This Thai Crunch Salad is a slimmed down, healthier version of the classic California Pizza Kitchen salad. Complete with a delicious skinny Thai peanut salad dressing you'll love! Full of colorful crunchy vegetables and fantastic Thai-inspired flavors.
Thai Crunch Salad is a delicious salad full of exciting salad ingredients. It's a spin on a classic Thai peanut salad created for this popular restaurant. It's a favorite of the main course salads for good reason! It has so much flavor.
The California Pizza Kitchen restaurant version is packed with calories. We've swapped out ingredients like fried wonton skins and crisp rice sticks for broccoli slaw which has a great crunchy texture and is full of great nutrients too. Our skinny Thai peanut dressing is a perfect finishing touch making this crunchy salad a healthy salad recipe.
We think you'll be excited about both the flavor and the calorie savings with this version! Access the WW Personal Point in the recipe card below too!
What makes this skinny?
The original version of Thai Crunch Salad has 590 or 1180 calories depending on the size ordered. Ours has 214 calories for a 1 ½ cup serving.
We use broccoli slaw which is a combination of matchstick shaped broccoli stalks (which are slightly sweet with a great crunch) and shredded crunchy carrot. This gives a wonderful crunch to the salad and replaces more calorie-dense ingredients like wonton wrappers or rice sticks.
Broccoli is also a great source of protein! The slaw has 13 grams of protein!
We loaded up on other vegetables too: red bell pepper, English cucumber, green onion and cilantro.
Peanut dressing can be a calorie killer usually but we've pared it down to make it skinnier while keeping the classic blend of Thai dressing flavors. We have not added any olive oil or other oil to the dressing. The oil in the peanut butter is enough to make the dressing creamy with a little water added.
The California Pizza Kitchen version has 25 grams of sugar in their smaller half salad. Ours has 6 grams. Theirs has 36 grams of fat (again in the half portion) and ours has 13 grams.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Broccoli slaw. This is sold prepared in a bag in the produce section of the grocery store. You'll use 4 cups. It appears dry in the package but once it's coated with dressing it softens slightly while retaining a satisfying crunchy texture. Like coleslaw mix it has carrots included too.
Peanuts. You'll use ¼ cup of salted peanuts. They can be used whole (really halved) but for better distribution in the salad we prefer to chop them after measuring them out. Then you'll have little bits of peanut throughout the whole Thai salad.
English cucumber. We recommend an English or Persian cucumber. They are basically seedless, tend to be less bitter than regular cucumbers and do not need to be peeled (the skin is very thin). If you use a regular cucumber, peel it and remove the seeds before chopping it.
Thai Peanut Dressing
Here's what you'll need:
Natural peanut butter. This is the type of peanut butter that you'll have to stir to combine the peanuts and oil. The ingredients are just peanuts and salt ground together. Do not use peanut butter spread which has other added ingredients (usually palm oil or other added oils to make it smooth) and often sugar.
Rice vinegar. Adds some tang with a familiar Asian flavor.
Soy sauce. Regular or gluten-free Tamari can be used.
Lime juice. Freshly squeezed is best!
Minced garlic and minced ginger
Granulated sugar. This type of dressing is slightly sweet but of course most sweeteners are calorie dense. We pared this back to 1.5 teaspoons which adds just a touch of sweetness without breaking the calorie bank.
Red pepper flakes. Just ¼ teaspoon give a hint of spiciness.
How to make Thai Crunch Salad - Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Make the dressing
In a small bowl combine all the dressing ingredients: creamy peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fresh lime juice, minced garlic, minced fresh ginger, granulated sugar, red pepper flakes and water (photo 1).
Whisk until fully mixed together and creamy (photo 2).
STEP 2. Mix the salad ingredients
In a large bowl combine the broccoli slaw, chopped cucumber, red bell pepper, sliced green onions, cilantro and peanuts (photo 3). Toss to combine.
STEP 3. Make the salad
Pour the creamy peanut dressing into the salad (photo 4) and toss until the vegetables are fully coated (photo 5). Serve!
Add some protein. Add chopped or shredded chicken breasts to make it a Thai Chicken salad. Or cooked edamame (½ cup edamame) bump up the protein in the salad.
Try different greens. The salad originally used Napa cabbage. You can substitute some or all of the broccoli slaw with coleslaw mix or thinly sliced Napa cabbage and red cabbage for more color.
Try different fresh herbs. The fresh cilantro gives a classic Asian flavor. But you can add some fresh mint or basil too (Thai basil especially).
Add a dash of sesame seeds. They make a nice garnish and add some sesame flavor with far fewer calories than Asian sesame oil.
Want the dressing sweeter? Instead of a higher calorie sweetened like honey add a splash of orange juice!
The salad is best eaten the day it is made or the next day. If the salad has not had the peanut sauce added it can be stored longer; up to 3 days. Once the dressing is added the salad will soften too.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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