Yum Nua Recipe (Thai Beef Salad)

Enjoy a delightful combo of crisp vegetables with thinly sliced, tender steak, and an amazing dressing that leaves you craving for more.

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Yum nua with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, onion, and chilies, in a clay dish. There's also a wooden fork and spoon on the left of the dish.

Yum nua recipe (Thai beef salad) is full of delicious Asian flavors. Imagine tender chargrilled steak with a delicious dressing of sweet palm sugar, umami fish sauce, and fresh lime juice. Loaded with an abundance of fragrant herbs and crisp vegetables, this healthy meal comes together quickly for an easy dinner.

Close-up of Thai spicy beef salad features tomatoes, onion, carrots, beef slices, and sliced red chilies in a salad dressing.

Asian salads

Asian salads are way different from Western versions. They’re incredibly flavorful and often come with a spicy, tangy, salty, and sweet dressing. We don’t go heavy on the sauces, no ketchup, no mayo, none of that. (And there’s absolutely no need for it either!)

Before my hubby met me, he wasn’t fond of vegetable-filled meals. However, the first time he had a taste of green papaya salad with peanuts at a Thai restaurant, he was hooked for life! Since then, his preference for Southeast Asian flavors quickly grew, and this yum nua is now one of his all-time favorite dishes.

Thai beef salad with sliced cucumber, red chilies, carrots, and onion.

Also try his other recommendations:

What is yum nua

This healthy, low-carb meal of Thai cuisine is a wonderful mix of thinly sliced grilled beef (or seared), mixed with a combination of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Close-up of Asian salad with steak and fresh vegetables.

For vegetables, I like to use a simple mix of shredded carrots, fresh onion, juicy tomatoes, and crisp cucumber. Feel free to toss in your favorites or remove the ones you don’t like.

A simple addition of green onions and coriander (cilantro) adds a refreshing taste. If you don’t like coriander, you can simply omit it.

Yum nua with colorful and crisp vegetables in a clay dish.

All that is tossed with a refreshing dressing of lime juice, palm sugar, and fish sauce. As always, adjust the dressing to your taste. Find the sweet spot where salty, spicy, sweet, and sour flavors come together in a balance of taste.

When cooking Thai food, it’s recommended to taste-test while cooking, as well as right before serving. Everyone has different taste buds, so all recipes you find online should be used as a guideline.

The best steak for grilling

The grilled beef steak can be made with several different cuts. Tenderloin, rib-eye, sirloin, and striploin are great options when cooked properly on the grill.

Thai steak salad with cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, coriander, onions, red chilies, and tomatoes, all resting in a salad dressing in a clay dish.

Tips for grilling steak

  • Brush a small layer of oil onto the grill. This is done to prevent the meat from sticking to it while flipping it.
  • Preheat the grill. Make sure that the grill is at high heat before you start cooking.
  • Don’t overcook it. Get the timing right, if needed, use a meat thermometer. I like mine best medium-rare, but yum nua can be made with rare or medium doneness as well. I wouldn’t recommend cooking it well done.
  • Before slicing into the meat, let it rest for a few minutes. This tip will give you a more tender and flavorful steak.
  • I like to let my steak come down to room temperature after refrigerating it. This promotes even cooking, and reduces the amount of time needed to cook it.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be enjoying an authentic Thai-style beef salad that’s way better than takeout!


Recipe ingredients presented on a bamboo serving tray; vegetables & herbs, raw beef, fresh lime juice, sesame oil, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Most ingredients are in plastic cups or clay cups.
  • Beef – The main protein. Slice it into thin, tender slices. Ideally, you’ll want to cook it medium-rare.
  • Carrot, onion, tomatoes, cucumber – My choice of veggies, feel free to customize. This combination of crisp, cool, sweet, and refreshing greens is my go-to mix for healthy summer salads.
  • Green onions, coriander (cilantro) – Garnishing to add a touch of freshness. Mint or Thai basil can be used as well.
  • Sesame oil – Sesame oil adds a rich, nutty flavor to the dressing.
  • Lime – I highly recommend using fresh lime juice for the best taste.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar brings a caramel-like flavor that sets it apart from white sugar and brown sugar. It’s also a healthier alternative.
  • Fish sauce – A staple in Thai cuisine for adding an umami boost to any meal.
  • Chilies (optional) – For a spicy salad, add chopped fresh chili peppers to taste.

Short recipe video


Learn how to make a delicious Thai salad, perfect for summer with healthy vegetables! #thairecipe #thaifoodie #thaisalad

♬ มักละเด้อนางน้อง – T-REX

Step-by-step instructions

This recipe comes together quickly, after grilling the steak, just toss it with the rest of the ingredients.

  1. One image shows a steak being grilled over charcoal, and another image shows a knife slicing it into thin slices.

    To prepare the steak, grill it over charcoal or use a grilling pan over medium heat. I recommend cooking it to medium-rare or rare. After grilling, let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing it into thin slices against the grain.

  2. Close-up of a wooden spoon mixing beef slices with salad dressing in a mixing bowl.

    Mix the beef slices with the salad dressing (sesame oil, palm sugar, fresh lime juice, and fish sauce) in a large bowl.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

How to serve

Thai beef salad can be served on its own as a light dinner or lunch. Make sure to garnish it with fresh herbs, such as coriander and green onions, for extra freshness.

Alternatively, you can enjoy it with sticky rice for a complete meal. Have it as a side-dish with other Thai food, such as chicken pad Thai or pad see ew noodles. Another unique way to serve this Thai salad is in lettuce wraps. Fill a lettuce cup with a small portion of food, and add extra herbs if you like.

How to store

Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for later use. Enjoy the leftovers within 2–3 days.

The vegetables may become softer or soggy over time, so it’s best to eat everything the day of preparation.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

How many calories in a Thai beef salad?

This Thai beef salad recipe has 361 kcal in it. The amount of calories in a Thai beef salad depends on the ingredients and the recipe you use.

What is Thai beef salad?

Thai beef salad can come in different versions with different ingredients. The most well known beef salads are known as “yum nua”, nam tok nua, and larb nua. All three salads are known for their bold, refreshing flavors. Each salad comes with unique ingredients and flavors. Typical flavors are a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and savory.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, you can make this in advance. Simply pre-cut the vegetables and store them in your fridge until you’re ready to make the salad. You can also grill the steak in advance, but I recommend doing this right before eating your meal. If you make the full meal in advance, you can either enjoy it cold or quickly heat it in a wok when you’re ready to serve.

More healthy meals you’ll love

  • Tom kha gai – A healthy Thai soup with chicken, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai seasonings.
  • Chicken pineapple fried rice – Enjoy an easy-to-make, refreshing dish perfect for a simple weeknight dinner.
  • Yum woon sen – Delicious glass noodle salad with pork and healthy veggies.
  • Enoki mushroom larb – A flavorful twist on the classic larb salad, with crunchy enoki mushrooms.

Did you fall in love with this yum nua recipe? I’d be thrilled if you would leave a star rating and/or a comment below! Your feedback not only helps me grow, but it also helps others. And if you’re craving more Thai recipes like this one, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter. All the latest and greatest delivered straight to your inbox!

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 25 mins
Servings: 2 Calories: 361


This Thai beef salad (yam nua) recipe comes together quickly with simple ingredients.



  1. To prepare the steak, grill it over charcoal or use a grilling pan over medium heat. I recommend cooking it to medium-rare or rare. After grilling, let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing it into thin slices against the grain.

  2. Mix the beef slices with the salad dressing (sesame oil, palm sugar, fresh lime juice, and fish sauce) in a large bowl.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 361kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14.9g23%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Total Carbohydrate 14.9g5%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Sugars 10.1g
Protein 40.6g82%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • To make this a spicy salad, add chopped fresh chilies to taste.
  • Leftovers should be refrigerated and consumed within 2–3 days. Optionally, you can reheat the leftovers in a wok. I prefer to enjoy them cold.
  • Serve on its own as a light dinner or lunch, or pair with other Thai side-dishes for a complete Thai meal experience.
Keywords: yum nua, yum nua recipe, Thai beef salad

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About Author


I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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