Thai Cauliflower Rice Salad with Peanut Butter Sauce

Spring bloomed in force over here, turning all of us upside down. All of a sudden, the temperature raised from 0 to 13 degrees, the lilac bushes got tiny green sprouts, and the parks got crowded. After such a long time without seeing the face of the sun, its first rays put me in the mood to plan for holidays. No, we’re not going to Thailand yet (although I’d love to), but I’m celebrating the beginning of spring with colors, in my kitchen.

In my family, cauliflower was far from being popular. We only ate it gratin from time to time, and I pretty much hated it. Last year, I decided to give cauliflower another chance, and roasting it was one of my bigger revelations. Ever since, I add it to salads, patties, or curries, but this time, I thought I’d do something really different. I first saw the cauliflower rice idea at Oh My Veggies and I found it genius, especially because I’m on a vegan diet right now (I’m fasting until Easter), and I try to reduce the temptation of having a high carb intake and replace as much as possible with vegetables.

When I introduced cauliflower into my diet, I also found out more about its amazing nutritional values. The humble cauliflower is no less than its popular cruciferous relatives (kale, brussels sprouts, or broccoli), and it has exceptional effects on our bodiesโ€™ health, especially when eaten raw or lightly cooked.

One of the main benefits of cauliflower is its implication in prevention of many types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer), especially because it’s loaded with powerful antioxidants, but also for its nutrients that stimulate the natural detox function of our bodies. The glucosinolates in cauliflower activate the enzymes responsible for detoxification and regulate their activity. Some of these are metabolized into sulforaphane, a compound that prevents bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach.

Cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C (1 cup provides about 70 percent of the daily recommended intake), a core antioxidant that helps our bodies reduce the oxidative stress in our cells, but also with a broad spectrum of other antioxidants (such as beta-carotene or quercetin) that supports our detoxification function and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer.

Most of the cauliflowerโ€™s nutrients are available when we consume it raw or lightly cooked, because heat destroys nutrients like vitamin C, for instance. To obtain the cauliflower rice, you simply have to cook it for five minutes on low heat with coconut milk a safe and recommended method which preserves most of the nutrients. Cooking it lightly is also a good method to maintain a crispy texture and to get rid of the sulphur smell. The phytonutrients release this smell when heated, and the more you cook the cauliflower, the stronger the smell.

ALSO YUMMY:  Green Detox Broccoli Salad

This cauliflower rice had a fantastic taste and that ginger-peanut-lime sauce took everything to a new level. And oh, those colors!

For more nourishing salad recipes check out my Roasted Veggie Salad for Hormone Balancing, Vegan Pasta Salad, the Very Green Version or the SuperFood Salad.

I love seeing your take on my recipes, so if you make this salad donโ€™t forget to tag me on Instagram @theawesomegreen so I can see it and share with the community.

Print Recipe
4.5 from 12 votes

Thai Cauliflower Rice Salad with Peanut Butter Sauce

An exotic and colorful combination, which replaces the rice with the nutrient-loaded cauliflower. The secret of this dish is a delicious ginger-peanut butter sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Servings: 4
Author: The Awesome Green


  • For the salad
  • 1 medium cauliflower head
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 spring onions roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds chopped
  • 1 mango peeled and cut it small cubes
  • 1 bell pepper cut in small cubes
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • For the sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 inch ginger piece peeled
  • 2 limes juice only
  • 1 tsp organic raw honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  • Remove the cauliflower greens, cut in florets, rinse and drain well.
  • Place the florets in the food processor and pulse until you obtain the rice size.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet, add the onion and garlic and fry for a minute.
  • Add the cauliflower and coconut milk, mix to combine and cook for five minutes on low heat, until the cauliflower is tender, but not mushy.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Add the cauliflower, mango, bell pepper, red cabbage, spring onion and parsley in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  • Place the sauce ingredients in the blender, and pulse to obtain a smooth, creamy liquid.
  • Pour over the cauliflower salad and toss carefully, to combine.
  • Top with fresh parsley and almonds and serve.


  • Natalia
    March 10, 2015

    This sounds like a gorgeous salad! Love the interesting combination of cauliflower and mango!
    And your photography is amazing, Ana!

    • Ana
      March 11, 2015

      Thanks so much, Natalia! I really loved the combination, and the coconut infused cauliflower was really a delicious surprise! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life
    March 11, 2015

    This looks absolutely amazing! I must admit, we aren’t big cauliflower lovers in our house, but I think your beautiful dish could change that ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ll have to replace the peanut butter with almond butter though because that was my Lenten sacrifice! I can’t wait to try this gorgeous Thai twist!

    • Ana
      March 12, 2015

      Amy, this one will definitely change your vision on cauliflower, it sure did mine! I think almond butter will work just fine.

  • Ana
    March 12, 2015

    I love your blog! I’ve just voted you ๐Ÿ™‚ don’t you have an instagram??

    • Ana
      March 12, 2015

      Thanks so much, Ana! I don’t have an instagram yet, but I’ll join pretty soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Vanessa
    April 1, 2015

    5 stars
    Hi Ana. What a lovely recipe! I was searching for detox recipe to share with my audience for an upcoming detox challenge. The problem is my audience only french speaking people. Would you mind if i translate your recipe with a link to the original to put on my blog?

    eat Healthy, be Pretty, feel Fabulous!

  • Ditta
    May 1, 2015

    Hi there! I’m just about to make your recipe. I was wondering how long this would keep in the fridge. Do you think I should keep that scrumptious dressing and the salad ingredients seperate until serving?
    Thanks so much, have a good day!

    • Ana
      May 5, 2015

      Ditta, I think that keeping them separately would extend the freshness, but I don’t think they’ll keep more than two or three days. Have a lovely day!

  • Stephanie
    May 18, 2015

    This really look delicious and I love the photos! I am not a cauliflower fan, but I might actually like it in this dish due to the coconut milk and peanut sauce. Going to have to try it!

    • Ana
      May 19, 2015

      Steph, it’s definitely worth giving a try, the taste of cauliflower is completely disguised ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jen
    September 23, 2015

    Beautiful salad and delicious flavors! I’m sharing a link to your recipe in my weekly CSA newsletter. Cabbage is in full bloom here in NJ!

    • Ana
      September 24, 2015

      Thanks a lot, dear Jen! Cabbage is also in bloom here, like so many other veggies that I buy too many weekly, but seems that I just can’t stop ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dina
    January 7, 2016

    Im making this now and it looks great. I just wish there was more of a timed amount for the cauliflower cooking time. Its unclear and hard to tell.

    • Ana
      January 8, 2016

      I’ve written in the recipe that cauliflower is cooked for five minutes together with the coconut milk. I hope it turned out good!

  • Stephanie
    February 13, 2016

    5 stars
    This dish is truly one of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten in a while. And that’s saying something since we experiment with a lot of amazing whole foods recipes. The mango and peanut butter sauce just pull everything together. Arguably, it takes a lot longer than the 10 minute prep time, but it was worth the effort. Thanks for sharing. Keep em coming!

    • Ana
      February 15, 2016

      Thanks Stephanie, it was indeed a delicious one, really happy you enjoyed it!

  • Marla
    April 16, 2016

    5 stars
    I made this with Tahini and it was awesome. Thank you!

    • Ana
      April 18, 2016

      That’s a great idea Marla, thanks for your feed-back!

  • Lacey
    May 13, 2016

    Hi Ana! I already love cauliflower, and who doesn’t love a good peanut sauce, so this is right up my alley. Definitely plan to set myself up for this salad next time I’m at the grocery, I was wondering what colour onion you prefer? Is unspecified and I can’t get a good look at the photo on my stupid phone. Thanks!

    • Ana
      May 15, 2016

      You can make it with any kind if onion, but the red one and scallions have a milder flavor and I use them for this salad. I hope you liked this recipe, it’s one of my favorites!

  • Jackie
    August 19, 2016

    Wow, totally bookmarking this! Are the nutrition facts for the whole recipe? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ana
      August 24, 2016

      The nutrition facts are for one portion. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Miss Food Fairy
    December 14, 2016

    5 stars
    This salad sounds delicious Ana, I can’t wait to try it. I never thought about adding Thai to cauliflower – yumm! Pinned for later ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ana
      December 16, 2016

      Oh, it makes such a delicious combo! Let me know if you try this recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Amaryllis @ The Tasty Other
    December 29, 2016

    I love this recipe! I’ve never used cauliflower as rice- it sounds delicious, especially paired with all the yummy ingredients you list here. Thanks so much for sharing these- and your always stunning photos. Happy New Year, Ana!

    • Ana
      January 6, 2017

      It was a surprise for me too, and I love the cauliflower ever since! Thank you so much for your words ๐Ÿ™‚ Wishing you a wonderful new year!!

  • Zephyr Kamph
    January 5, 2017

    I’m not a fan of parsley. What are your thoughts on using cilantro and/or mint instead?

    • Ana
      January 6, 2017

      I am not a big fan of cilantro, but I think it would taste perfect with mint! So, so refreshing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Vari
    January 13, 2017

    Hi! Is this severed warm or cold? Looks amazing – can’t wait to try ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ana
      January 20, 2017

      Works both ways, but actually prefer it warm – all the flavors are enhanced and it feels like comfort food ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Madie
    January 17, 2017

    THIS IS SOOO GOOD! I just made it for dinner tonight and will definitely be making it again sometime soon! I don’t have a food processor so I just steamed the florets and then mashed them a bit before adding them to the pan, worked like a charm!

    • Ana
      January 20, 2017

      Oh, cauliflower is such a flexible veggie to work with – mashing it with a fork works just fine! Thank you for the feedback, great to read you liked the recipe!

  • Jolie
    January 19, 2017

    4 stars
    Just made this tonight and it was great! Will definitely make again. It makes a large portion that would be perfect to take to a summer BBQ. Perhaps the next time I make for just my husband and I, I’d add a spicy pepper like a Serrano or Jalepeno to spice it up a notch. However, it is spectacular as-is! Like someone else said, the 20 minute prepare time was a bit off, took close to an hour from start to finish without prepping/chopping veggies.

    • Ana
      January 20, 2017

      Aww, I’m so happy to hear you liked the recipe! You’re totally right, a bit of spicy pepper would do great! Thanks for your feedback ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kim
    February 10, 2017

    4 stars
    I thought this needed something more after I tasted it so I added a bit of sambal and that seemed to do the trick. Next time I might add a splash of fish sauce and korriander to further jazz it up! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Ana
      February 11, 2017

      Never tried sambal before, just because of the fish sauce, but a little umami sounds like a good idea! Maybe a dried tomato paste would do the trick for the vegans and vegetarians ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for your feedback!

  • Zera Lowe
    March 17, 2017

    5 stars
    I made this recipe today and liked it very much. My husband is not a fan of cauliflower but he commented on how much he liked it! Success! I used one pound of pre made cauliflower rice (half of a 2 pound bag from Costco) and made a slightly larger quantity of cabbage. Also doubled the peanut sauce ingredients and added another teaspoon of honey. Didn’t have parsley on hand but served it on a small amount of power greens. Didn’t have fresh mango (would have been wonderful), but I had some jarred mango in natural juice. Altogether it turned out very well, have enough for another meal and I was happy. I would do this recipe again. I highly recommend it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ana
      March 21, 2017

      Wow, Zera thanks so much for such a detailed feed-back and adaptation! I’m really happy you and your family like the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tiffanie
    February 1, 2018

    5 stars
    To die for good!!!!!! Thank you for this recipe!!!! Will make again and again and again l9l!!!

    • Ana
      February 7, 2018

      So happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shelley
    April 8, 2018

    5 stars
    This is the best cauliflower recipe I have ever made. I’m addicted!!

    • Ana
      April 14, 2018

      Happy you like it, Shelley! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Leigh
    April 22, 2018

    1 star
    I honestly thought this was terrible. I tried a bunch of things to try to “fix” it and it just ended up being something we had to endure for a few days while it got eaten up.My issues: the cauliflower should be subbed for quinoa. The cauliflower turns to mush by day 2, and then it just sticks in clumps held together by the coconut milk. Using coconut milk to “cook” it is fine, but there is literally no seasoning added, and it definitely needs some. Add some salt for goodness’ sake! As for the veggies, chop them SMALL. Bell pepper, good. Green onions, good. Cabbage, great idea. Parsley? NO. Sub for cilantro and mint. Then add anything else that has crunch to it… radishes, julienned cartrots, even broccoli crowns all chopped up. It just needs more texture than what this salad offers. The almonds are great, I’d just add more. And it needs more mango too. Finally, the dressing. NO. It’s far too limey and has no dimension. It was runny like water. I know it has no oil in it, but come on. I had to doctor this up tremendously to make it palatable. I’d add some coconut aminos, some more peanut butter, a little oil, some chili garlic sauce, maybe some sambal, and make it live. Overall I thought this recipe sucked, but it could be good with some major substitutions.

    • Ana
      April 25, 2018

      This is probably the most spiteful comment I got on this blog so far. I donโ€™t even know where to start from but letโ€™s give it a try: 1. the salt is in the recipe, you just have to read it. 2. Itโ€™s a salad so itโ€™s meant to be prepared and consumed fresh, why you had to make lots of it for several days, beats me! 3. With such specific tastes (add this, sub with this, double this) I find it hard to believe that you like any recipe at all. 4. If you read the comments above yours youโ€™ll see that people enjoyed the recipe and I suspect thereโ€™s absolutely nothing wrong with themโ€ฆ

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