Recipes/ Salad

Yum Nua – Spicy Thai Beef Salad Recipe

24/05/2018 (Last Updated: 26/02/2020)

This refreshing spicy Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad recipe ticks all the boxes – it’s super healthy and packed full of flavour. So grab some thinly sliced beef, crisp salad veggies, and a handful of dressing ingredients and you’ll be ready to whip up your own Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad in no time. 

Bowl of Yum Nua salad with cutlery and small bowl of sauce.

Why We Love This Recipe

When we’re looking for that perfect blend of healthy ingredients, heaps of flavour and quick prep time… Thai cuisine is where it’s at!

There’s something so intensely satisfying about the balance of spicy + sour + salty flavours married to soft, tender beef, aromatic herbs and refreshing veggies all dressed up in one gorgeous salad bowl.

I mean, how can you not feel healthy just looking at this colourful salad

Top view of Thai beef salad with thin strips of beef, tomato, cucumber, mint, coriander and lettuce with sauce.

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What is Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad? 

Spicy and savoury with a hint of sweetness, this Thai beef salad is guaranteed to set your mouth watering! Also known as Yum Nua [sometimes spelt yam nua or yum neau], this popular salad can usually be found in and around Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

Bowl of Thai beef salad with lemongrass and mint.

What You’ll Need

First up – the beef: Today we’re using thin veal steaks cooked medium rare, but you can use any cut you prefer.

For the salad ingredients, we turn to fresh mint and coriander leaves, spring onions, red onions, tomatoes, and (if you can find them) seedless cucumbers. (This just helps to stop the salad dressing from being watered down, but it’s no big deal if you use regular cucumbers instead. )

Thai Beef Salad Dressing

For the sauce, you’re after 6 main ingredients:

  • Lime juice
  • Fish sauce
  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Sugarpalm sugar, raw sugar or brown sugar will do the job
  • Birds eye chilli(s) – use as much or as little as you like

The result is a flavour packed salad that is tender and juicy, crunchy and aromatic and super refreshing all at once.

How to make Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad

  • First up, heat the oil in a 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 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 and give it good stir to allow the flavours to meld. Pour as much or as little dressing as you like!

Yum Nua – Spicy Thai Beef Salad

Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad Recipe - Succulent beef slices with fresh mint, coriander, tomato and lettuce just bursting with flavour. | wandercooks.com

Tips

  • Keeping the sauce separate is perfect for keeping the salad fresh if you want to take it as a work lunch.
  • Have a high heat for the steak as it will cook fast and will help to seal in the flavours and keep it juicy and tender.
  • For the ultimate flavour-punch, you could choose cook your beef over a charcoal grill for extra succulent flame-grilled flavour. 

FAQs

Do I have to use beef?

You can replace the beef with any protein that suits your taste – why not try chicken or tofu!

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Definitely, you can enjoy the salad hot or cold. Just leave out the dressing until you’re ready to eat for ultimate freshness.

How long will Thai beef salad last in the fridge?

We’d recommend eating this within a day or two, otherwise the lettuce, mint and coriander will begin to get soggy and it won’t be the best experience at that stage!

Variations & Substitutes

  • Left over roast beef is a great substitute for steak if you need to use it up. Just remember to cut it into strips.
  • While we didn’t use onion in our recipe, you can add thinly sliced onion or shallots for extra flavour.
  • No fresh chillis on hand? Replace with a 1/4 tsp of chilli powder, or however much you like to get the dish to your spice level.

Fresh bowl of Thai Beef Salad in a bowl, known as Yum Nua.

Serve as a main dish with fluffy jasmine rice, or on its own as a light and refreshing snack.

After more Thai deliciousness? Try these:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Bowl of Thai beef salad with lemongrass and mint.

Yum Nua - Spicy Thai Beef Salad Recipe

This refreshing spicy Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad recipe ticks all the boxes - it's super healthy and packed full of flavour. So grab some thinly sliced beef, crisp salad veggies, and a handful of dressing ingredients and you'll be ready to whip up your own Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad in no time.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 124kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Ingredients

For the beef

  • 200 g beef steak or cut of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the salad

  • 4-6 lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 medium cucumber halved and sliced into half moons
  • 1 small bunch coriander stems and leaves, chopped
  • 1 small bunch mint chopped

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 birdseye chillies or to taste

Instructions

  • First up, heat the oil in a frypan 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 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 and give it good stir to allow the flavours to meld. Pour as much or as little dressing as you like!

Notes

Tips

  • Keeping the sauce separate is perfect for keeping the salad fresh if you want to take it as a work lunch.
  • Have a high heat for the steak as it will cook fast and will help to seal in the flavours and keep it juicy and tender.
  • For the ultimate flavour-punch, you could choose cook your beef over a charcoal grill for extra succulent flame-grilled flavour.

FAQs

  • Do I have to use beef? You can replace the beef with any protein that suits your taste - why not try chicken or tofu!
  • Can I make this salad ahead of time? Definitely, you can enjoy the salad hot or cold. Just leave out the dressing until you're ready to eat for ultimate freshness.
  • How long will Thai beef salad last in the fridge? We'd recommend eating this within a day or two, otherwise the lettuce, mint and coriander will begin to get soggy and it won't be the best experience at that stage!

Variations & Substitutes

  • Left over roast beef is a great substitute for steak if you need to use it up. Just remember to cut it into strips.
  • While we didn't use onion in our recipe, you can add thinly sliced onion or shallots for extra flavour.
  • No fresh chillis on hand? Replace with a 1/4 tsp of chilli powder, or however much you like to get the dish to your spice level.
 

Nutrition

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
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Yum Nua – Spicy Thai Beef Salad Recipe

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Danielle
    07/06/2018 at 10:14 pm

    5 stars
    Loooove the flavors here!! Thai beef salad is one of my favorite salads, and this is perfect for the upcoming summer months. And so easy to make 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      10/07/2018 at 6:09 pm

      I know right! Nothing beats a refreshing salad on a hot summer day unless it’s also a spicy one! 😀

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