Thai salads are Asia’s way of telling us Americans that we’re doing salads all wrong. Totally, completely and universally wrong. Forget your blue cheese crumbles and your oil-soaked, flavor-killing ranch dressings, guys. Put away the bacon bits, hide your cubed deli turkey, and please, for the love of all that is good and merciful, throw away those dried cranberries. In the salad world, Thais are making our big salads look like amateur hour.
It’s not that Thai salads, like the Thai ground chicken salad (called larb gai) I’m going to show you today, are mysteriously complex. They’re actually very simple, with defined, powerful flavors that make you forget that you’re supposed to be eating healthy. We have Thai salad night every few weeks or so to remind ourselves that zesty, filling food can also be decidedly healthier than the other foods we normally eat. During our Whole30 fiasco, we ate Thai salads nearly every other day (in case you’re just tuning in, Whole30 is the month-long restrictive elimination diet that prohibits dairy, soy, grains, refined sugar and joy. Sadly, it’s also really effective. Read more about it here).