanut butter // amount as original recipe is written)
  • 2 medium fresh or dried bird's eye chilies (~1 tsp as original recipe is written | or sub red pepper flake)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or sub maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp pineapple juice (optional // recommended for sweetness/tang)
  • 1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)

SALAD

  • 2 cups kale (chopped // large stems removed)
  • 2 tsp sesame or olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 4 cups finely shredded/grated carrot (I use this mandolin with the medium blade attachment)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup Curry-Spiced Cashews (or sub roasted salted cashews)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  • Add garlic, peanuts, and chilies to a mortar and pestle (or just mince very finely) and crush to make a paste. Then add coconut sugar and crush once more.
  • Add lime juice, pineapple juice (optional), and tamari and stir to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more coconut sugar for sweetness, tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, or crushed bird's eye chili for heat. Set aside.
  • To a large mixing bowl add kale and drizzle with a bit of olive or sesame oil and lime juice. Massage for 10-15 seconds to soften and remove some of the bitterness.
  • Add shredded carrot, red onion, cashews, and cilantro (optional). Then add dressing and toss to coat.
  • Serve immediately. If storing for later, store the cashews and dressing separately to keep fresh. Salad will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Dressing will keep for 5-7 days.

Notes

*2 cloves garlic yields ~1 Tbsp minced garlic.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with peanuts, sesame oil, and pineapple juice, but without other optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 side salads Calories: 350 Carbohydrates: 36.9 g Protein: 9.2 g Fat: 21.1 g Saturated Fat: 4.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 535 mg Potassium: 727 mg Fiber: 5.5 g Sugar: 19.2 g Vitamin A: 19200 IU Vitamin C: 37.1 mg Calcium: 80 mg Iron: 2.9 mg

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  1. Patricia S Nolen says

    Very tasty!! I live in the mountains (Mt.Lassen, CA.) and had every ingredient in my pantry! Not an “overpowering” salad, but light and tasty. We enjoyed it with some salmon. I loved that you had alternatives to the ingredients. Perfect combination of sweet, tangy, crunchy, and slightly spicy. Just as you promised.

  2. Julie PEESKER says

    I made this recipe AND LIKE THE OTHER 20 OR SO of your recipes that I’ve tried, it was absolutely fantastic. My family has just recently become vegan and we all feel like we are missing nothing only getting to eat fabulously flavoured foods. I make 3-4 of your recipes per week and we love everything I make. Keep on doing what you are doing as I appreciate it so much. You are fantastic at what you do and I tell at least 2 people a week where I get these great recipes. I will try to leave a comment each time I make one of your recipes to help the word get out and to give you a koodos for what you are doing. It can’t be easy but my family and all of your followers appreciate it very much. Thanks so much.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw thanks so much for your kind words and lovely review, Julie. We are so glad you enjoy our recipes! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  3. Teri Watkins says

    O. M. G. I just made this and haven’t even added the cashews (make those tomorrow) and it is juicy, sweet and spicy all in one (big!) bite. The peanuts didn’t ‘paste’ up to well with the mortar & pestle so I put all the dressing ingredients in a mini-food processor, added a little peanut butter (about 1 1/2 t.), gave it a whirl and it turned out amazing. Also, I didn’t have Bird’s Eye chilis but I had some dried and crushed Tien Tsin chilis (comparable SHU) and they were just right. I can’t wait to have some with the Curried Cashews, but until then . . . . Delicious!!!!

  4. Charles Suggs says

    We forgot to get kale and so used baby spinach, worked great! Didn’t follow the process for the cashews just dumped everything into a bowl and then stirred in the cashews, didn’t work well at all (my fault.) Used frozen last year’s crop Thai Dragon chilies, three of them, seeds and all, worked out just right.

    This is a very tasty salad which we served with mango slices, wild rice, and chile, garlic, ginger shrimp. My wife was scraping her bowl with her chopsticks! We will do this again no doubt.

    Thanks for the great recipe.

    Charley

  5. Karolina says

    Great salad recipe, very quick to make. I cut down on time even more by making the dressing in a blender instead of a mortar and pestle. Used spinach for the greens since that’s what I had on hand. Will make again!

  6. Carolyn says

    Wow, get ready to hop on the train to flavor town!! Mine didn’t look as picture perfect as this… it looked mostly like shredded carrots but once you take a bite pow, hits you with so much goodness. My husband was losing his mind over this too! It didn’t even feel or taste like carrots!

    So, my tips….
    – first use a food processor for shredding all those carrots, it’s a lot of carrots! I used the mandolin before I even thought about using my food processor. Save your arms!
    – omitted the lime juice on the kale because the dressing already had so much flavor
    – I didn’t try it with any pineapple juice, I am interested in how that would balance the dressing some
    – I made the curry-spiced cashews and I had to cook them for atleast 4 min. beyond the recipe, my oven is a little weak. They still seemed chewy and moist but when they cooled a little they got more crunchy which is what you want for this salad. I also accidentally put the lime zest on before baking and it still turned out fine.

    This reminded me of an asian coleslaw… I think it would be great on a pulled pork sandwich. Could probably leave the pork pretty basic and let this salad bring all the flavor! OMG, drooling!

  7. Gail says

    This was so delicious and so nutritious. It was a huge hit, served with fresh baked french bread. My additions were 3 fresh pineapple spears, chopped into bite sized chunks. I purchased these from a local food shop and used the juice for the optional pineapple juice. And also, 1/3 cup dried cranberries. I used low salt cashews plain since there was already quite a bit of prep and I just did not have the time to make the curried version, although I am sure they would have only added another dimension to the dish. I also added the cilantro. A wonderful summer supper for 2-3 as a main course or 4 as a side dish. Thank you!

  8. Sophie says

    What a fantastic recipe, just made this for dinner and loved it. Had a turtle brownie straight from the freezer for dessert too :) Thank you for all your hard work and sharing of delicious recipes.

  9. Shayla says

    Love this! I actually live in Thailand and it is reminiscent to Som Dom Papaya Salad here. I usually stay away from Thai inspired recipes since I live here but when reading it I just had to try it. Made it for lunch today, it was delicious and husband devoured it! We had a little left, so I’m going to cook some white fish tonight and add the left overs to have as fish tacos. :)

  10. Cathy says

    This salad is absolutely delicious! I made it with the peanut butter, red pepper flakes, and maple syrup options, along with just freshly roasted cashews. We served it alongside marinated, grilled chicken and it was a perfect meal! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Eilene says

    Love your site and your patter. Having hard time to stick to vegan or even vegetarian. Your recipes are going to make it easier. ❤️

  12. Lauren says

    Super yummy and a great way to get in kale without juicing it. The only point to note about this salad is that it is quite high calorie and doesn’t keep you full for long.

  13. Kathy says

    Amazing combination of flavours and looks beautiful. I’ve made it twice: version 1 had peanut buttter, no pineapple and dried chiles. Version 2 had dry roasted peanuts (ground to a paste), pineapple and red pepper flakes. I preferred the first with more of a hot sour zing. My new favourite kale salad, and definitely worth cutting carrots to matchsticks rather than shredding coleslaw style. I just used curry powder and maple syrup on the cashews. Will be a birthday dinner standard around here! Thanks!

  14. Beth says

    The dressing is the most traditional and delicious dressing I have eaten outside a Thai restaurant. I didn’t add the pineapple juice or peanuts, but I am sure the juice is a nice addition the the already-flavorful dressing! The added curry cashews made the dish a satisfying meal. I substituted a baby kale/butter lettuce blend for the kale which was less bitter for me. I will definitely make this salad again.

  15. Denise says

    AMAZING!!! Double the sauce and the cashews to be sure you have leftovers! Had no kale one time, just used chopped crunchy lettuce. Another time, served it all over a stir fry with Taste of Thai brand rice noodles. The combination of flavors is truly delicious.

  16. Michelle Schwarze says

    Made this for a Memorial Day Picnic and it was a *huge* hit! I added a sliced yellow mango to the salad and subbed in two more tablespoons of pineapple juice in place of the coconut sugar in the dressing (to accommodate a friend who was not eating anything with added sugars). It was delicious! Thank you, thank you, again, Dana, for such a wonderful recipe! This is my new go-to recipe blog.

  17. montanahappy.com says

    Grabbing the ingredients tomorrow and making it for dinner. Looks fabulous and healthy!

  18. Heather says

    Hi Dana,
    I made this for lunch yesterday, and it was delicious! Everyone loved the curried cashews and I had to hide them otherwise I would not have any left for the next time I make this salad (which will be on Tuesday). The only thing I changed was using raw sugar because I did not have any coconut sugar in the house.
    I just love your recipes and you are now my go-to website for vegan recipes!

  19. Kim says

    I made this last night for my birthday dinner, and holy crunch factor, it was SO GOOD!! The flavors complement each other so nicely, and I loved how fast it was to put together. My mom and aunt are usually quite chatty over dinners, but they were unusually quiet minus occasional moans of bliss. Lol My husband told me to print the recipe and post it on the fridge so I can make it again in a hurry. I think this one’s a keeper. I did add lime and pepper shrimp skewers for extra protein. Perfect meal for the heat we’re getting in CT!

  20. Danielle says

    Wow, this is definitely a 10/10 in my books! We made it last night and followed everything to a T except that we added sugar snap peas, thinly sliced peppers and green onions to the salad. The cashews are SO tasty and slightly sweet – a perfect dinner or lunch dish! I will be making this again soon for some of my friends :)

  21. Wendy says

    This salad is really good. Left out the sugar all together and added some avocado. Eating the leftovers from my lunch yesterday now and planning on making it again tomorrow! Thanks for the great recipe. It’s hot this week in NY and salad is pretty much all I can stomach. Perfect timing.

  22. Yolie924 says

    This salad looks AMAZING!!! I have an allergy to pineapple (yes, please cry with me about it). What can I substitute for the pineapple juice? I was thinking organic mango juice. I will be making this next week. Thank you in advance! :-)

  23. Julia @ Sprinkles & Saturdays says

    Wow this looks amazing! I am always on the hunt for new, unique salad recipes to try. Definitely pinning this one!

  24. aleen says

    I love everything with cashews :D i throw them in everywhere :P love your pictures and the detailed recipes. and that blue background ;)

  25. Cassie says

    Wow, this salad is packed with protein even though there’s no major plant protein sources besides cashews! The spice and nutty flavors will go so well with the kale and carrots!

  26. Tesia says

    I can’t wait to try this! And I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the way you do your recipes. The notes about substitutions and optional etc is so helpful with all my odd allergies and I am so much more inclined to give them a try than the recipes where I have to guess at what may or may not work! You’re awesome! ?

  27. Ruth Marshall says

    read the recipe and had to make it straight away! It was delicious, thank-you! For my dressing I used agave maple nectar instead of coconut sugar, had a slightly different taste, added raw sugar and it was fine, now let me get back to eating it!!!! <3

  28. Aleksandra says

    Since I got your cookbook, every single lunch I take to work is Minimalist Baker lunch. A new one to add to the list!
    (is it addiction yet?)

  29. Leah @ Grain Changer says

    Love that you have a Sunday Thai tradition! I think we need to start doing that, too, as Thai is easily our favorite cuisine. Think we’ll have to kick it off this Sunday with this Salad! ;)

  30. Vivian | stayaliveandcooking says

    Sounds & looks like a great replacement for delivery! Would love a big bowl of this right now.

  31. Molly @ Spices in My DNA says

    This looks incredible. I love all your Thai recipes and they’re on regular rotation in my house, so I’ll definitely have to try this one!