This easy edamame crunch salad is the perfect make-ahead healthy lunch! This recipe is packed with protein-rich edamame and bursts with crunchy fresh veggies, but the best part might be the zesty creamy lime dressing. Naturally vegan, vegetarian and easy to make gluten-free.
This easy and fresh edamame crunch salad is perfectly in time with the summer coming up soon!
Is there anything better than a filling yet light vegan salad during a hot day? I am all about meals that are satisfying without leaving that heavy feeling behind, especially for lunch. I make this kale apple crunch salad, vegan dill chickpea salad and my all-time favorite vegan watermelon feta salad all the time, but I am always up for a new salad recipe!
And this new nutritious Thai edamame salad is going to be back on our menu often I am sure of it, it is SO delicious! It bursts with crunchy vegetables (such as cabbage, cucumber and bell pepper) hearty edamame and aromatic cilantro that are all tossed in the best creamy lime dressing.
The vegetables are raw to keep them ultra crunchy and the edamame are quickly thawed/warmed up in water using the microwave (or stove). Similarly to this mango edamame salad, edamame are a great addition to plant-based salads as they are naturally loaded with protein!
Plus, the creamy lime dressing comes together within 2 minutes, all you have to do is whisk the ingredients until creamy and smooth. There are hints of fragrant ginger and garlic, a generous amount of freshly squeezed zesty lime juice and the almond butter makes the vinaigrette dreamy creamy without using any processed oil.
It is loaded with amazing flavors and tons of contrasting yummy textures, but still remain a super healthy recipe. There is plenty of plant-based protein, but also loads of healthy fats from the almond butter and lots of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals provided by all the vegetables.
You can make this salad ahead of time as the cabbage can hold up well in the dressing and it makes enough to feed a few people. Why not bring it to your next BBQ or potluck gathering, no one will guess it is completely plant-based and so good-for-you!
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- Easy and quick
- Has a nice crunch to it!
- Balanced meal with tons of fiber, healthy fats, plant-based protein and complex carbohydrates
- Highly customizable recipe
- Great for meal-prepping lunches
- Perfect to-go potluck recipe for gatherings and BBQs
- Very flavorful and features so many different textures
- Fully vegan, dairy-free and easy-to-make gluten-free
Ingredients you will need
For the salad:
There are a lot of ingredients here, but you can swap most of them, so don't stress it if you don't have everything. Just check down below for a few other ingredients you can use!
- Edamame (already blanched and frozen): these crunchy little green beans are a type of soybean that are surprisingly high in plant-based protein. You will find them in the freezer section close to the other frozen vegetables. Make sure to buy the shelled edamame!
- Cabbage (purple + green): they add so much amazing crunch to this salad! I used Napa cabbage, but regular green or even bok choy will work. If you don't have any purple cabbage, then swap for more green!
- Red bell pepper: use any color you want, although I like the red ones for their sweeter flavor and the nice color it brings to the salad.
- Carrots: also a sweeter vegetable, which add more flavor but also a beautiful color to the mix.
- Cucumber: perfect addition in a crunch salad! Cucumber are so hydrating, naturally ultra crunchy and so full of fresh flavor. I used half of a large English cucumber, but you could also use 2 smaller Lebanese cucumbers.
- Green onion: for a mild onion-y taste, although finely sliced red onion would work too.
- Cilantro: optional if you don't like cilantro. You can also swap for fresh mint or basil if you prefer!
For the dressing:
- Fresh lime: this is the best part of the vinaigrette, so try not to omit or swap. You will need ¼ cup of freshly squeezed juice, which is about 2 small limes.
- Soy sauce: just a little bit for a nice Asian umami flavor and some saltiness.
- Sesame oil: optional for an oil-free recipe, but I love sesame oil in Asian dressings (just like in this sesame soy dressing) for its amazing strong nutty flavor!
- Garlic and ginger: use both of them fresh, avoid powders for best result.
- Maple syrup: just for a little sweetness, can swap for agave nectar or other sweetener you prefer.
How to make edamame crunch salad
Make the creamy lime dressing
In a small bowl, combine the almond butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, ginger and garlic. Whisk well until smooth and fully combined, which can take up to a whole minute of stirring. If the sauce is too thick, then just add a splash of water, you are looking for a pourable consistency. Set aside.
Prepare the produce
Transfer the frozen edamame in a bowl and cover with some water. Warm up in the microwave for about 5 minutes or until tender. Then, drain well. The edamame are already blanched, but warming them up will help tenderize them slightly.
Clean and finely slice the purple + green cabbage and red pepper. Also, shred the carrots and slice the green onions and cucumber. Clean well the cilantro and roughly chop the leaves.
Combine and serve
In a large bowl, combine all the produce and then pour the sauce over. I used the whole batch of sauce, but you can simply add as much as you want.
Stir well until combined and taste to adjust saltiness to your taste. Serve garnished with a handful of chopped almonds, cashews or some peanuts.
- I used my food processor to shred and finely slice the cabbage. Simply use the additional accessory to do it, which will save you so much time! You can have a peak at this video on how to slice/shred using your food processor (check at 4:50).
- Make sure your almond butter is all uniform and smooth before using (pourable consistency). If it is a little clumpy or looking thick when adding to the dressing, then you can use a blender or immersion blender to make the dressing smoother and add some water if needed.
- For a maximum of crunchiness, then stir in the dressing just before serving. The cabbage will soften while marinating in the vinaigrette (although this is still delicious!), just something to keep in mind.
- Feel-free to use a bag of pre-shredded or sliced vegetables from the grocery store! This pre-sliced broccoli slaw or this bag of shaved brussel sprouts would make for a great fuss-free ingredient to make this recipe even quicker.
- You can also boil the edamame for a few minutes if you prefer, although I find the microwave more convenient.
- Be sure to purchase SHELLED edamame, so you don't have to remove the beans out of their pods yourself!
- This recipe makes for a lot of salad, which is perfect for meal-prepping for a busy week or to bring to potlucks. But, if you are worried to have more salad than you can eat, then simply make half of it!
Like most salads, you can can change up the ingredients without disturbing the recipe too much, this recipe is so versatile! Other crunchy veggies that would work well in this recipe are:
- Broccoli or cauliflower
- Romaine lettuce
- Grated raw beets
- Snap peas
If you love a sweet and salty mix of flavor in your meals, then add some fresh fruits, especially oranges, apples, grapes, pineapple and mangoes. They would be amazing in this salad and pair well with the zesty dressing.
To make this salad spicy, which would work great with both the Asian dressing and the choice of veggies, then simply add some sriracha sauce to the vinaigrette or include some chopped jalapeño or red pepper flakes.
And if you are not into almond butter, then you can also use a Thai peanut butter sauce instead of the dressing recipe or swap the almond butter for tahini or cashew butter (adjust with some water if needed).
Also, edamame can be swapped for chickpeas for a similar hearty and crunchy result.
This salad is rich in nutrients and also packed with fiber and plant-based protein, making it a full meal on its own, especially as a light lunch. I like to add extra chopped nuts (such as almonds, cashews or peanuts) to make it even more filling (meaning more fats and protein). Then, serve with a side of lime wedges to add an extra zing to your salad.
You can also make this salad ahead and pair with vegan sandwiches throughout the week for a boost of vitamins and antioxidants. Good pairing ideas includes:
- Creamy beet and pickle sandwich
- Crusted tofu veggie spicy wrap
- Mashed avocado chickpea sandwich
- Balsamic tofu tortilla wraps
More ways to serve this salad would be to pair with some tempeh (such as this miso tempeh), tofu (such as these panko tofu nuggets) or simply a side of bread. You can also serve over a bed of cooked quinoa, ramen noodles or brown rice!
This recipe is amazing for meal-prep! You can make it during the weekend and enjoy throughout a busy week for lunch or as side salad to help you eat healthy even when you don't want to cook. You can keep it in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.
The vegetables tend to soften while soaking in the sauce, which I actually like, but for a salad that's full of crunch every day you eat it, then you can keep the dressing apart and drizzle it over the salad just before eating.
You can swap the almond butter for tahini or try using pumpkin seed butter instead, although the flavor and texture might differ. Simply adjust flavor with more soy sauce/lime juice/maple syrup and then adjust consistency with water, if needed. Also, swap the almond topping for sunflower seed or pumpkin seeds.
In that case, you can use rice vinegar instead. Lime juice is naturally a little sweeter compared to vinegar, so adjust the flavor with more sweetener if needed.
Swap the soy sauce for gluten-free Tamari to make this recipe completely GF!
More recipes like this
- Chili-lime bean and corn salad
- Vegan Waldorf salad
- Southwestern brown rice and quinoa salad
- Warm vegan couscous salad
- Red lentil pasta salad
- Tuscan bean salad
- Rainbow quinoa and chickpea salad
- Thai ribboned carrot and cucumber salad
- Cucumber beet salad
- Zesty quinoa salad
- Beet watermelon salad
- Cilantro lime pasta salad
- Sunshine dressing
I hope you enjoy this edamame crunch salad recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Edamame Crunch Salad
- 12 oz frozen and blanched shelled edamame (or 2 cups) - thawed
- 2 cups purple cabbage - finely sliced
- 2 cups green cabbage (I used Napa cabbage) - finely sliced
- 1 red bell pepper - finely sliced
- ¾ cup carrots - grated
- ½ English cucumber (about 1 ½ cups) - sliced
- 1 large handful cilantro - chopped
- 2-3 green onions - sliced
Creamy lime dressing
- ⅓ cup almond butter
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice - about 2 limes
- 2 ½ tbsp soy sauce - or Tamari for a GF recipe
- 1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sesame oil - optional, can also be made oil-free
- 1 clove of garlic - crushed
- 1 tsp fresh ginger - peeled and grated
- Start by making the vinaigrette: in a small bowl, combine the almond butter, lime juice, soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Whisk well until smooth and creamy. If your dressing is too thick, then add a little water until desired consistency. Set aside.
- Transfer the frozen edamame to a bowl and cover with water. Then, warm up in the microwave for about 5 minutes to help them tenderize. Drain and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the purple and green cabbage, red pepper, carrots, edamame, cucumber, green onion and cilantro. Then, pour the dressing over and stir until combined.
- Serve right away garnished with chopped almonds, cashews or peanuts for more crunch.
- This salad is at its best crunchiness when freshly made. But, although the veggies will soften while resting in the sauce, it still makes for an amazing meal-prep recipe! Store in an air-tight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
- You can customize this salad to your taste by swapping the ingredients for: broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, zucchini, snap peas, celery or mangoes. The dressing can also be made with peanut butter or tahini! See blog post for more ideas.
- Make it gluten: simply use GF Tamari to make the dressing.
- Make it nut-free: use tahini or pumpkin seed butter to make the dressing and omit the added nuts over the salad when serving.