I go to barbecues and shovel pasta salad in my mouth like it’s going out of style. Seriously, I load up with enough dressing-doused noodles to make my paper plate sag down in the middle, and then I go back for seconds. And thirds. I love the stuff.
For obvious reasons, pasta salad has been one of my favorite things to bring to potluck-style events, and it always goes fast. But you know what’s even more of a crowd-pleaser? Rice salad. Yup, rice salad, like this Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce.
This Thai-inspired rice salad is great as a small meal, snack, side dish, or to bring to a party full of hungry friends. It should be served at room temperature, which makes it perfect for BBQs because everyone hates having to take up fridge or oven space because their dish needs to be kept cold/served hot.
Oh, and did I mention that it is, like, the tastiest thing, ever?
Crunchy cashews, creamy coconut rice, crisp veggies, and flavor-packed Ginger Peanut Sauce make this rice salad unforgettable. And irresistible. Remember how I said that I usually eat several servings of pasta salad?
Well I almost ate the whole dang bowl of this Thai Cashew Coconut Rice… the first time I made it. Since then, I have eaten the whole bowl once or twice. Don’t judge me ’til you try it– you’ll understand once you do.
These photos are actually from a time when I recently remade it for friends who came over for the weekend. And while it was mostly devoured on the first night, there was a bit leftover when Sunday rolled around. My friend Brandon suggested we try to fry up the remainder with a bit of egg and sriracha. You guys, he’s a genius.
As if you needed any other reason to make this, you can also fry up any leftover rice the next day for a totally different and still incredibly delicious dish.
(By the way, I checked the comments after the fact and realized that one of you actually suggested the same thing a while back! This is why I love you guys.)
Speaking of great ideas, this recipe was adapted from Alaska From Scratch’s recipe, which uses quinoa instead of coconut rice. Thanks, Maya, for the inspiration! The Ginger Peanut Sauce is to die for.
Grace your guests with this delicious dish at your next summer get-together and it’ll be a requested repeat for years to come, or make it for dinner when you’re craving Thai food but don’t want to eat out. (Add a little grilled chicken in for extra protein, if you’d like!) No matter what occasion you make it for, you’re going to love it!
For the Coconut Rice:
- 1 1/2 cups dry jasmine rice
- 1 (15 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
For the Salad:
- 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
- 1 (8 ounce) bag shredded red cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 3/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cashews, finely chopped
For the Ginger Peanut Sauce:
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Water to thin
- Lime wedges
- Rinse the dry rice well until the water runs clear.
- In a medium-sized pot, mix together the rice, coconut milk, garlic, salt, and water. Bring to a boil.
- Once the pot reaches a rolling boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, turn off heat and let sit (with lid on) for an additional 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
- As you wait for the rice, make the peanut sauce.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and honey. Microwave for 15 seconds, or until the peanut butter thins. Stir well. Add the ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir again. Thin as desired with water.
- Fluff the rice and combine it with the chopped vegetables and cashews (I reserve a few whole cashews to garnish with, but it’s not necessary). Drizzle with a bit of the Ginger Peanut Sauce and taste– you might not need to use all of it. Serve with lime wedges.
If you’d like to add meat, toss in some shredded rotisserie chicken.