Fresh Thai-Inspired Salad with Tempeh

GFGluten FreeGRGrain FreeVVegan

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This Thai-Inspired Salad with Tempeh is an ode to my favorite dish at our local Thai restaurant. Packed with crunchy veggies and crispy fried tempeh, then drenched in a tangy lime dressing! Vegan + Gluten-Free.

This Thai-Inspired Salad with Tempeh combines crunchy, fresh vegetables and crispy, pan-fried tempeh for a wholesome, hearty salad that makes the perfect side dish or light lunch. Plus, this flavor-packed recipe is completely fuss-free, coming together in just 20 minutes!

close up photo of pan-fried tempeh over lettuce, cilantro, carrot, and peanuts


This recipe is inspired by my favorite restaurant in Portland – Kati Thai. I order their tempeh salad almost every time I go and while I don’t know their exact recipe, this homemade version comes pretty dang close!

Ingredients for thai-inspired tempeh salad on marble countertop

Like most Thai food, this dish perfectly balances salty with sweet, spicy, and sour. Drenched in a tangy, umami lime dressing, this salad is loaded with crisp lettuce, crunchy carrots, sweet apples, and sambal olek (chili garlic paste) that brings a delicious, spicy flavor and light kick of heat.


side-by-side photos of pan-fried tempeh on plate. next to photo of tempeh on top of salad

Short on time? Well, you’re in luck because this Fresh Thai-Inspired Salad with Tempeh is ready in only 20 minutes! This incredibly easy-to-make recipe will never have you sacrificing on flavor, either. Simply sauté your tempeh, mix your dressing, then toss everything together and you’ve got yourself a restaurant-quality meal 😊

  1. Sauté the tempeh in oil, rotating until all sides are golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  2. While the tempeh cools, combine lime juice, tamari, maple syrup, sambal olek, and garlic in a bowl and whisk.
  3. Toss the lettuce, apple, carrot, and red onion in the bowl with your dressing. Top with fried tempeh, cilantro, and peanuts. Enjoy!

During the warm spring and summer months, there’s nothing more refreshing than a crisp, hearty salad. This Thai-inspired tempeh salad is loaded with wholesome plant-based protein to keep you satiated but is still so light and refreshing from the bright, tangy dressing and all of the crunchy veggies. I like to garnish mine with nuts and fresh herbs like cilantro, green onion, or Thai basil. If I’m in the mood to double down on the crunch, I’ll sprinkle on an extra handful of peanuts or maybe even some cashews!

tempeh salad in large bowl with wooden serving spoons on marble countertop

Enjoy this well-balanced salad anytime you’re craving an easy lunch that’s fresh and full of flavor, or serve it alongside any of your favorite Thai-inspired dishes. Store your leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days; be sure to store the tempeh separately to prevent it from getting soggy 😊


  • Where To Find Sambal Olek: This Asian staple can be found at most grocery stores or your local Asian market. I like the brand Huy Fong Goods, which is fairly popular and easy to find 😊
  • Lettuce Swaps: I love this dish with iceberg lettuce because it’s heavy on the crunch factor, but you could also try using mixed greens, green leaf, or romaine lettuce for this recipe. You might even try adding cabbage for some extra crunch!
  • Meal Prep? This salad is truly at its best when served fresh, so I always recommend enjoying it the day it’s made. However, if you’d like to meal prep a few salads for the week, I suggest storing the greens and veggies, as well as the tempeh, separately from the dressing and tossing everything just before serving.

tempeh salad with peanuts, carrots, and cilantro in large bowl with wooden tongs

If you’re looking for more Thai-inspired recipes, you’ll love this Easy Vegan Pad Thai, this Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Red Curry Dressing, or make your own Best EVER Thai Green Curry using this Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂


Fresh Thai-Inspired Salad with Tempeh

This Thai-Inspired Salad with Tempeh is an ode to my favorite dish at our local Thai restaurant. Packed with crunchy veggies and crispy fried tempeh, then drenched in a tangy lime dressing! Vegan + Gluten-Free.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 23 tablespoons high-heat oil
  • 1 package tempeh, cut into ½” strips
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
  • 1 teaspoon sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed 
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped 
  • 1 granny smith apple, julienned*
  • 3 carrots, julienned*
  • 1/4 red onion, small dice
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup (74 g) peanuts


  1. Cook the Tempeh: warm the oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh to the oil and sauté for 2-3 minutes per side, using tongs to rotate each piece until all sides are golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle generously with salt, toss, and set aside to let cool.
  2. Make the Dressing: Add the lime juice, tamari, maple syrup, sambal olek, and garlic to a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
  3. Toss & Serve: Add the lettuce, apple, carrot, and red onion to the bowl and toss well. Spread the pan-fried tempeh evenly over the salad, then top with cilantro and peanuts. Serve immediately; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


  • Tempeh: tempeh is a whole soybean product found next to the tofu in most grocery stores! You can also use pressed tofu for this recipe and pan-fry it, but I prefer the texture of tempeh
  • Gluten-Free: use tamari in place of soy sauce to make this recipe naturally gluten-free!

Keywords: thai tempeh salad, vegan thai salad

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. Perfect summer meal! I’ve been making this weekly and adding either roasted small potatoes or Asian-style barley (sauteed with garlic, minced ginger in a little sesame oil, then boiled). I also have taken to adding a few cashews (as one of the reviewers mentioned) for the dressing and lastly, I’ve been air-frying the tempeh after steaming it in a marinade. Thank you so much!

  2. Saw this recipe on your Instagram story and it became my lunch! Really delicious. I airfried the tofu and used almonds Imstead of peanuts, because it’s what I had.

  3. I make this with romaine and cabbage and it’s amazing. I’ve made it with both tempeh and tofu and both are really great. I come back to this salad a lot and it’s perfect on a hot day.

  4. This salad was so good! Light and fresh, but so flavorful! I LOVED the dressing.
    Definitely adding to the rotation 😍

  5. This is my new favorite salad, also made for several
    friends and family who declared it their new favorite too! I added a mix of green and red cabbage for extra crunch as suggested. I also added a handful of cashews to the dressing and blended for a little creaminess and it helped the dressing stick to the greens. Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

  6. So good!! Saw it on IG and had tempeh on hand that I needed to use up! I decided to try it and omg so good! So simple and fast to make as well! Thank you! 🙂

  7. This was a really great salad. Took me longer than 20 minutes, but I may be a slow chopper. Used my air fryer for the tempeh.

  8. This is SO good! I’m not a huge tempeh fan so I just used marinated tofu, and also added avocado. The dressing is to die for and has just the right amount of heat. I’ll be making this all summer, for sure.