This Thai power bowl is a delicious, satisfying salad filled with hearty whole grain red rice, protein rich edamame beans, loads of fresh veggies and crunchy cashews. The dressing features almond butter and red curry paste for an amazing Thai flavor that’s perfect for anyone with a peanut allergy.
Every ingredient in this Thai power bowl is a winner.
The colorful veggies are filled with vitamins, nutrients and phytonutrients (eg. flavonoids abd carotenoids) that can offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Getting plenty of colorful veggies is highly recommended by every reputable health and wellness organization and expert in the world.
The whole grain I chose is red cargo rice. It’s a beautiful maroon colored long whole grain rice that cooks up in 30-40 minutes. It has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture. For less chewiness give it a 30 minute soak before cooking. Don’t be put off by the longer cooking time, it’s well worth it and if you make a double batch you can freeze the extras so you have instant whole grain rice for next time. And of course, you could sub in any whole grain – try quinoa for a quick cooking whole grain. In the version below, I used freekeh, a type of wheat that’s harvested when still young and green and then toasted and cracked. Because it is typically cracked, this whole grain takes only about 15-20 minutes to cook.
The edamane beans add great flavor, color and protein to this meal. In fact, edamame beans which are the beans harvested from the inside of young, green soy bean pods, have all 9 essential amino acids making them a complete protein. Not that they’re needed for that purpose in this meal since the cashews and nut butter dressing combined with the whole grain also offer complete proteins. In other words, you’ll get plenty of protein with this meal and won’t walk away feeling hungry.
Making this Power Bowl Vegetarian or Vegan
The thick nut butter dressing is super delicious, just a heads up – if you’re making this vegan or vegetarian, choose your red curry paste carefully. Red curry paste is often made with shrimp paste or fish sauce. Thai Kitchen brand and Cock Red Paste are ones to look for.
By choosing Vegan or Vegetarian friendly red curry paste and swapping another sweetener for the honey, this meal could be made suitable for Vegan or Vegetarian diners quite easily.
The great thing about this Thai power bowl is you can customize it how ever you want or based on whatever is in your fridge. You can also choose to serve it with or without lettuce greens.
Recipe for Thai Power Bowl
Thai Power Bowl
- 3/4 cup raw red rice
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame beans
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup sweet peppers diced (mixed colors)
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 3 green onions sliced diagonally
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp almond butter
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1-2 tsp red curry paste*
- 3-4 Tbsp water as desired
- To cook red rice, rinse rice well under running cold water. Place in bowl, cover with water and let soak for 30 minutes for more tender rice. Drain. Place rice and 1 1/2 cup water in pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour into strainer and rinse with cold water.
- To prepare frozen edamame beans, place frozen beans in microwave safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons water. Heat at 1 minute intervals for 2-4 minutes, stirring between each. Drain water and rinse with cold water to cool.
- To prepare dressing combine all ingredients except water in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. If nut butter or honey is too stiff, warm slightly in microwave before adding to bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add as much water as needed to create your preferred consistency.
- To assemble, either mix salad ingredients together in a large bowl or arrange each ingredient in a colorful display on a large platter.
- Serve dressing on the side to allow each guest to dress their own salad.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Store extra dressing for up to a week or freeze for extended storage. It can even be thawed and re-frozen.
This dressing also makes a great dip for Vegetable Summer Rolls .
If you want to lighten up this salad, serve it with lettuce greens.
How to Serve Thai Power Bowl Salad
Like most of the grain salads I serve, I like to show off the beautiful colors and textures of the ingredients and let everyone around the table assemble their own salad bowls. The dressing is also served on the side so people can opt for as much or as little as they like. That way, you can offer a couple of different dressings if you’d like. This Sesame Soy Sauce may be one to consider.
When it’s all mixed together on a dinner plate or in a bowl, it looks a little like this.
When my daughter saw the platter of veggies and rice, she lit up and pulled out the rice wrappers. She turned her Thai Power Bowl into summer rolls – great idea!
If you’re interested in more whole grain salads, here are some others on this website. You can easily switch the whole grain in any of these recipes. For gluten free options consider hulled oats, quinoa or buckwheat.
If you make this salad, please let me know what you think and what kind of veggies and grains you used. Leave a comment and if you make it, share a photo on Instagram and tag @getgettys so I can see it and like it there!
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.