thai side dishes

22 Thai Side Dishes That Will Elevate Your Dinner Menu

Thai cuisine is a delectable blend of sweet, salty, sour, and acidic flavors that balance themselves to flavorsome perfection. While the mains are mouthwateringly delicious, Thai side dishes can also hold their own! From salads to fritters, Thai side dishes with spicy-sweet flavors pair wonderfully with a variety of main courses.

Whether you’re hosting a family dinner or simply want an excuse to broaden your culinary horizons, these 22 Thai side dishes will infuse your recipes with a fresh burst of bold Asian flavors!

#1. Chopped Thai Salad

This vibrant Thai salad is a fantastic blend of flavors and textures. Make it with edamame, baby kale, cilantro, green onions, healthy veggies like peppers and carrots, as well as cashews, avocado, and mango paired with a tangy vinaigrette. This light, healthy, and delicious salad will leave you wanting more.

#2. Coconut Rice

When it comes to Thai side dishes, something as simple as rice, which is usually used as a filler, can add a delightful flavor to the mix. This coconut rice uses coconut milk powder, kaffir lime leaves/pandan leaves, and seasonings to infuse delightful flavors into the rice. Top it off with desiccated coconut before serving.

#3. Crispy Spring Rolls

Glass noodles, ground pork, seasonings, veggies, herbs, and shiitake mushrooms stuffed into spring roll wrappers make these amazingly crispy spring rolls. The spring rolls are fried until golden brown, creating a delicacy that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tongue. Serve them with a delicious peanut sauce for a flavorful side.

#4. Crunchy Chopped Salad with Lemongrass Tofu & Peanut Dressing

If you think salads are boring, wait till you try this flavorful Thai-inspired salad! It’s made with vibrant bite-sized veggies, tangy fruit, pickles, and lemongrass tofu, all tossed with a wonderful peanut butter sauce for a sweet and savory punch. The sauce will be a bit thick, so you can thin it out with some lemon juice if needed.

#5. Shrimp & Pork Dumplings (Shumai)

This recipe calls for filling wonton wrappers with a mixture of ground pork, shrimp, sauces, onion, and a few other ingredients. They’re then steamed, brushed with garlic oil, sprinkled with crispy garlic, and served with a tasty dipping sauce. You can even make these dumplings ahead of time, store them in the refrigerator, and then steam them as needed.

#6. Tasty Thai Asian Slaw

Crunchy, sweet, and creamy, this Thai Asian Slaw is the stuff of dreams. It uses fresh mint, coriander, basil, and lime to infuse cabbage, carrots, and capsicum with aromatic flavors. The vinaigrette is a light, sweet, and spicy Thai dressing. Garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts for an added nutty flavor and more crunch!

#7. Thai Basil Eggplant Recipe (Vegan Stir Fry)

In this vegetarian dish, tender eggplant, crispy bell peppers, and caramelized onions are tossed with a blend of Asian sauces and spices to create the perfect balance of sweet, umami, and spicy flavors. While it’s delicious as a side dish, this flavorful meal can easily be transformed into a light main course to satisfy your hunger on busy weeknights.

#8. Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These Thai chicken lettuce wraps feature fresh ingredients and delightful flavors. The wraps are filled with ground chicken cooked with red curry paste, vegetables, aromatics, hoisin sauce, and green onions, delivering a delicious mixture of sweet and spicy. The best part? These simple, tasty wraps get ready in just 15 minutes!

#9. Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

You know what’s better than a cucumber salad? A tangy, salty, and sweet cucumber salad with a generous dose of crunchy peanuts! This light and refreshing side dish features a yummy fish sauce dressing. And when coupled with the juice from the cucumber, the flavors produce an ultra-satisfying salad that will elevate the simplest meals!

#10. Thai Green Beans

If you have picky eaters in your house, you know how difficult it can be to get them to eat their beans. But this Thai green beans recipe, with its citric tartness, perfumy lemony aroma, and hot, sour, and sweet Thai flavors, is sure to change the game for you! It’s a simple yet delicious recipe that goes well with just about everything!

#11. Thai Green Papaya Salad

Light and refreshing, this Thai green papaya salad offers plenty of flavors combined with a number of health benefits! It has the most delightful sweet, spicy, sour, and savory flavors and is made with shredded green (unripe) papaya, carrots, and a tangy dressing. Top it with crushed toasted peanuts and pair it with Thai curry for a taste of heaven.

#12. Thai Herbal Fried Peanuts (Tua Tod Samun Prai)

In this recipe, crunchy peanuts are fried with flavorful aromatics like dried chilies, garlic, kaffir lime leaf, and lemongrass. This dish is so addictive you’ll want to make it whenever you’re craving a quick side dish! Better still, prepare a large batch and store leftovers in a zip-lock bag for an on-the-go snack that will keep for weeks!

#13. Thai Mango Salad with Peanut Dressing

Salads with veggies are good, but salads with fruits? Now, that’s a side dish you’ll keep coming back to! This light, green salad gets a fresh and fruity boost from mangoes and an element of spice from the peanut dressing. Add crispy baked tofu for added flavor!

#14. Thai Peanut Salad Wonton Cups

A wildly popular appetizer, Wonton cups can also work beautifully as a dish paired with several traditional Thai dishes. To make, mix shredded vegetables with a delicious Thai-inspired peanut sauce, then stuff the mixture into crispy wonton shells and top with crushed peanuts. It’s a healthy, hearty dish that will have everyone asking for seconds!

#15. Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

This delicious side is prepared with sweet caramelized pineapple, red bell pepper, and cashews, all seasoned with flavorful Thai spices. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top and pair with chili garlic sauce/sriracha and tamari on the side for added flavor. It will pair wonderfully with curries but also makes for a tasty light meal.

#16. Thai Sticky Rice (Khao Niao)

Soak glutinous rice before steaming it to make this Thai-style sticky rice. It’s delicate but chewy, with grains that don’t clump together into a solid mass. This delicious sticky rice goes well with a range of Thai main courses and is perfect for reducing the heat level of many Thai foods.

#17. Thai Tomato Salad

A flavorsome Thai tomato salad, this is a simple and refreshing side dish that pairs well with many other Thai meals. It’s also extremely easy to prepare. All you need are fresh juicy tomatoes, Thai bird’s eye chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and savory fish sauce to give it a boost of acidity and the right citrus flavors. Simply combine all of the ingredients and serve!

#18. The Best Thai Peanut Sauce

This Thai peanut sauce is incredibly versatile and goes well with pretty much everything! You can use it on salads, as a marinade to infuse flavors into meats and veggies, or as a dipping sauce. The best thing? This 5-minute no-cook sauce is made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!

#19. Tom Yum Fried Rice

Flavor your fried rice with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, and Thai chili paste to make a fragrant and flavorsome dish. Top it off with a Thai-style fried egg for a divine combination! Just remember, this recipe has lots of liquid from the sauce, so make sure you use day-old, refrigerated rice to make perfectly fluffy fried rice.

#20. Vegan Corn Fritters Thai Style (Tod Mun Khao Pod)

If you like crispy, crunchy fritters that are wonderfully soft in the middle, you’ll absolutely love this delicious vegan fritters recipe. Make this spicy, sweet, and savory dish by blending corn with a red curry paste to add color and heat to the dish. Serve with a sweet chili dipping sauce for the perfect side dish!

#21. Vegan Thai Noodle Salad with The Best Ever Peanut Sauce

This wonderful Thai noodle salad is loaded with healthy, crunchy veggies like carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, and radish, all thrown together with the best peanut sauce you’ve ever had! It’s also meal-prep friendly, so you can easily put it together even if you’re short on time!

#22. Water Spinach Stir Fry

One of the most beloved greens in Southeast Asian cuisine, water spinach is a mild-flavored tropical veggie that is used in many salads. In this recipe, water spinach pairs beautifully with an irresistible garlic-chili mixture to create an appetizing side dish, best served with jasmine rice or plain congee.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.