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Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad

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Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad | #glutenfree

It’s no secret that I adore color.

I love colorful food! And colorful artwork. And colorful sunsets. And colorful scarves. And colorful gardens. And colorful farmers market.

The only place where I have decided that I do not like bright colors? On my walls.

Oh man. I bought my first house when I was 23, and quickly discovered in that first year how easy (and cheap!) it was to buy a can of paint and completely transform a room. So I took a house whose interior was 100% gray and transformed it over the course of that first month into a veritable rainbow of colors. The living room was butter yellow, the dining room was “asparagus” green, the kitchen periwinkle, my bedroom teal, my bathroom yellow, and on and on. I thought it was the coolest thing. I mean, all of my favorite colors? In one house? What could be better??

The only problem was that it was a small 1920’s bungalow, and each of the rooms were connected and about thiiiis big. So it basically felt like a kaleidoscope walking in. Although instead of being pretty bright colors on tiny paint chips, the rooms began to feel like very bright colors the size of 1000 paint chips. Yes, I learned that there was such a thing as too much color.

So I swallowed my pride and traipsed back to Home Depot and eventually began neutralizing the house with the very creams and grays and whites that I used to think were oh-so-cliche about decorating. And then when I moved into my loft, I went for 100% light grey to go with my white kitchen and brick walls, and I could not be happier. To each his and her own, for sure. Some people rock out super-colorful houses. But for me, I prefer to go neutral with the paint colors, and let vivid food provide the “pop” of color in my kitchen.

Like this rainbow Thai chicken salad, of course.

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad | #glutenfree

I have been a Thai chicken salad lover for years, with Panera’s version actually being one of my favs. But whenever I make it at home, I love seeing how many different colors — er, ingredients — I can cram into it to make it all the prettier and tastier.

This version?

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad | #glutenfree

As you can see, we hit nearly every color of the rainbow. We have:

  • Red: bell peppers
  • Orange: carrots (and you could also throw in orange bell peppers)
  • Yellow: fresh mango (don’t use frozen)
  • Green: avocado, green onions, cabbage, fresh cilantro and fresh limes
  • Purple: cabbage

Plus chicken and thai peanut dressing and chopped cashews or peanuts. I still have yet to find an awesome blue veggie for rainbow recipes. Alas, maybe someday.

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad | #glutenfree

Anyway, this salad is super simple to make. The hardest part is just chopping all of that fresh produce. But if you pop on some tunes and have a little kitchen dance party while you chop, I guarantee the time will fly right by…

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad | #glutenfree

…and you’ll have a delicious salad ready to go in no time!

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad | #glutenfree

I also chose to just drizzle my salads with the peanut vinaigrette so that my friends could see and appreciate the rainbow-ness of the salad. But you can also toss it all together if you’d rather.

Either way, it’s a fabulous way to taste the rainbow. And oh man, is it a tasty one too. Enjoy!

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Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 4-6 servings 1x


This rainbow thai chicken salad is full of amazing colors and fresh flavors that you will love!



Thai Chicken Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 (large) carrot, julienned or shredded
  • 1 red pepper, cored and julienned (or diced)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews or peanuts

Peanut Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 23 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (if you are gluten-free, use GF soy sauce or tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of red pepper flakes


To Make The Salad:

  1. Toss all salad ingredients together until combined. Drizzle with dressing or toss to combine, then serve immediately.

To Make The Dressing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together until combined. If the dressing is too thick, add hot water a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad | #glutenfree

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139 comments on “Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad”

  1. I love everything about this salad! The colors are so bright, my favorite ingredients and such fantastic dressing!

  2. Girl, you are the QUEEN of all things rainbow food! I ADORE Thai chicken salads, and this one is just gorg! Pinned! :)

  3. That is one of the most beautiful salads I have ever seen!

  4. Love that color, love these flavors, love it ALL!

  5. Love, love, love the look of this. So bright and fresh and vivid!

  6. Who doesn’t love colorful food? :) This looks amazing, loving all of the Thai flavors in here.

  7. I’ve seen a lot of salads this season but this is def the most colorful one! I love the mixture of colors and flavors. YUM! :)

  8. I am a huge color freak too so this is my kind of salad. Love the flavors!

  9. This looks delicious. Sharing it with my blog FB fans right now. Can’t wait to make this.

  10. So gorgeous, I could eat this every day of summer!

  11. I think we have all made that mistake of not realizing that colors on a tiny square get magically brighter on an entire wall! Hello electric blue bedroom!

    This salad, on the other hand, looks amazing! Be honest, how many times did you have to practice that drizzle over the top before getting it to look that perfect?! I mean, seriously, it looks like you photoshopped it on! :-) Gorgeous! Pinned

  12. I don’t think I’ve seen a more festive and colorful salad. And the photography is impeccable. I will have to get used to adding peanuts to my salads because they really do wonders for soups. With or without nuts, I’d dig this recipe any day.

  13. You do like your colored foods don’t you!!

    Somewhere over the rainbow salad, that’s what I would call this!

  14. I adore colorful food too!! (And photos and sunsets and clothing… ) Wish I had this salad right now!

  15. This salad! The rainbow colours are just amazing and it looks incredibly tasty. I am picturing endless summer days and this salad is the crystal ball :D.

  16. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful and bright salad this is!! I can’t stop looking at it, so pretty! I love making my food colorful with all sorts of vegetables and it is especially nice when everything tastes good together too! About a year ago we moved into a house where every wall was a different shade of pink and after I got a hold of the paint brush each room is now a beautiful bright color, none of which are pink!

  17. I wonder if this recipe would be good if I substitute almond butter for the peanut butter?

  18. I have a hard time putting anything but neutrals on the walls, too. It’s stressful! I’ve found that bringing in color with pieces of furniture, objects, art on the walls…much more my style! But this salad, bring on the color. Beautiful!

  19. Such a colorful. Salad! Love all the stuff inside!

  20. I love your love of color! This looks absolutely delicious!

  21. That salad and dressing look amazing!

    I can’t wait to whip up that dressing for my family sometime…soon!mm

  22. Definitely loving how colorful this salad is too. Great job!

  23. So colorful! Will definitely give this a try.

  24. oh my goodness. This salad was delish! I didn’t have sesame oil so I just left it out (didn’t want to go back to the store) and it was so yum!

  25. This is bursting with color and fresh flavors! I think I’ll have to make this at home.

  26. This looks wonderful. However, this recipe technically isn’t gluten free since it calls for soy sauce. One would have to use tamari sauce instead. Just being a picky celiac disease patient. But thanks in advance for changing this.

    • Hey Audrey!

      Thanks for pointing that out. I keep GF Kikkoman soy sauce at home, but went back and made a note for GF cooks to either use that or tamari. Thank you! :)


  27. Absolutely beautiful! So bright and fresh!

  28. Omg! This looks amazing. I love all the colors and totally know what you mean about transforming a neutral room with a can of wild paint. Love it!

  29. Wowza. This is just gorgeous, and I’m a sucker for thai peanut dressing. I need to try this!

  30. Yum!! This looks so delicious! Definitely pinned :)

  31. While I used edamame instead of avocado, I just fixed this for supper and the husband and I both loved it! I think it will become a staple in my house. Thanks a delicious rainbow!

  32. I made this… I put curly leaf lettuce in it as well. Very good!!! Thanks!

  33. My amazing husband made this last night for work lunches today so I’m crunching as I type…this is so delicious and perfect for my GF/DF lifestyle! Thanks so much for sharing!

  34. Yum! Have never seen blue vegetables… or blue food – maybe I would add some borage flowers – edible and blue!!!

  35. You could use blue organic tortilla chips for your blue!!

  36. Looks great! I can’t stand mangoes though, so will have to think of something else that’s yellow and a little sweet.

  37. I pinned this beautiful salad quite a while ago and finally made it tonight.  The salad ingredients themselves were great, however I will be looking for another dressing recipe to use with the leftovers tomorrow.  No one in my family of 5 liked the dressing.  It seemed very much like putting peanut butter on a salad.  I felt like it needed maybe half the amount of peanut butter with much more oil, and maybe some jalapeño or something for heat?  We all put sprinkled more pepper flakes on top of our salad to try to get it to taste like something besides peanut butter.  I’m anxious to try it again tomorrow with a different dressing.  

  38. Delicious!! I’ve made this a couple times. Thank you for the recipe!

  39. I don’t usually comment on recipes but I can not help myself. This salad is amazing. The dressing is beyond words. Anyone who tries this will not regret it. I will be eating this many more times

  40. OMG this looks soooo good. Thank-you for sharing

  41. Thank you SO much for sharing this. It has all of my favorite stuff in it although I think I’m going to substitute tofu for the chicken. The colors inspired me to think of something blue to add to it – so I decided that some blueberries will have to go in! 

    • Thanks for checking it out Jamie! Tofu would work great, and blueberries would be a lovely addition! I hope you enjoy it!

  42. Hi, I am planning to make this for my girlfriend for dinner. What other sides would you recommend that will complement with the salad? Noodles? Excited about trying the salad!

  43. Made this last night. Absolutely, hands down, to die for delish!! Not only is it gorgeous to look at, it is incredibly good! this will definitely be on a regular rotation this summer! 
    I added a thai chili to the dressing for a little bit of zing.

  44. I made this recipe for a small party at my house and it was a huge hit!! Thank you for the beautiful, yummy recipe. It’s super easy to adjust based on what produce is available or in your pantry. Big thumbs up : )

  45. This recipe is different from what we are used to but it is great.  We did an experiment on our blog to find the top ten easy to make, budget friendly, gluten free recipes and this made our list.  We especially loved the fact that you can use fresh ingredients which makes it even more budget friendly.

  46. This recipe looks amazing! I’m going to make it for a large group this weekend, but I’m wondering if I can make the dressing a day in advance so that I can just toss it all together and go. Ali, do you think the dressing will keep for 24 hours? 

    • Hi Carrie! Yes, the dressing should be fine made a day ahead (just refrigerate). We hope you enjoy! :)

  47. I was wondering if you could throw all of this into a wok and heat it?  Have you ever tried?  I need to make softer meals for my 1 year old who seems to have a gluten intolerance, as well as the family.


    • Hi Carolyn! We haven’t tried that, but we think that would be yummy and should work fine! We just wouldn’t add the cilantro and avocado until the end. We hope you enjoy!

  48. I just made this salad for dinner and LOVE IT!!! Could I substitute the peanut butter in the dressing for PB2 Powder? 

    • Awesome, so glad you liked it! And I actually haven’t worked with PB2 powder, so I’m not quite sure… (I hear great things about it, though!)

  49. Blue? Think blueberries! ?

  50. We made this for dinner tonight and it was a HUGE hit. So glad we made extra so I can take it for lunch tomorrow. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! The dressing really made the salad, too.