This vegan Thai chopped salad with brown rice, tofu and peanut sauce is easy to make and highly nutritious thanks to a colourful array of fresh veggies.

Bowl of colorful salad with brown rice, peanut sauce, tofu and veggies. Jar of sauce in background.

Recipe Features

  • dietary needs – vegan, can be gluten-free, can be nut-free
  • customizable – swap the tofu, veggies and brown rice as needed, see below for substitution ideas
  • side or main dish – this hearty salad can stand alone as a main dish as 4 large portions or serve 6-8 as a smaller side salad (I prefer it as a meal)

Ingredient Notes

Labelled ingredients for a Thai chopped salad with tofu and rice.
  • brown rice – I like it for a heartier salad but you can omit for a lighter meal, swap for white rice, farro, quinoa, noodles or pasta
  • cabbage – red or green both work
  • tofu – use firm or extra-firm, can be swapped for edamame, tempeh or chickpeas
  • soy sauce – sub with gluten-free tamari to keep gluten-free
  • peanut butter – swap for almond butter for a peanut-free recipe or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free recipe
  • sriracha – omit if you don’t like spice, can be subbed with red pepper flakes or cayenne

Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.


Step by Step Instructions

Step 1. If you don’t have cooked brown rice on hand, start that now as it will need up to 45 minutes to cook depending on the variety you use. White rice is fine too and will cook much faster than brown.

Cooked brown rice in a large pot.

Step 2. Make the tofu by mixing everything up in a bowl and baking for about 30 minutes until browned.

Sliced triangles of tofu with sauce on them on a baking pan.

Step 3. Make the dressing by blending everything until smooth and creamy or using an immersion blender in a suitable container.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have a way to blend the sauce, use garlic powder instead of garlic and whisk everything together in a container until smooth and creamy.

Overhead image of various ingredients in small dishes for making a spicy peanut sauce.
Jar of peanut sauce with a spoon resting in it.

Step 4. Prepare all the fresh veggies:

  • finely chop the cabbage (use a mandolin if you have one)
  • grate the carrot
  • diced the bell peppers
  • chop the red and green onion
  • died the cucumber
  • chop the cilantro
A large bowl of chopped cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, cucumber and red and green onion.

Finally, assemble your beautiful salad by mixing the veggies with the rice, tofu and peanut sauce.

Quick Tip: I like to mix up the veggies in a large bowl, plate those indivually then top the each serving with rice, tofu and sauce.

Mixed colorful chopped fresh veggies in a large bowl.
Overhead image of a plate of salad with rice, fresh veggies, tofu and sauce.

Notes and Tips

  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce.
  • Nut-Free Option: Use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.
  • Veggies: Don’t need to be exact amounts, use what you have and feel free to sub in any color of bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli or chopped celery.
  • Alternative Sauces: Try my almond satay sauce or miso peanut sauce
Plate of Asian salad with tofu, peanut sauce, brown rice and chopped veggies.

Storage and Prep

  • Brown rice and peanut sauce can be prepared up to 4 days in advance.
  • Tofu can be prepared up to 3 days in advance.
  • Veggies can be chopped ahead of time and stored separately for up to 4 days.
  • If storing final dish, keep sauce separate if you can until just before serving. The assembled salad is best after 2-3 days as the veggie will start to get soggy.
  • If storing for a grab-n-go meal prep, I’d recommend rice on the bottom of the container, then the sauce, then the tofu, then the veggies on top to keep fresh (store sauce separately if possible).

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Bowl of colorful salad with brown rice, peanut sauce, tofu and veggies. Jar of sauce in background.

Chopped Salad with Peanut Sauce and Tofu

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegan

This healthy, vegan Thai-inspired chopped salad is nourishing, satisfying and delicious. Throw in some cashews for some crunch!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (add up to 2 cups if desired)
  • 4 cups packed, finely chopped red cabbage (green cabbage is fine too)
  • 2 carrots, grated (approx. 1.5 cups)
  • 1 large or 2 small red peppers, finely diced (approx. 1.5 cups)
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup lightly packed, chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 a cucumber, diced (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1/2 a medium red onion, diced (approx. 1 cup)

For the Baked Tofu

For the Spicy Peanut Sauce


Instructions

  1. If you don’t have brown rice prepared, start cooking that now as it will need about 45 minutes to cook. Use white rice for a faster option, or sub with whole-grain pasta, noodles, farro or quinoa.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  3. Chop the tofu into triangles, slabs or cubes then toss with the tofu ingredients. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (optional but easier clean up!) and bake for 30 minutes until starting to brown and crisp. I like to flip it after 20 minutes but its’ not totally necessary to do so. For extra crispiness, see notes on pressing the tofu first.
  4. To make the dressing, add all the dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor, or use and immersion blender and mix until smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a blending method, sub the garlic with 2 tsp garlic powder and whisk everything together until smooth and creamy. You may need a little water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. If so, add water 1 tsp at a time until you have a thick but pourable sauce.
  5. Chop all the veggies and either divide between 4 containers or bowls and top each with equal amounts of rice, tofu and peanut sauce or mix everything together in a large bowl and serve mixed. I like to mix the veggies in a large bowl then plate the mixed veggies individually, topping each serving with with the rice, tofu and sauce.
  6. Serve with right away with fresh lime and if desired, chopped cashews or peanuts.

Notes

Pressing Tofu: To press your tofu before baking, fold a dishcloth over it and place something heavy on top of it for 20-30 minutes. If you’re crunched for time, it’s not absolutely necessary but it helps to press out extra water so it can absorb more flavor and get a little crispier.

Meal Prep and Storing: If meal prepping this recipe, I’d suggest storing the veggies and rice in one container and keeping the sauce and tofu separate until serving or the day you plan to eat it if you’re packing it up an individual container. Brown rice and peanut sauce can be prepared up to 4 days in advance. Tofu can be baked up to 3 days in advance. Veggies can be chopped ahead of time and stored separately for up to 4 days. The assembled salad is best after 2 days as the veggie will start to get soggy. If storing for a grab-n-go meal prep, I’d recommend rice on the bottom of the container, then the sauce, then the tofu, then the veggies on top to keep fresh (store sauce separately if possible).

Veggies: Don’t need to be exact amounts, use what you have and feel free to sub in any color of bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli,or chopped celery.

Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce.

Nut-Free Option: Use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.

Alternative Sauces: Try my almond satay sauce or miso peanut sauce

    Keywords: Thai chopped salad, vegan thai salad

    Originally published on June 1, 2015. Updated with new photos and text on September 15, 2020.