During my time in Thailand, I was amazed at the variety of Thai side dishes. From salads and spring rolls to fritters and rice, there was just so much to choose from!
The spicy-sweet Thai flavors will even elevate boring old roast chicken!
The key to making a great Thai side is to have fresh ingredients. I know some of the dressings have quite a few of them, but it’s worth it in the end!
And don’t shy away from fish sauce. It might not smell amazing right out of the bottle, but what it adds to a dish just can’t be found in anything else.
Let’s dig into this list of 15 Thai side dishes because I’m already hungry!
In the summer, I’ll often turn to a salad for a light, cool side or snack. But there’s only so much lettuce a gal can eat.
That’s why I love this cucumber dish. It’s bright, crunchy, and has just enough spice to lift the mild cucumber up a notch.
I’ve often struggled with green beans. They can be bland and hard to make exciting if you don’t have the right recipe.
This incredible side has an amazing peanut sauce that will blow your mind. Seriously! You’ll want these with everything.
Rice isn’t just a filler, and it should be given just as much love as you would any other side dish.
That being said, I love when you can make it super tasty, super fast.
By cooking the rice right in with the coconut milk and seasoning, you’ll infuse all that amazing flavor right inside.
I also like to top this with sliced green onions and chopped peanuts for added crunch.
Much like cucumber salad, this simple side is packed with flavor and pairs so well with everything from noodles to chicken.
I love the acidity you’ll get from this, and the lime juice gives just the right amount of citrus.
Feel free to leave the chilis out if you don’t want it to be spicy, but the fish sauce is a must!
This is a salad I could eat every day. Not only is it full of different tastes and textures, but it’s also beautifully colored and vibrant.
I enjoy the dressing so much; I use it on other salads, too. This is a match made in heaven.
Between the tangy dressing, peppers, carrots, and cashews, each bite is better than the last.
Make it big enough and it will fill you right up. I also love to add some spicy chicken to the bowl for added protein.
Water spinach is a tropical vegetable that you’ll see served all over Thailand. It’s not the same as our leafy spinach.
Water spinach has a mild flavor and is best served as part of a stir-fry with lots of garlic and chilies.
You should be able to find this in an Asian grocery store. Alternatively, you can substitute it with dark leafy greens or broccoli rabe.
One of the first things I noticed during my time in Thailand was the use of fresh ingredients.
I found so many amazing dishes that incorporate fruits and vegetables in new and exciting ways.
Though this recipe uses green papaya – which are regular papaya that is picked before they ripen – I’ve had this with a combination of both.
The mild, almost cucumber-like flavor of the green papaya went so well with the sweet fruit, and the palm sugar and lime dressing is a dream.
I’ve always been a huge fan of coleslaw. It’s crunchy, sweet, creamy, and elevates a lot of great meals.
But it can also be overly creamy, watery, and saturated in mayo.
This recipe has a fantastic, light, sweet, and spicy dressing that adds a ton of flavor without making it soggy.
Trust me when I tell you, you’ll need to make extra and have this on hand pretty much all the time.
I use this sauce on salads, as a marinade, brushed over chicken, and even as a dipping sauce for chopped veggies.
I like to add in a little extra sriracha and a touch of sweet chili, and I’ve even made it with almond butter before.
It’s not as good (in my opinion), but it’s a great alternative if you can’t eat peanuts.
Adding fruit to a salad isn’t new, but I don’t think we do it enough. Mango is exactly what this salad needs, to give it a fresh and fruity boost.
I can’t get enough of this spicy salad, and I’ll eat a bowl by myself. But it also makes an amazing and filling side.
I like to throw in some sliced red onions for a peppery crunch, and you can leave the cilantro out if it’s not your thing.
I know I talk about texture a lot, but it’s just so important when cooking to have something that makes you sit up and want to dig in for more.
Not only is this salad fabulous on its own, but serving it in wonton cups is a genius way to give it an upgrade.
I like to make these for parties, because they’re so easy to pick up and move around with, and I’ve found they’re extra delicious if you drizzle some sweet chili on top.
The color of these is truly Instagram-worthy! They’re just gorgeous, and you’ll probably wind up with a few too many pictures.
This recipe requires a different kind of wrapper, and you should be able to find the spring roll skins in your local Asian grocery store, or online.
Best served cold, these make the best pairing with that peanut sauce from above!
These are not your average corn fritters. First, they’re vegan, which you would never know unless you made them!
Second, they have red curry paste inside which adds some lovely color and a wonderful spicy flavor.
They’re best deep-fried to get that amazing crust, but you can also shallow fry them on the stovetop.
You might not believe me, but these are completely addictive. Between the salty crunch and the spicy-garlic, you’ll want to double this recipe.
I’m not the biggest fan of the lemon leaves, but they do add such a nice note of citrus.
I have a confession: I actually eat this filling alongside some coconut rice or noodles. It’s just too good to only have as a side!
But if you’re looking for something light, that’s packed with flavor, then this is a must-try.
I like to use a mix of white and red cabbage for added color, and I scatter over some chopped peanuts for a little extra crunch.
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