Thai Coconut Cucumber Salad

Chilled crunchy summer veggies are tossed with herbs and a spicy, tangy curry coconut dressing. Serve it for a vegan weeknight dinner as a main or side.

I could eat coconut all day in the summertime. Cold, crunchy, spicy salads like this one with a side of coconut iced tea, followed by coconut ice cream for dessert. I ask you, who needs so much dairy when the coconut exists? (Ok, don’t answer that, I know you cheese-lovers are a passionate bunch).

I’m calling this one a “Thai-inspired” dish. Jack and I are talking about taking a trip to Thailand next spring (!)… so until then, I bring you “Thai-ish.”

Coconut milk, lime, and red curry are flavors that I am crazy about… and here they create a delicious and creamy contrast to the crunchy chopped veggies and cashews. Add some cold rice noodles to make this a more filling “meal” salad… or omit the tofu to make it a lighter side dish.

thai coconut cucumber salad

  • ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (omit if vegan, add extra soy sauce at the end if necessary, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (use tamari if gluten free)
  • juice from ½ lime (reserve the other ½ lime to squeeze juice on at the end)
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoons sriracha, to taste
  • a few tablespoons of water, if needed, to thin it out
for the salad:
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup edamame, cooked
  • ½ cup tofu, cubed, (baked, if you prefer, see method below)
  • ¼ cup scallions, sliced, white and green parts
  • ½ cup basil leaves, chopped (thai basil if you have it, I just had regular basil)
  • 4 or 5 mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup arugula or other salad greens
  • 1 cup rice noodles, cooked (optional)
  • ¼ cup cashews, toasted & chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add a bit of water if necessary to thin the dressing to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place in the refrigerator while you chop salad ingredients.
  2. Toss all salad ingredients, except for the cashews and coconut flakes, with the dressing. Taste and decide how much or little dressing you like. Adjust for seasonings. Add the cashews and coconut flakes on top at the end so they remain crunchy. Squeeze more lime juice on top (or serve with lime slices on the side) and serve.
optional, bake the tofu:
  1. cut firm tofu into small cubes. Arrange on foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Let cool for 15 minutes or so before you toss into a cold salad.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Single mom cooking

    Sounds like a really refreshing idea!

  2. Yumvilla

    This looks so fresh and delicious!

  3. Rita Hyde

    OMG. Made this salad last night and again tonight. Spectacular. Anyone know the calorie count? I am guessing the recipe as is – 175 calories per serving.

  4. The photos are just beautiful!

    I will try this recipe.

    In Thailand we use Thai basil, which is spicier, in a dish called “phad kaprao.”

    It’s a popular dish that’s often served with a fried egg on top.

  5. I spent 2 and half months travelling around thailand and I fully recommend it. You really must go to Pai though (100km north of Chiang Mai) – such a beautiful place in the mountains 🙂 x

  6. Kate from

    These are some of my most favorite flavors as well, and I can’t help but get kind of excited when I come across recipes like this because I always keep coconut milk and red curry paste on hand. And with our state under a stretch of insanely hot weather, I could make this tonight and be thrilled to eat every last bite of it.

  7. Kelsey from

    soooo in the coconut camp, my friend. breakfast/lunch/din… this is perfect, and i’m always looking for good curry dishes 🙂

  8. Wow! So many of my favourite things in one salad! Looks delicious 🙂

  9. this looks extra-yummy. i’m also a big fan of thai food and would love to plan a trip to thailand soon too – it’s been on my list for way too long!

  10. Nirasha from

    I just made this delicious recipe. The dressing was my favorite part!!! I loved the crunch too! So happy to have discovered this blog. You have a tasty talent!

    • jeanine

      thanks Nirasha! glad you liked 🙂

  11. Oh, this looks delicious! Right up our alley. We are enjoying Southeast Asian flavors more and more lately! 🙂

  12. Wow I am in some good company over there on the Free People blog 🙂 This salad looks amazingly fresh and perfect for the summer! What a great combo of so many amazing flavors. Thanks for sharing and of course for your, as always, lovely photos.

  13. kankana from

    Love Thai dishes and this is totally my kinda salad .. irrespective of what the season is 🙂

  14. This is my kind of salad, light and crunchy. I’ve been in a coconut loving mood lately as well, my favorite treat is coconut butter straight from the jar!

  15. Amelia from

    Thanks for sharing this, it looks like a perfect summer salad. Thai flavours work so well with fresh crisp chopped veg! Will def. try this one!

  16. Eileen from

    Sounds like a really refreshing idea! Coconut, herbs, and veg–fabulous.

  17. Afton from

    I just made this for lunch! I literally read the recipe, went to the grocery store, and made it for lunch within an hour. It was delicious! Although, mine might have to be titled “noodle and cashew salad”. Because it was pretty heavy on the noodles and cashews, and I loved it!

  18. Rachel R from

    This looks so fresh and delicious! Totally agree about the dairy comment, I love a good cheese but coconut is a fantastic substitute for milk and ice cream!

  19. Kathryn from

    Thai is probably the cuisine I am least comfortable cooking but this looks so wonderfully fresh and delicious that I might have to overcome my fears!

    • Carol from

      I made this Thai salad for lunch today. I used fish instead of tofu. Wonderful! I’m going to use the dressing for 100 other things, or just drink it from the blender! Yum.

      • jeanine

        Glad you liked it! yes, it’s a good dressing to use a hundred different ways 🙂

  20. Renee

    Are you still working non the print recipe button please
    Did the Arugula orzo fresh Mozzarela last night, it was so delicous.
    Thank you so much for sharing these great recipe

    • jeanine

      yes… a print button will be in our next round of updates (as soon as my husband Jack has some free time outside of his regular day job).

      Glad you liked the arugula orzo!

    • WynnHen

      Hi there,
      Until the print button is working, highlight the recipe, hit control-C and then paste it into Word by hitting Control-V.
      That way you don’t have to miss any of the goodness!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.