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Yum Neua Recipe (Thai Beef Salad)

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Yum neua recipe (Thai beef salad) is full of delicious Asian flavors. Imagine tender char-grilled steak with a tasty dressing of sweet palm sugar, umami fish sauce, and fresh lime juice. Full of fragrant fresh herbs and crisp vegetables, this healthy salad is whipped up in less than 30 minutes for a healthy meal any day of the week.

Yum neua, Thai beef salad, with vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and onion.

This Thai beef salad is incredibly easy to make! Here are some more easy salads with beef you’ll love: Nam tok beef, Thai ground beef larb, and ground beef lettuce wraps.

What is yum neua

Yum neua is a refreshing Thai beef salad, known for its balanced blend of spicy, sour, and savory flavors. Tender slices of grilled beef are mixed with fresh herbs, chili, and a zesty lime dressing, making it a staple in Thai cuisine.

Thai beef salad

This Thai salad with beef is a healthy, low-carb dish full of protein-rich beef and healthy vegetables and herbs.

The veggies are a mix of shredded carrots, fresh onion, juicy tomatoes, and crisp cucumber. Feel free to toss in your favorites or simply omit the ones you don’t like. The addition of green onions and coriander (cilantro) adds a refreshing note.

Close-up of yum neua with grilled steak slices, carrots, chilies, and onions, all coated in a dressing.

This yum salad 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. All recipes you find online should be used as a guideline, as not everyone likes the same flavors and textures in their dishes.

Thai 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 som tum Thai (green papaya salad) 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.

Close-up image of som tum Thai, featuring shredded papaya, sliced tomatoes, lime, and peanuts, presented on a banana leaf.
Som tum Thai, green papaya salad, a classic Thai dish beloved by everyone.

His other favorites are this pork larb recipe, crying tiger steak, and the refreshing Thai corn salad. Make sure to try them later!

Best steak for grilling

Choosing the right steak cut is crucial for a tasty grilled beef steak. The taste of yum neua lies not just in the salad dressing, but in the quality and preparation of your beef.

  • Sirloin steak
  • Flank steak
  • Tenderloin
  • Ribeye

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


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 slices that soak up the dressing with ease. Ideally, you’ll want to cook it medium-rare.
  • Carrot, onion, tomatoes, cucumber – My choice of veggies, feel free to customize (red onion, cherry tomatoes, Chinese celery). 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 leaves or Thai basil can be used too, feel free to customize.
  • Sesame oil – Sesame oil adds a rich, nutty flavor to the dressing.
  • Lime – I highly recommend using fresh lime juice for the best taste. Avoid the bottled stuff.
  • 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

@hungryinthailand.com

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

♬ มักละเด้อนางน้อง – T-REX

Cooking instructions

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

Step 1: Preheat your charcoal grill or grilling pan over medium heat. Grill the steak to your preferred doneness—medium-rare or rare is recommended. Once grilled, let the steak rest for a few minutes. Cut the steak into thin slices against the grain.

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

Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the sliced beef with the salad dressing: sesame oil, palm sugar, fresh lime juice, and fish sauce.

Step 3: Add all other ingredients and vegetables into the bowl. Mix gently and ensure every ingredient is coated with the dressing. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kitchen tools

  • Charcoal grill or grill pan and tongs
  • Cutting board and a sharp knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Vegetable peeler and grater
  • Mixing bowl

Tips for grilling steak

Avoid overcooking: Overcooking beef will make it tough and chewy. Medium-rare is great for yum neua, but rare or medium works too. Skip the well-done.

Room temperature: Before grilling, pull your steak out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature.

Preheat your grill: Make sure your grill is hot before grilling.

Oil your grill: Brush a light layer of oil on the grill to keep your steak from sticking.

Let it rest: Give your steak a few minutes off the heat before slicing. This rest time makes it juicier and more flavorful.

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

How to serve yum nua

Thai beef salad can be served on its own as a light dinner or lunch. Make sure to garnish it with fresh herbs like coriander and freshly chopped green onions for flavor and color.

A great side for Thai salads is Thai sticky rice. You can pair yum nua with other Thai food like authentic chicken pad Thai and beef pad see ew. You can add your beef slices into lettuce cups along with these Thai shrimp lettuce wraps.

How to store Thai steak salad

Refrigerate the leftover Thai meat salad 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 consume your salad the day of preparation.

Frequently asked questions

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.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes. Pre-cut the vegetables and store them in your fridge. You can grill the steak in advance, but it’s best to do this before serving. Combine everything when you’re ready. Alternatively, you can make it in advance and enjoy a cold salad later.

Authentic Thai salad recipes

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Yum Neua Recipe (Thai Beef Salad)

Yum neua, Thai beef salad, with vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and onion.
Easy yum neua recipe for Thai beef salad, healthy and delicious, perfect for any home cook!
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Salad
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces beef grilled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1.8 ounce carrot shredded
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 0.7 ounces tomatoes sliced
  • 3.5 ounces cucumber sliced
  • coriander optional, add to taste
  • green onions optional, add to taste, chopped
  • 2 chilies optional, add to taste, chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat your charcoal grill or grilling pan over medium heat. Grill the steak to your preferred doneness—medium-rare or rare is recommended. Once grilled, let the steak rest for a few minutes. Cut the steak into thin slices against the grain.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sliced beef with the salad dressing: sesame oil, palm sugar, fresh lime juice, and fish sauce.
  • Add all other ingredients and vegetables into the bowl. Mix gently and ensure every ingredient is coated with the dressing. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • To make this a spicy salad, add chopped fresh chilies to taste.
  • Feel free to add vegetables of your choice.

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