Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame Dressing
This post was originally published in 2018, but our love for this salad runs DEEP and it’s the perfect crunchy hot-weather treat. Here’s to fresh, colorful, texture-perfect summer food. ✌🏼
What’s it called when you want something that tastes really, really good… but is also basically a high pile of fresh, vibrant, feel-good-in-your-body vegetables? You call it Cashew Crunch Salad, that’s what you call it.
This Salad Is Checking All The Boxes
Lunch rolls around and my internal conversation goes like this:
- I’m hungry.
- What would taste awesome right now?
- No, wait, what would be super healthy right now? Because…mocha peanut butter pie?
- No, but what would actually fill me up?
- WAIT WAIT WAIT what about that salad with the sesame dressing that is awesome-tasting AND healthy AND keeps me full because it’s full of so many friendly fats and good stuff?
- Yes! I love salad!
- I love vegetables!
- I love life!
That’s an actual transcript of my internal dialogue. These are the terms I think in: tastes amazing, mostly healthy, still fills me up.
Let’s Discuss This Sesame Dressing
The dressing might be my favorite part of this mix-up.
It’s an oil-and-vinegar dressing that you can shake up in a jar, sweetened up with a little sugar, seasoned with a little sesame oil, and… if you are me… creamified with a dollop of Greek yogurt or mayo. I don’t know, for me, a vinaigrette-drenched salad just isn’t going to keep me full. I need a little more creaminess happening in my salads, so I just took my favorite retro dressing (shout out to Kim Harcey of my old First Baptist Church cookbook ♡) and creamied it up a teensy bit.
Make This Salad Your Way
For the vegans – leave out the creamy stuff!
For the gluten-free-ers – leave out the crunchy chow mein noodles!
For the protein-lovers – add some grilled chicken! Or shrimp! Or… I don’t know, tofu?! This quickly becomes a dinner entree salad with juicy grilled chicken sliced across the top.
I would not be sad if this was my lunch for the rest of the summer.
Gooooo team vegetables!
Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?
Cashew Crunch Salad: FAQs
Yes! If you are making this ahead, you can definitely chop and prep all the veggies in advance and even mix them together. I would just hold off on mixing in the chow mein, cashews, and dressing until just before serving.
I buy edamame frozen, already shelled, and just boil them for a few minutes like you would boil peas.
If you want to grill some chicken or shrimp to go on top (yummy), I recommend marinating it in soy sauce, honey, and garlic for a bit to give even more flavor.
Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame Dressing
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
This Cashew Crunch Salad is loaded up with crunchy veg, chow mein noodles, edamame, and roasted cashews and it’ll make you ACTUALLY WANT TO EAT A SALAD. And the sesame dressing – OMG!
For the Salad:
- 1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
- 1/2 head of purple cabbage, finely shredded
- 2 cups carrots, matchstick-cut or shredded
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced green onion
- 2 cups cooked edamame (see FAQs)
- 1–2 cup roasted cashews (see notes)
- 2 cups crunchy chow mein noodles (optional)
- chicken, shrimp, or any other protein you like
- 1/4 cup olive oil (you can use any other oil as well)
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil – very important for flavor!
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a few shakes of garlic powder
- optional: 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or mayo (more or less to taste – this changes it from a vinaigrette to more of a creamy dressing)
- Shake the dressing ingredients up in a jar until smooth. Add the Greek yogurt or mayo (if using) and shake again until smooth. YUM.
- Toss all the salad ingredients together. Drizzle with dressing and serve!
Cashews: I like this salad with regular roasted cashews – I also love it with those hot, flavor-loaded Thai-spiced cashews from ALDI!
Dressing: You can easily omit the Greek yogurt or mayo to keep this a vegan / dairy free salad! The dressing will be a little less thick (more like a vinaigrette), but it’s still totally delicious. For a creamy dairy-free alternative, you could try miso! To make this gluten free, leave out the chow mein noodles.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Chop
- Cuisine: Asian-Inspired
Keywords: cashew crunch salad, asian salad, sesame dressing, cashew salad
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One More Thing!
This recipe is part of our easy weeknight dinners page. Check it out!