This delicious, Thai-inspired chicken larb salad is bursting with zest and flavour. It’s perfect as a satiating salad for dinner or lunch or can be paired with a side of cauliflower rice, regular rice, rice noodles or quinoa. This recipe is paleo, gluten-free, and keto and Whole30-friendly (omit the sweetener).
This chicken larb salad is like Pop Rocks Candy with layers of textures and amazing punchy flavours that unravel in your mouth with each bite. Made with ground chicken, lots of aromatics and red cabbage, it’s a satiating salad that can be served as a main or a starter (say for a dinner party).
What Is Larb Salad?
Originating in Laos and evolving through neighbouring cuisines, this salad is made with different types of cooked ground or minced meat, fish sauce, lots of fresh lime juice, chilli and raw vegetables. Herbs like coriander, Thai basil, and mint can be tossed through the salad.
I usually make my larb with chicken and lots of fresh vegetables I have on hand. The recipe calls for some ingredients you might not usually have in your kitchen, like lemongrass or Tamari/coconut aminos, but they are very easy to find in speciality stores and online.
I do suggest having some fish sauce and Tamari wheat-free or gluten-free, naturally brewed soy sauce in your pantry – I find I use them in a lot of dishes. Coconut aminos is a sauce made from coconut sap, it has a slightly sweet flavour and resembles soy sauce. You can read more about it here.
Notes For Making Chicken Larb
An authentic larb requires a little sweetness to balance the fish sauce and lime juice. You can use palm sugar or honey, or some keto-alternative like Stevia or monk fruit.
- Palm sugar is made from the sap of the palm tree which is collected and boiled down to thicken. It comes as a hard block of brown-looking sugar which can be grated or sliced.
- Like raw honey, I think of palm sugar as a natural sweetener and I use a little bit for baking or in Asian dishes. If you’re concerned about having any sugar at all, remember that we’re only using 1-2 tablespoons for the WHOLE salad so you’re looking at a small quantity per serving, like 3-4 grams.
- You can toast/roast coconut flakes and cashews in a frying pan over medium heat for about two minutes, or do it in the oven. Keep an eye as both can burn quickly.
- This salad is very easy to make once you get past all the chopping!
The pictures don’t show the full salad and the recipe makes quite a lot so you will have enough to feed a family or to save as leftovers for lunch. You could serve it with a side of green vegetables and mushrooms in oyster sauce or some stir-fried cauliflower rice. You can add a little sweet potato to increase the carbohydrate intake. And of course, for those of you including white rice or white rice noodles, this salad would pair brilliantly.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Feel free to replace chicken with beef, pork, duck or even prawns.
More Asian Recipes To Try
- Paleo Nasi Goreng Fried Cauliflower ‘Rice’
- Asian Omelette With Mushrooms & Fine Beans
- Napa Cabbage Slaw Salad With Asian Dressing
- Paleo Gyoza Bites
- Thai Prawn & Chicken Laksa (Low-Carb)
For the chicken
- 1 stalk lemongrass pale section only, finely diced
- 1 long red chilli finely diced with the seeds (omit seeds for less spice)
- 2 garlic cloves finely diced
- A small knob of fresh ginger peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 bunch of coriander/cilantro stems washed and finely chopped save the leaves for the salad
- 500 g ground chicken 1.1 lbs. mince
- Zest of 1/2 lime grated
- 2.5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons Tamari or other gluten-free, naturally brewed soy sauce (or replace with 2 tbsp. coconut aminos)
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- A pinch of sea salt
- 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil for frying
For the salad
- 1/4 head red cabbage thinly shredded (white is also fine)
- 1 large carrot peeled and grated
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped spring onions/scallions
- 1/2 bunch fresh coriander cilantro leaves
- A handful of fresh mint or Thai basil if available
- 1/2 cup cashews crushed and roasted, or some sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup dried fried shallots optional for garnish, available from Asian grocers
- 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes optional for garnish
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1.5 teaspoons grated palm sugar or 2 teaspoons honey, omit for Whole30
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or Tamari
- 1 small red chilli finely chopped (leave it our for a milder version)
- Prepare the ingredients for the chicken. Then, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large frying pan or a wok over high heat. Throw in lemongrass, chilli, garlic, ginger and coriander stems and stir fry for about a minute until fragrant.
- Add the chicken mince and lime zest. Stir and break apart the mince with a wooden mixing spoon until separated into small chunks (this might take a while as chicken mince is quite sticky). The meat will now be changing to white colour. Add the fish sauce, coconut aminos, tamari and lime juice. Stir through and cook for a further few minutes. Total cooking time for the chicken should be about 10 minutes.
- Prepare the salad base by mixing the red cabbage, onion, grated carrot, and fresh herbs.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss through the salad.
- Serve the cooked chicken mince on top of the dressed salad and topped with roasted cashews, dried shallots, coconut flakes and extra fresh herbs. I often just mix everything 🙂