A delicious crunchy cashew quinoa salad using red Thai curry paste– an easy recipe ready in less than 30 minutes! Vegan friendly, gluten free and the best healthy salad for any occasion.
Quinoa salads are one of my favorite things to make! Whether you’re looking for something to bring to a backyard BBQ, a meal prep recipe for lunch, or just a side salad to go with dinner, quinoa salads are the way to go.
You can pack so much goodness into them, too. With whole grain quinoa, various veggies and flavorful sauces, you can’t go wrong.
Another one of my personal favorites – anything Thai-inspired.
So it was only a matter of time before this Thai style salad happened!
Cashew Quinoa Salad Recipe
You just need 7 ingredients for this easy quinoa salad recipe:
- red cabbage
- red bell peppers
- green onions
- roasted cashews
Cashew Curry Dressing
I first started making what I call my “cashew curry dressing” many years ago now, and it has made its way into some of my favorite FMK dishes since then.
The not-so-secret is red curry paste for amazing flavor.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
- creamy cashew butter
- red curry paste
- coconut aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)
- honey, agave or maple syrup
- rice vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
- minced garlic & fresh ginger
- milk or water, to thin as needed
If you don’t have Thai Red Curry paste on hand but you have everything else, the dressing will still taste delicious.
Tips for Making this Quinoa Salad
Instant Pot Quinoa
I love using the Instant Pot for cooking quinoa – it’s super quick, hands off and it’s ready in about 20 minutes.
Place 1 cup rinsed quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water in Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. Seal lid/vent, set pressure to HIGH; cook on MANUAL for 1 minute. Allow pressure to release for 10 minutes, unlock lid, fluff and transfer to heat-proof bowl.
Prep Veggies While Quinoa Cooks
While the quinoa cooks, chop the veggies and make the sauce.
CLEAN UP TIP: use a second large bowl as a “garbage scraps” bowl so as you’re peeling, seeding and dicing. Anything you don’t need can go right into the bowl and it helps with cleanup.
Cashew Dressing vs. Peanut Dressing
For the cashew dressing, feel free to sub peanut butter and make a Thai peanut dressing if you’d like. You can also sub almond butter!
NUT FREE: Sunbutter would work as well if looking for a nut-free option. Tahini would be quite strong but if you know you like tahini already, then you could sub with that as well.
This salad can be made ahead of time – whether that’s parts of the recipe or all of it. The quinoa can be made 1-2 days in advance, as well as the chopped veggies.
You can combine the quinoa and veggies together in a bowl and add the dressing right before serving.
This quinoa salad stores well and is a great meal prep salad. You can make the entire salad, toss in the dressing and place in a container with tight lid – keeps in the fridge for about one week.
If you love creamy peanut dressing (or cashew in this case) and chopped crunchy veggies, then you need this Thai Cashew Quinoa Salad in your life!
Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
for the salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups chopped red cabbage (about 1/2 medium head)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into thin strips
- 1 cup edamame
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 6 green onions, cut into 1/4“
- 2/3 cup roasted cashews
- 1/4 cup cashew butter
- 1/2 TBSP red curry paste (see notes)
- 3 TBS coconut aminos (soy sauce or tamari)
- 2 TBS honey (or agave or maple syrup)
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1” cube fresh ginger, grated
- juice of 1 lime
- 2–4 TBS non-dairy milk or water, plus more to thin as needed
- Rinse quinoa through fine mesh strainer and cook according to package instructions. (Notes on Instant Pot method below). Allow quinoa to cool in separate bowl; set aside.
- Meanwhile, chop all of the veggies and place in large bowl.
- Make the dressing: add all dressing ingredients to small blender or food processor; blend until smooth, adding milk or water to thin as needed. Dressing should be somewhat thick and creamy, but not thin.
- Combine quinoa with chopped veggies, add about half of the dressing, toss and continue adding more dressing as you stir and toss to combine. Serve immediately or chill in fridge.
Instant Pot Quinoa Method: Place 1 cup rinsed quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water in Instant Pot. Seal lid/vent, set pressure to HIGH; cook on MANUAL for 1 minute. Allow pressure to release for 10 minutes, unlock lid, fluff and transfer to heat-proof bowl.
To roast cashews: place raw cashews on baking sheet and drizzle with about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. stir to coat. Bake at 325ºF for about 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool before adding to salad.
Thai red curry paste – if you don’t have this on hand, the dressing will still taste delicious without.
Make ahead: Salad can be made 1-2 days in advance. If serving a crowd, I recommend tossing with dressing prior to serving.