This mouth-watering classic Thai beef salad recipe (yum nua) is made with grilled beef steak and is so simple to put together. It is a perfect salad for low-carb or gluten-free diets.

Thai beef salad is tossed with cucumber, tomato,  shallot, and fresh red chili.

Thai beef salad (Yum Nua) is perhaps one of the most well known salads of Thailand. The grilled beef steak is tossed with cucumber, tomato, shallot, fresh chili, fragrant herbs, and a fish sauce and lime juice dressing. With this authentic Thai beef salad recipe, you can taste the full flavor of authentic Thai cuisine.

It’s important to understand the balance of sweet, salty, tart, and spicy tastes all mingled in Thai cuisines. You can use my recipe for the salad dressing first. Then, taste and adjust the amount of each ingredient according to your taste palate.

Thai beef salad is perhaps the easiest recipe you can make. Not to mention how satisfying this salad is. If you want to try other southeast Asian salad recipes, my Vietnamese Chicken Salad recipe would be another winner!

Choice of Beef Steak

Grill your beef steak cut for the Thai beef salad to get a nice grill mark.

Any tender cuts of beef are suitable. I like to use tenderloin for my Thai beef salad recipe, but rib-eye, striploin or sirloin steak will do great as well.

If you want a full body and taste of beef, try this with skirt or hanger steak as well. For these cuts, be sure to grill it appropriately to avoid the tough texture.

Important tip to remember: Make sure to bring your steak to a room temperature before you begin grilling, about 30-45 minutes. Cooking a cold steak can result in uneven cooking.

Herbs for Thai Beef Salad

If you want the full flavor and taste of Thai salad, use a mixture of cilantro and mint. You can also add a little bit of Thai basil to give another layer of fragrant herb flavor.

I like to tear the herbs with my hands rather than slice them with a knife. I don’t know why, but somehow it tastes better. No explanation available for this.

A large serving plate of Thai beef salad (Yum Nua) with cucumber and tomato is garnished with herbs.

How to make Thai Beef Salad

Thai beef salad ingredients are laid on a counter.

You will need: beef steak (tenderloin), pepper, cherry tomatoes, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime, shallot, fresh red chili, palm sugar (or brown sugar), cucumber, cilantro, and mint.

  • Season your beef steak with soy sauce and pepper. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, slice cucumber in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and cut up.
  • Cut tomatoes in half, slice shallot thinly, and tear the herbs.
  • Grill your steak over a very hot grill to get the grill marks. Cook to your desired done-ness.
  • Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain.
  • If using palm sugar, grate it to collect about 1 tablespoon. If you can’t find palm sugar, substitute with light brown sugar. You need a little bit of extra caramel-like taste that you don’t get with white sugar.
  • Squeeze out lime juice and chop fresh red chili. If you don’t want it too spicy, remove the seeds from the chili.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and chili. Taste and adjust sweetness, saltiness and tartness according to your taste.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, cucumber, tomatoes, shallot, and herbs. Drizzle about 3 tbsp of dressing and toss together. Taste and add more dressing if needed.
A plate of Thai beef salad is garnished with mint leaves and served with a pair of chopsticks

Serving Suggestion

It’s best to serve the Thai beef salad right away. You can chill the leftover in the fridge, and the flavor will get stronger as it chills.

More Mouthwatering Salads

Salads are always welcome to any potluck parties. Try my other salad recipes. Here are some of my favorites:

Thai beef salad is tossed with cucumber, tomato, shallot, and fresh red chili.

Classic Thai Beef Salad

Classic Thai beef salad recipe is made with grilled beef steak, cucumber, tomato and fresh mint and cilantro herbs. Perfect for low-carb and gluten-free diet.
5 from 8 ratings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb beef tenderloin, rib-eye, sirloin, or striploin, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • dashes pepper
  • 2 small cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 4 oz cherry tomato, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1/4 cup mint, loosely packed and torn
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, loosely packed and torn

For salad dressing

  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 fresh red chili, finely minced

Equipment

Instructions 

  • Season your beef steak with soy sauce and pepper. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Grill your steak over a very hot grill to get the grill marks. Cook to your desired done-ness. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain.
  • For the salad dressing, mix together the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and chili in a small bowl. Taste and adjust sweetness, saltiness and tartness according to your taste.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, cucumber, tomato, shallot, and herbs. Drizzle about 3 tbsp of dressing and toss together. Taste and add more dressing if needed.

Notes

It’s best to serve the Thai beef salad right away. You can chill the leftover in the fridge, and the flavor will get stronger as it chills.
Calories: 271kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 836mg, Potassium: 478mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 467IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 3mg
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