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Crunchy Asian Salad, Two Ways (Soy-Free Dressing)

June 20, 2023 (Last Updated: August 25, 2023)

This crunchy Asian salad with Thai-style coconut aminos dressing is one of my favorite salads! A rainbow of nutritious vegetables and herbs, a delicious soy-free and peanut-free dressing, crunchy macadamia nuts, and so many ways to personalize it.

Serve it as a side salad, or add some protein and make it a complete meal. I will give you a simple recipe for the basic side salad, plus a version with my favorite protein addition, crunchy chickpeas.

Why do we love this salad?

Both my husband and I love this salad. Here is why:

It’s delicious: the crunchy vegetables, the creamy dressing, all the Asian flavors, and so many textures and flavors. It just tastes good.

It’s easy to make: some basic and easy-to-find vegetables and a homemade sauce that is ready in five minutes. It’s just easy. Plus, these ingredients, or at least the most part, are available all year around, pretty much anywhere around the world.

It’s so versatile: we serve it as a meal with crispy chickpeas, as a side dish, with roasted chicken, or any grilled meats.

It’s so nutritious: my favorite type of meal. We get a boost of nutrients with this meal: lots of vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, some plant-based protein, and lots of fiber. Plus, this salad is vegan, lectin-light, and gluten-free.

Ingredients to make this crunchy Asian salad

For this salad, you will make my Thai-style coconut aminos sauce, an easy and healthier alternative to soy and peanut butter sauce, or another soy sauce based Asian dressing.

There are two versions of this salad:

  1. Just the vegetables: perfect as a side dish
  2. With added crispy chickpeas: a complete meal

This is the complete list of ingredients:

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1/2 cup broccoli, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (seeds and peel removed)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (I used white cabbage but you can also mix in some red cabbage)
  • 4 scallions or green onions, finely sliced at an angle
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • small handful of cilantro (whole leaves, not chopped)
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup Thai-style coconut aminos sauce, or more to taste (see LINK to recipe above)
  • juice of 1 lime (or to taste)
  • More seasoning if needed: salt, pepper, toasted sesame oil (I love to finish with extra toasted sesame oil)
  • Optional: toasted sesame seeds (to sprinkle on top)

Note: if you need to save some time, a store-bought coleslaw mix will work to replace the cabbage and carrots in this salad. Pre-shredded carrots could work too, but I love to cut them as they are crunchier this way.

FOR THE CHICKPEA VERSION, ADD:

  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

NOTE: For a lectin-light salad (and much healthier for your gut), choose a brand of canned chickpeas that are organic, soaked, and pressure-cooked, like Eden or Jovial.

How to make this crunchy Asian salad

IF YOU MAKE THE CHICKPEA VERSION:

  • Mix the ingredients and spices together and toss them on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes at 400F (200C). When done, let them cool on the baking sheet.

TO MAKE THE SALAD:

  • Prepare all the vegetables and mix them in a large bowl or on a salad platter. Save some cilantro, mint leaves, and scallions for garnish.
  • Add the Thai-style coconut aminos sauce, toss, and season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice, and more toasted sesame oil (to taste).
  • Garnish with cilantro, mint leaves, and scallions, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if using.
  • Serve immediately.
  • If you want to prepare the salad in advance, prep and mix all the veggies, but add the dressing just before serving.
  • If you are using chickpeas, add them on top of the salad.

I hope you love this crispy Asian salad recipe as much as we do.

*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.

Crunchy Asian Salad, Two Ways (Soy-Free Dressing)

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By Claudia Curici, Health Coach Serves: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes

This crunchy Asian salad with Thai-style coconut aminos dressing is one of my favorite salads! A rainbow of nutritious vegetables and herbs, a delicious soy-free and peanut-free dressing, crunchy macadamia nuts, and so many ways to personalize it. Serve it as a side salad, or add some protein and make it a complete meal. I will give you a simple recipe for the basic side salad, plus a version with my favorite protein addition, crunchy chickpeas.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup broccoli, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (seeds and peel removed)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (white or a mix of white and purple)
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced at an angle
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • small handful of cilantro (whole leaves, not chopped)
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup Thai-style coconut aminos sauce, or more to taste (see post for link to recipe)
  • juice of 1 lime (or to taste)
  • More seasoning if needed: salt, pepper, toasted sesame oil (I love to finish with extra toasted sesame oil)
  • Optional: toasted sesame seeds (to sprinkle on top)
  • FOR THE CHICKPEA VERSION, ADD:
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1

IF YOU MAKE THE CHICKPEA VERSION:

2

Mix the ingredients and spices together and toss them on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes at 400F (200C). When done, let them cool on the baking sheet.

3

TO MAKE THE SALAD:

4

Prepare all the vegetables and mix them in a big salad bowl or on a salad platter. Save some cilantro, mint leaves, and scallions for garnish.

5

Add the Thai-style coconut aminos sauce, toss, and season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice and more toasted sesame oil (to taste).

6

Garnish with cilantro, mint leaves, and scallions, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if using.

7

Serve immediately. If you are using chickpeas, add them on top of the salad.

8

If you want to prepare the salad in advance, prep and mix all the veggies, but add the dressing just before serving.

Notes

The nutrition values are for the basic salad recipe (with 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts), without the chickpeas.

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