Protein Loaded Thai Chicken Salad

Protein Loaded Thai Chicken Salad

Tahini and coconut milk are spiked with spicy chili paste and tart lime, making this sauce unctuous enough you’ll want to lick the bowl. Loaded with hearty veggies, packed with protein-rich chicken and quinoa, and topped with bright bean sprouts, this make-ahead salad is a surefire way to simplifying your weekly routine. Get the recipe.

My grandmother was not known for being a particularly tidy person. She had a knack for turning bedrooms into war zones and drawers into minefields. Give her a slip of paper and it would morph into a pile. Hand her a book and it’d become an end table. 

It wasn’t that she tried to be messy. It was just that the mess seemed to grow around her. How do I know? I inherited the same trait.

Protein Loaded Thai Chicken Salad

Even as I type, my desk is littered with four different sets of headphones, countless receipts, two camera lenses, three coffee cups, old checks, a wireless shutter release, five books I can see, a stack of envelops to be mailed, and one very sad looking pair of sunglasses missing a lens.

Over the years I’ve worked on cleaning things up. I’ve gone through whirlwind tours of paper sorting, magazine tossing, and pen organizing. I’ve tried color coordinating books, arranging t-shirts by season, and tossing all my expired makeup — a very expensive endeavor.

Protein Loaded Thai Chicken Salad

I even bought The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (It’s probably holding up the remote beside the couch.)

My latest attempt at de-messying self-improvement is weekly calendar alerts with messages like, “Clean your desk,” and “Toss your stack of edits.” So far, the edits are in a paper bag beside my chair and the desk is in a holding pattern. (Baby steps people. Baby steps. If you have a tidying tip or simply want to come over and help me clean, my door’s open.)

While I’ve yet to master the magic of tidying up, I’d like to think I’m well on my way to owning the make-ahead lunch. It really is the ticket to a successful week. Gavey (my grandma) probably knew such things, but she was too busy feeding me cookies (as the best grandmas do) to share those pearls of wisdom.

Protein Loaded Thai Chicken Salad

This Protein Loaded Thai Chicken Salad happened on accident. My first attempt at Cooking Light’s Thai Chicken Pizza failed and we still needed to eat dinner and all the toppings were prepped and there was quinoa in the fridge. It was a hectic Wednesday night.

And somewhere between scarfing down the hodgepodge bowl and asking for seconds, Garrett asked, “Why don’t I get this for lunch?”

Protein Loaded Thai Chicken Salad

Makes 6 Salads

These salads can be assembled and left undressed for up to a week. If you like warm elements in your salad, keep the veggies stored separately, so you can heat the quinoa and chicken before tossing with veggies and dressing.

The dressing will definitely firm in the fridge. Heat for 10 – 15 seconds on low and stir to make smooth a creamy once again.

2 cups quinoa, cooked as directed and cooled
2 cups thinly sliced kale
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups bean sprouts
1 lb cooked chicken, sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
2 limes, cut into wedges

Tahini Coconut Milk Dressing

1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
½ cup tahini
3 TBS honey
2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS chili paste
2 – 3 TBS lime juice
1 TBS finely minced fresh ginger
Add dressing ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and fully incorporated.

Evenly distribute the quinoa, kale, cabbage, carrots, sprouts, and chicken between six bowls. Top with jalapenos, if desired. Add lime wedge for squeezing right before eating. Drizzle dressing liberally over salad. Enjoy!


More Fabulous Make-Ahead Salads

Cuban Kale Protein Salad Bowl

Creamy avocado and roasted sweet potato are paired with protein-rich quinoa, chicken, and cashews to give this make-ahead salad the kind of tasty goodness that keeps you satisfied throughout the day. Jump to the recipe.

Creamy avocado and roasted sweet potato are paired with protein-rich quinoa, chicken, and cashews.

Buffalo Chicken and Broccoli Bowl

Chicken + Spicy Wing Sauce + Tangy Garlic Greek Yogurt Dressing = a salad riff on buffalo chicken wings.

Chicken + Spicy Wing Sauce + Tangy Garlic Greek Yogurt Dressing = a salad riff on buffalo chicken wings.

Sautéed Corn and Black Bean Salad

Sautéed Corn and Black Bean Salad

Hearty black beans, sweet corn, bright cilantro, and spicy jalapenos make this a consistent crowd pleaser.


About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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