Thai food is all about balance—it’s usually a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, a little bit sour and a little bit tangy. And while that makes for some super flavorful main dishes (pad Thai, you have our heart forever), it also means that a Thai-inspired side dish can be a fabulous complement to a more basic entrée. Here are 13 of our favorites.
Photo: Liz Andrew/ Styling: Erin McDowell
Shredded Thai Salad with Avocado
Get ready for some Insta likes—this salad is as gorgeous as it is delicious. We like pairing it with some simple grilled chicken for a light summer meal.
Pinch of Yum
Chopped Thai Salad With Sesame Garlic Dressing
You’re going to want to bring this to every cookout and potluck you have this summer. But be sure to make extra; it packs up wonderfully for workday lunches.
Coconut Creamed Spinach
Who needs dairy when you have coconut milk (and plenty of ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper)?
Healthy Nibbles and Bits
Green Papaya Salad
Fresh mint and plenty of spicy chilies are the star of this crisp salad, which is basically the national side dish of Thailand. (Bonus: This version also happens to be vegan.)
Saucy Stovetop Green Beans
We’d eat just about anything if it was stir-fried with this peanut sauce. But usually, we stick with Coterie member Monique Volz’s advice and go with green beans.
Street Smart Kitchen
Thai Stir-Fried Water Spinach
Who needs kale when you can eat water spinach? (It’s also sometimes called “morning glory.”) Here, it’s stir-fried with oyster sauce, red chilies and plenty of garlic.
Salt and Wind
Roasted Butternut Squash Amaranth Salad with Lemongrass Peanut Dressing
We love how Coterie member Aida Mollenkamp pairs warm, hearty roasted squash with a tart and tangy lemongrass dressing. Plus, we’ll eat anything that involves fried garlic chips.
Cookie and Kate
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Day-old rice works much better in this dish, so it’s a fantastic way to use up leftovers. (If you’re going low carb, cauliflower rice totally works, too.)
Dinner at the Zoo
Thai Cucumber Salad
We’re all about dishes that can be made ahead, and this light, refreshing salad is actually better after it sits in the fridge for a day. We call that a win.
The Full Helping
Spicy Thai Salad
Loaded with veggies and topped with an addictive spicy citrus dressing, this simple salad can be added to almost any meal. (Thanks, Coterie member Gena Hamshaw.)
Feed Me Phoebe
Thai Peanut Slaw
Coterie member Phoebe Lapine keeps things healthy with this oil-and-sugar-free slaw. There’s not a drop of mayo in sight (and we don’t miss it, either).
Spiralized Thai Papaya Salad
We didn’t even know that papaya could be spiralized, but leave it to Coterie member Ali Maffucci to think outside the box. This take on the classic salad is just a little more fun than the regular version.
The Gracious Pantry
Instant Pot Coconut Rice
Throw some brown rice and coconut milk in the Instant Pot while you fire up your wok for a stir-fry. By the time dinner is done, you’ll have fluffy, fragrant rice with just a hint of sweetness.