Easy Thai Beef Salad

I have written before about Thailand, a magical country where I’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a lot of time. The cuisine of Thailand is world-renowned and rightly so. Often balanced on the finest edge of salty, sweet, sour and spicy, good Thai food is a flavour sensation, enough to awaken the most tired of tastebuds. While there are all sorts of wild and wonderful meals to be found there, today I’m sharing my recipe for one of the most well known, an Easy Thai Beef Salad.

Funnily enough, while Thai beef salad or Yum Nuea is eaten in Thailand, it is in Thai restaurants abroad that it has attracted a cult following. I first ate it in Sydney, a city that is hands-down home to some of the best Thai restaurants in the world. And what’s not to like? Crispy, fresh vegetables, fragrant herbs, tender, juicy beef with a punchy, spicy dressing. It’s a dish that when made wrong can be so disappointing, but when made with a little love and care can be truly wonderful.

This recipe makes enough for two people to greedily devour, but could easily be stretched to feed four with a few sides or starters. I like to make it spicy by adding extra chilli at the end, but that’s completely up to you. This salad base is even fantastic for other meats, so if beef isn’t in the budget, try it with chicken, pork or even tofu!

A recipe like this relies on the beautiful fragrant herbs, so make sure to use plenty. As with all recipes like this, Easy Thai Beef Salad comes together very quickly, so make sure you have everything set up to go before you start cooking.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If you try it out be sure to let me know on Instagram or Facebook! Take care out there and happy cooking. x J

Easy Thai Beef Salad

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!

Easy Thai Beef Salad

Easy Thai Beef Salad

Yield: 2-4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Better than any restaurant, this Easy Thai Beef Salad recipe is quick to make and packed with flavour and goodness. Juicy beef steak served on a bed of crisp, fresh vegetables and fragrant herbs. The sweet and spicy dressing is the secret to the amazing flavour in this dish.


for the dressing:

  • 1 medium red chilli, sliced
  • small bunch coriander/cilantro, leaves and stems separated
  • 2 fat cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp / 45ml lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp / 30ml fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp / 15g sugar
  • 1 Tbsp / 15ml neutral oil, sunflower etc.
  • zest of 1 lime, finely grated

for the salad:

  • 300g beef steak, rump, sirloin etc. at room temperature
  • 2 tsp neutral oil for frying
  • 1 thin cucumber, finely sliced or peeled into ribbons
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small cos or romaine lettuce, leaves torn
  • 25g roasted peanuts, finely diced
  • small bunch of mint, leaves only
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • extra red chilli, sliced

to serve:

  • steamed jasmine or basmati rice


    Prepare the dressing by grinding the chilli, coriander stems and garlic together in a mortar and pestle to a chunky paste. If you don’t have a good, solid mortar and pestle, you can use a small food processor, or cut the ingredients very finely.

    Scrape the paste into a small mixing bowl, add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, oil and lime zest then whisk well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set the dressing aside.

    Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel, rub with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan until a drop of water sizzles when dropped onto the surface. Add the steaks to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (see note). Remove from the heat, lay the steaks on an ovenproof dish, cover loosely with tinfoil and place in the preheated oven for 5-10 minutes

    While the meat is resting, combine the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion and lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Toss through two tablespoons of the dressing. When the beef has rested at least 5 minutes, slice thinly against the grain, add to the bowl that has the remaining dressing in it, along with any resting juices and stir well to coat.

    Pile the salad onto a serving platter or two plates and top with the beef. Sprinkle over the peanuts and scatter over plenty of fresh coriander, mint and extra chilli (if using). Drizzle over all the remaining dressing and serve immediately with steamed rice.


How cooked you like your steak is a personal preference. This recipe assumes you are using approx. 2 cm thick steaks resulting in medium-rare. If you are using thinner steaks they will need less time, thicker steaks will need more. If you like your steaks cooked through, cook at least 3-4 minutes on each side and let rest in the oven for the full 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 764Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1873mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 50g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and isn’t always accurate.

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I don’t eat beef, can I make this salad with anything else?

Even though it is called Easy Thai BEEF Salad, this salad is great with chicken, pork, fish or even tofu!

I don’t like food to be too spicy, should I change the recipe?

Taste the chilli before you add it to the dressing to see how hot it is and adjust accordingly. If you discard the seeds of the chilli it won’t be as hot. Make sure you have plenty of cucumber and rice to was as well as water to drink to cool you down if you find it too spicy!

I can’t eat peanuts, is there an alternative?

There is! You can toast 2 tablespoons of uncooked rice in a dry pan until nutty and light brown. Grind finely in a mortar and pestle and use to replace the peanuts in this recipe.

Preparing Thai Beef Salad

Make sure the steak has been out of the fridge for at least half an hour before cooking. That way it will cook evenly.

Cucumber Ribbons
Easy Thai Beef Salad


Easy Thai Beef Salad

Easy Thai Beef Salad


Looking for more tasty salad recipes? Why not try:

Spicy Prawn Cocktail Salad

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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food, architectural and landscape photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.
Articles: 240

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