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A 30-minute recipe for Thai Larb Salad, a fresh and flavorful Thai salad loaded up with crunchy cucumber, radishes and fresh herbs, tossed in a tangy lime dressing! Serve it with lettuce wraps, rice or both! Video.
Here is of my all-time favorite Thai recipes, called Larb!
What is Larb?
In essence, Larb is a refreshing Thai salad, usually made with ground meat (typically ground chicken, beef, lamb or pork), lots of fresh herbs (mint, Thai basil or cilantro), lemongrass, garlic, fresh chilies, red onions, lime juice, green onions. It is tangy, bright and refreshing, yet spicy and full-flavored, perfect for hot summer days!
How to serve Larb?
- Serve larb in lettuce cups with crunchy veggies for a light and flavorful appetizer
- Serve larb over sticky rice or jasmine rice, with cucumber and radishes for a heartier meal.
Thai Larb Salad Video
Is larb served hot or cold?
- Larb is often served warm over cold lettuce wraps, a nice contrast in texture and temperatures! But Larb is delicious, served cold! Larb keeps in the. fridge for up to 3 days, and is refreshing served chilled.
Larb is typically intensely seasoned -spicy, tangy, salty, all the flavors, so to help “mellow” this out, I like to serve it with rice and cool crunchy veggies – cucumber, radish, jicama, lettuce, etc.
Is Larb Healthy?
Larb is low in carbs, grain-free, and light and low in fat especially if made with ground chicken or ground turkey, served in lettuce wraps.
How to make Larb:
The recipe can be made in 30 minutes flat!
Step 1: Start with “quick-pickling” the red onions. This removes some of the bitterness and bite. Thin slice the onions.
Step 2: In a skillet, saute onion, garlic and lemongrass until tender. Add chili flakes.
Step 3: Add the ground meat to the pan. Use your choice of ground chicken, turkey, beef, pork or lamb. Here I’ve used lamb.
If new to cooking with lamb, keep in mind, using ground lamb is the easiest place to start. Treat it like you would ground beef. And just in case you are wondering, a 3 oz. serving of American Lamb is very nutrient-dense, packed full protein (23 grams) and an excellent source of zinc, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 – which all help to boost immunity!
Step 4: While the ground meat is cooking, prep the cucumber, radishes, scallions and fresh herbs. Here I’ve used colorful watermelon radishes, but feel free to use regular radishes, they add a nice crunch.
Step 5: Drain the fat from the browned meat placing it over a strainer, (especially important if chilling the salad) then add the warm meat to the bowl with the cucumbers, radish, onions and herbs.
Tip: If trying to watch your fat intake or calories, you could rinse the meat in a fine-mesh strainer.
Step 6: Season! Give it a toss with fish sauce and lime juice. Adjust the lime juice and heat to your liking. Find the balance! Larb is generally really tangy from the lime juice, with lots of debt from the fish sauce. A little brown sugar, or honey is added to help balance out the flavors.
Step7: To bump up the heat, add fresh chili, chopped up finely extra for heat, totally optional.
Serve the Larb warm, or chill it for later. Either way you will love the flavor!
At the same time that the larb is cooking you could set a pot of jasmine rice to cook on the stove. I like to use this pasta method.
If serving the Larb Salad as a main, it is nice to serve with rice.
If serving the Larb as an appetizer, feel free to just serve with the lettuce cups.
Or serve with both!
The leftover Larb will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
I hope you are having a wonderful week. Give the Thai Larb Salad a try and let us know what you think!
More Thai recipes you may like:
- Easy to Make Pad Thai w/ Chicken, Shrimp or Tofu
- Thai Fish Curry
- Thai Basil Chicken
- Thai Oyster Mushroom Salad
- 20 Delicious Thai Recipes!
Thai Larb Recipe
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: appetizer, salad
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: thai
- Diet: Gluten Free
A fresh and flavorful recipe for Thai Larb Salad using your choice of ground chicken, turkey, beef or lamb! Serve this with lettuce wraps or rice, or both!
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar- white or rice wine
- 1 red onion (divided, see instructions)
- 3 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 4 tablespoons lemongrass, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes, more to taste
- 16 ounces ground chicken, turkey, beef, lamb,
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups cucumber, sliced or diced
- 2–3 radishes, sliced (or watermelon radish)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chili, finely minced (optional, or sub jalapeno, Thai red chili)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- 1/2 cup chopped basil (Thai basil elevates)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4–5 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar, maple, or honey
- finely chopped fresh chili- optional!
- Serve with lettuce wraps or jasmine rice or both!
- Dice half the onion (you’ll need 1 cup diced) and thinly slice 1/4 of the onion ( 1/4- 1/2 cup).
- Place the sliced onions in a bowl, cover with 1/2 cup hot boiling water and 2 tablespoons vinegar, place in the fridge.
- Cook the meat: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup diced red onion, saute 3-4 minutes, add garlic, lemongrass and chili flakes. Saute until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the ground meat, breaking it apart with a metal spatula. Season the meat with the salt and pepper and continue cooking until all the liquid releases and evaporates about 10 minutes. Drain the fat from the meat, using a fine-mesh strainer.
- While the ground meat is cooking, prep the remaining ingredients. Place the cucumber, radish, scallions, mint, basil, cilantro, fresh chili (optional) in a bowl. Add the drained meat and the strained pickled onions. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Taste, adjust salt, lime and heat. I’ll usually add more chili flakes. or finely diced fresh chilies.
- Serve with lettuce wraps and/or cooked rice. Serve warm or chilled. ( If chilling, make doubly sure to strain all the fat from the meat -it will harden in the fridge.)
Larb will keep up to 3 days in the fridge.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 436
- Sugar: 4.5 g
- Sodium: 1204.1 mg
- Fat: 27.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 11.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Protein: 21.1 g
- Cholesterol: 82.9 mg
Keywords: larb, lamb larb, larb recipe, thai salad recipe, thai salad, lamb salad
Outstanding! So full of flavor. I seven-year-old loved it as well. I used ground pork instead and it was amazing. I also added finally chopped red cabbage to add additional vegetables. This will be one that is made often. Thank you so much for sharing your passion. Your website and your recipes are my first go to. Truly next level.
Great to hear!
Sylvia, this was so easy to make and fantastic. Husband and I enjoyed it very much. Husband had his over rice and I had mine over zucchini noodles – excellent both ways.
Great to hear Nancy!
You should acknowledge somewhere that larb is a Lao dish. Saying that larb is Thai is like saying that tacos are American — you’re not wrong, but you’re also not telling a crucial part of the story.
I actually didn’t know David, or else I would have mentioned it. 🙂 Thanks for pointing this out. I have been to Laos, and didn’t experience it there, so it just never occurred to me.
400+ calories is already low, but I’m Trying to figure out where they all come from? The ground meat is the only significant source of energy, right? Maybe the rice is included in the calculation? Recipe is amazing though.
Hi Jon! Mostly the calories come from ground lamb- which is richer than most other meat- for a lighter version, try ground chicken or turkey!
Well, first… I might be admitting some ignorance, but I’ve never heard the term ‘Larb’ before. I love I have learned something new!
Second…this dish is delicious!!! It’s a little time consuming with all the veggie prep but it was so, so good!!! I don’t use lemongrass very often but it really added a freshness to it. I savored every single bite. I am definitely keeping this recipe! Thank you!
Gald you enjoyed this! I’m so glad you took a leap of faith here and branched out!
Excellent version of larb. Love it with the chunky vegetables.
This was excellent! I used chicken and omitted the chilis.
Fantastic! Flavorful, easy and hearty summer dish.
Thanks Kristen-glad you enjoyed this!
Love this so much. I used ground chicken and added celery and diced mushrooms. it was perfect. This one is going on heavy rotation!
Glad you enjoyed this!
I just made this for a bunch of family who came over – two batches, one with chicken and one with lamb. It was interesting to taste how the different meats affected the flavors. I ended up having to adjust everything much more at the end for the lamb, which overwhelmed a lot of the flavors. Both versions were excellent and everyone really enjoyed them, thank you!
YUM! never tried larb before this so I didn’t have anything to base it off of but this was delicious! Followed recipe to a tee and will be making many times again. Huge hit with me and my husband! Thank you, looking forward to trying more of your recipes!
Glad you enjoyed Nicole!
This is literally one of the delicious things I have ever made! I got everyone in my share house into this recipe too!
I made this with chicken and tasted fabulous! Thank you for always making Asian recipes that taste true/similar to their origin.
I made this vegan style. I used soy crumbles and quinoa blended together, instead of the lamb.. Everything else was the same. What a hit with the family! They’re already asking when I’m making it again!!!
Love it Ann! So glad you tried this vegan! Bravo! 👏
Another hit!! I made this this evening, with ground turkey, otherwise, exactly as written. I have always been a fan of larb, almost always order it at Thai restaurants. I am curently growing thai basil, sweet basil , lemon basil & mint in my garden. I tasted it right after it was al mixed and I thought it didn’t have much kick.. I decided to let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes..Oh wow, that was all it needed. I had it in romaine boats, with a little white rice on the side. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Last night, I made the Leomn Basil Orzo Salad, with a piece of grilled mahi… Another hit!! Tomorrow, I am making the zucchini spinach basil rolls. You never disappoint!!
Thanks so much Robin!
Made this with ground turkey and flavors were amazing. Will make again.
Great idea! Love that. I think chicken is traditional, but will try turkey next time!
Made this twice over the weekend – so good!
Great to hear, Yay!
So good! loved the lamb!
Awesome Ginger, glad you liked!
Delicious and easy, will make again. Thanks!
Yay!!! Thanks so much, and glad it turned out for you! 🙌
Can I substitute lemon balm for lemongrass ?
Perhaps? It would not be the same, but it still might be good? Not sure!
Thanks Gary- I wanted to create a version that could be made with ingredients most folks have on hand. I intentionally left out the rice powder this time, and have made it both ways in the past. It is actually not bad without, but I do see your point and will add optional rice powder to the notes.
Cooking the Jasmin rice using the pasta method takes 15 minutes 🙂
You’d never get lamb in your Larb in Thailand but I gave it a try and it’s delicious. You also leave out the toasted sticky rice which is pretty essential for that authentic Isaan consistency.
Thanks Dan I will add a link to the sticky rice. I wanted a quick rice option. 🙂
Sounds good and flavorful. What do you think of using baked tofu crumbles in lieu of the lamb?
Love that idea!!!