Thai Inspired Beef Salad (Yum Nua)

Trying to eat more healthy food but love beef? Then have I got a recipe for you… Check out my “Thai Inspired Beef Salad” for a spicy citrus flavored healthy meal that puts the beef front and center where it belongs!!!

What is Thai Beef Salad

While there are no actual words that directly translate to salad in the Thai language, there are several that relate to tossing an ingredient in dressing. The four most well known are Yam (Veggie and Protein based), Tam (Fruit based), Laab and Nam Tok (Chopped Meat based), and Phla (Pronounced Pla, which feature lightly cooked marinated proteins).

While I consider this dish to be a Yam style salad which is traditionally a protein like meat or egg served with crunchy vegetables, all tossed in a dressing of citrus juice, spicy peppers, fish sauce and sugar. Topped with herbs like cilantro or Basil to brighten the flavors, it does also use techniques similar to Phla by lightly cooking the protein beef after a marinade is applied.

Whatever you decide to call it, your friends will all just say it is Yummy!!!

The History of Thai Food

In the United States, Thai food gained popularity in the 1970s after the Vietnam Conflict. Thailand was a US ally and many Thai nationals relocated to the States after the war. A large number of these refugees moved to Los Angeles and with the influx of Thai people, eventually the Bangkok Market was established allowing Thai chefs to finally have access to the ingredients that make their food so special.

Thai cuisine quickly gained popularity on the west coast and this spread as the population began to expand across the country. It started in major cities but eventually worked its way into the fabric of the American culinary scene one town at a time.

Worldwide however, a government initiative to promote Thai cuisine and tourism called the Global Thai Program began in 2002. The country wanted to expose more people to its culture through food hoping to drive tourism.

The program had hoped to increase the number of Thai restaurant from 5500 to 8000 by 2003. Today, there are more than 10,000 Thai restaurants around the world and Thai cuisine is now the 4th most popular cuisine and has helped make Thailand a prominent food tourism destination.

Why we Love Thai Beef Salad

With today’s emphasis on reducing carbs to stay healthy, this Thai Inspired Beef Salad is a great way to avoid the extra calories without losing all the flavor. And flavor is why I love this dish, it is spicy and citrussy with just a hint of sweetness, herbiness and fish sauce to round everything out. It will literally make your mouth water.

What to Pair with this Dish

This dish works best as an entrée and really needs nothing to go along with it, however, if you really want to add something, think starters. When I make this for my husband we will sometimes make some type of spring roll to go with it.

Whether it is a traditional Thai Spring Roll like Poh Pia Tod (fried Thai spring rolls), or Gỏi Cuốn (fresh Thai summer rolls) you can’t go wrong. I even like to pair it with spring rolls from other locations like Vietnam or my personal favorite, Lumpia (Filipino fried spring rolls).

Storage and Freshness

For storage, unfortunately, this dish does not store well. Even if you avoid adding the dressing, the veggies can quickly loose quality over even a short period of time once cut. As a result, this is a dish that should be made to order. You can precook the beef, but again, it can loose valuable moisture which will greatly affect quality.

Ingredients for Thai Beef Salad

For the Beef Marinade:

2 Good Cuts of Beef (we used NY Strip about 1″ inch thick)

3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 lemon (juice of)

salt and pepper ( according to your taste)

For the Salad:

1 head of lettuce (we used Red Leaf)

1 cucumber

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro (chopped)

2 small sweet peppers

5 cherry tomatoes

1 whole onion

For the Dressing:

1 whole lemon (juice of)

2 tbsp. fish sauce

2 tbsp. brown sugar or honey

1 tsp. grape seed oil

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 pcs red chilies (fine dice)

salt and pepper to taste


Marinade the Beef

  1. Put steak into a large bowl, add soy sauce, minced garlic, juice half of lemon, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Marinade for 30 minutes to 1 hour and put in the refrigerator.

Make the Dressing

  1. Squeeze the juice of one lemon.
  2. Add Fish Sauce, Grape Seed Oil, and Sugar.
  3. Mince 3 cloves of garlic then add.
  4. Finely dice two chili peppers then add
  5. Combine all ingredients by whisking together thoroughly.

Prepare the Salad

  1. Cut Lettuce into bite size pieces.
  2. Slice Cucumber in half, remove the seeds then slice into crescents.
  3. Slice two small Sweet Peppers into rings as shown.
  4. Cut one small onion in half, cut the two ends and remove the peel. Slice onion vertically creating matchstick shaped slices.
  5. Slice Cherry tomatoes in half or into quarters.
  6. Finely chop 1/2 cup of Cilantro.

Preparing the Beef

  1. Heat Pan over medium high heat, then add grape seed oil once hot.
  2. Add marinated beef, cooking until golden brown crust forms, approximately 2-3 minutes per side, If steak is too rare, you can finish in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes to increase internal temperature to medium depending on the thickness of the steak.
  3. Let steak rest for 5 minutes per pound, then slice on a bias against the grain of the steak. Slices should be thin, 1/8 of an inch or less if possible.

Final Assembly

  1. Mix all Veggies together in a large bowl, add half of the dressing (to taste) and toss until well coated.
  2. Plate the salad and top with sliced beef, then garnish with remaining cilantro and drizzle a little dressing over the top to finish.

In Conclusion

Well thank you for checking out my recipe, I hope you enjoy this dish. Also, if you enjoyed the post, please click the like button, make a comment below and/or subscribe to my Blog and Facebook page. Please keep your eyes open for more recipes and posts as I continue to explore new ways to help you make life just a little more fun by finding the best ways to “Live life one moment at a time”

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Published by janice

Hello, my name is Janice and I am a digital marketing specialist that was born in the Philippines, then moved to the United States, and now lives in Daejeon, South Korea. All of this traveling around has helped me learn how to make the most of my surroundings regardless of where I am. On this site, I will focus on showing you affordable ways to make your everyday life a little more fun.

11 thoughts on “Thai Inspired Beef Salad (Yum Nua)

  1. I appreciate the clear instructions and highlighted the key ingredients that make this dish authentic and flavorful. Can’t wait to try this recipe and experience the bold and refreshing flavors of Thai cuisine. Thank you for sharing this enticing recipe!”

    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment. I really try to make the recipe as easy to follow as possible. I hope you enjoy making this delicious beef thai salad😊!

      1. Hello Sylvia😊👋 thank you for visiting my site. It’s very yummy and easy to make that all your family members will enjoy. Hope you got to try it. Have a great week!

  2. This looks amazing! My husband and I love food like this so I’ll be giving this a try 🙂

    1. Thank you😊, it was very delicious and this dish is perfect for summertime. I hope you enjoy making this delicious beef salad🤩!

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