Go Back
+ servings
A bowl of Thai beef salad garnished with fresh chilli.

Thai Beef Salad - Yum Nua

Yum Nua is a delicious Thai Beef Salad that's healthy AND packed with flavour! It features easy-to-find ingredients you can whip up into a colourful, refreshing salad in just 20 minutes.
Course Lunch
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 124kcal
Cost $15


For the beef

For the salad

  • 4-6 lettuce leaves
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cucumber medium, halved and sliced into half moons
  • 1 fresh cilantro / coriander small bunch, stems and leaves, chopped
  • 1 bunch mint chopped

For the dressing


  • First up, heat the oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Season your steak with salt and pepper, then pop it in the pan. Sear for two minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Set aside to cool before slicing into small strips. 
  • Assemble your salad ingredients (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, coriander and mint) as artfully or messily as you like. You can do this in a large mixing bowl or straight into your serving bowls according to your preference. 
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together all of your dressing ingredients (lime juice, fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, sugar and chilli) and give it good stir to allow the flavours to meld. Pour as much or as little dressing as you like!


Tips to get this recipe just right:
For the salad:
  • Beef - We used thin veal steaks cooked medium rare for a speedy cook time and tender result. Some other good cuts include sirloin, porterhouse, or rump, but you can use any cut you prefer. Make sure your the fry pan is nice and hot before cooking the steak. This will help it cook fast while sealing in the flavour to keep it juicy and tender. Take things to the next level and cook your beef over a charcoal grill for extra succulent flame-grilled flavour.  Left over roast (beef or lamb) is a great substitute for steak if you need to use it up. Remember to cut it into small strips.
  • Salad - This recipe calls for fresh mint and coriander leaves, spring onions, red onions, tomatoes and cucumbers. We use seedless cucumbers if we can find them, which helps stop the salad dressing from becoming watered down, but it's no big deal if you use regular cucumbers instead.
For the dressing:
With just 6 main ingredients, this Thai salad dressing is full of flavour and so easy to make. Along with lime juice, garlic and sugar (palm sugar, raw sugar or brown sugar), you'll also need:
  • Fish sauce - This adds the perfect savoury kick to the dressing! If you've never used it before, check out our fish sauce guide for more info. Trust us, while it does have a strong smell in the bottle, it won't taste fishy in the final dish. You can find it at Asian grocers or well-stocked supermarkets, usually in the international food aisle or near the soy sauce.
  • Lemongrass - You can use fresh lemongrass, jarred lemongrass, or frozen lemongrass. Check the freezers of Asian grocers for frozen lemongrass that is already finely chopped and ready to use. The flavour won't be intense, but will still give that citrus hit to the sauce. We don't recommend using dried or powdered lemongrass.
  • Thai red chillies - These small red chillies are much hotter than regular chillies, so you might like to go easy until you get used to the heat level. Add more or less chillies depending on how hot you like it. If you don't have small Thai red chillies on hand, you can substitute with regular red chillies, sliced jalapeños, or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes.
Other Notes
  • For the freshest salad - Keep the dressing separate until just before serving - especially if you want to take it as a work lunch. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week - you could use it as a dipping sauce for Crispy Thai Spring Rolls or Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls.
  • Add Flavour - Try adding thinly sliced onion, fresh shallots or crispy fried shallots for extra flavour.


    Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1317mg | Potassium: 732mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 4959IU | Vitamin C: 73mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg