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Pad Thai salad

2013 May 28


One of my winter dinner staples this year was Pad Thai. I just love Pad Thai — it’s the perfect meal in every way. Brown rice noodles (soothes my pasta cravings), sprouts, green onions, eggs, crushed peanuts, cilantro … and plenty of ever-so-slightly-spicy sauce.

Once spring hit, so did a little lightbulb {click!}:  Pad Thai salad!

Now, I know without even looking that this is not the first time anyone has ever thought of Pad Thai salad. But it’s the first time I thought of it, so I’m just going to take a moment via this post to revel in the discovery: Pad Thai that is warming and comforting in the winter becomes cooling and refreshing in the summer, thanks to a hefty dose of fresh salad greens.


I am so digging my new salad bar garden bench. The crisp, perfect greens pictured here have grown right outside my kitchen door all spring. What a treat!

Oh, wait — it just occurred to me, I don’t think I’ve shared my salad bar garden bench. Duh! This has been the focus of my entire spring planting efforts — it completely consumed my thoughts late in the winter, when visions of fresh spinach and arugula filled my garden dreams.

{Digs through camera card to find picture of garden bench].


{There!}  My amazing brother built this bench for me out of lovely, scented cedar. Just seconds after the last nail was set in early April, I filled the bench with dirt, and eagerly waited for my seedlings to be strong enough to withstand our frost-filled spring.

Today, the bench is lush with green — cilantro, arugula, spinach, romaine, and Swiss chard. It’s the perfect height for comfortable gardening, and well out of reach of nibbling bunnies (don’t worry — there’s plenty for furry friends to eat in my yard). My next project is to fashion a shade screen, so I can extend the plantings into summer.

(Another thing that just occurs to me is that, with all the hullabaloo of this spring’s crazy planting schedule, I haven’t yet done a gardening post, which is practically unimaginable on my part: in the spring, I’m not really focusing on dinner; I’m thinking about my summer gardens. I must remedy that soon, because my yard is positively stuffed with all manner of growing things. Just this weekend, I harvested my overwintered French shallots — small this year (about the size of the circle your thumb and forefinger make in the “OK” sign), but lovely and fragrant. Garlic scapes are starting to appear from robust garlic stalks — hello, garlic scape pesto.)


So, you can see why I might seem extra excited about a salad. Any excuse to pick fresh greens, I’m there, happily picking from my salad bar garden bench.

Finally, although Pad Thai ubiquitous scrambled eggs will rock with this salad (if you don’t mind eggs that have cooled off, which I don’t), I went with a sunny-side-up preparation, with runny yolk that I find irresistible on salads.

Pad Thai Salad


  • for the salad:
  • 4 ounces rice sticks or mung bean noodles
  • Mix greens – I used Swiss chard, arugula, and spinach – chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded or chopped
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced and halved
  • 1/3 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
  • bean sprouts (optional – they can be hard to find now)
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 eggs, fried, poached, or sunny-side up
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • for the peanut dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • juice from half of a fresh lime (a little less than 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • fine sea salt, if needed


  1. Prepare the rice sticks or mung bean noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cool water, and set aside.
  2. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until well mixed (or use an immersion blender and a tall container). Set aside.
  3. For a nice presentation, layer the salad ingredients (dividing them between two plates), one at a time, like this: greens on the bottom, then the cabbage, cooked rice sticks/mung bean noodles, bean sprouts (if using), radish slices, chickpeas, and green onions. Top with the cooked egg, minced cilantro, and a healthy drizzle of the peanut dressing.
Prep Time: 30 minutes       Cook time: 15 minutes       Yield: 2 salads


4 Responses
  1. May 28, 2013

    Mmmmm this looks so good! Pad thai is one of my favorite Asian inspired dishes. And I’m always sad as it’s rated one of the most unhealthiest. But I bet people can’t say that about your salad! Can’t WAIT to try this one!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      May 28, 2013

      I should say, homemade pad Thai is a winter staple. I know exactly what’s going in it – not perfectly traditional, but definitely healthier. :)

  2. June 3, 2013

    Printed. CSA pickup starts today – baby greens, here I come!

    Love your garden bench – that looks like something that even my brown thumb could handle. If we weren’t in the middle of a pergola build, I would be very tempted…

  3. Jessa permalink
    July 16, 2013

    What a great idea! I made a version of this for dinner last night and it was amazing! Such a nice twist on pad thai :)

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