Spicy, Crunchy, Thai Green Bean Salad

This green bean salad takes me back to my backpacking days in Thailand when I’d order green papaya salad (som tam) at every meal. The combination of fresh herbs, crispy onions and peanuts, and an addicting sweet and salty dressing, makes it easy to crush a large bowl of this without batting an eye.

Recently, I’ve been making this salad a lot. For friends and for Chris, and everyone seems to want the recipe. At first, I didn’t measure things so every salad was slightly different. But, I’ve made it many times since and finally have a recipe to share.

Tip: Don’t serve this to anyone who’s vegetarian (there’s fish sauce) or who can’t handle spicy food. The salad just isn’t the same without the birds-eye chilis in my opinion.

Green Bean Salad ingredients
Here’s what you need.
Yield: 4 Servings

Spicy, Crunchy, Thai Green Bean Salad

green bean som tam salad

This green bean salad is a perfect make-ahead dinner party side dish accompanied with roasted or barbecued meat and rice.


  • 750g raw french green beans
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves


  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh birds eye chili, diced


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place raw peanuts on a baking sheet.
  2. Slice onions in thin half-moon rings, and then heat up grapeseed oil on medium heat.
  3. Roast the peanuts in the oven for about 10 minutes until they start to brown.
  4. Cook the onions for 15-20 minutes until they're brown and crispy. Stir every few minutes so they brown evenly.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the salad. Mince the garlic, birds eye chili, and slice your tomatoes if you have't already. Clean and cut your green beans into bite sized pieces.
  6. In a large bowl, make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients using a whisk (garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar). Add half of the diced chilis and taste the sauce to see if it's the right level of spice before adding more.
  7. Once your onions have finished cooking, remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  8. Remove your roasted peanuts and once cool, lightly chop them.
  9. Add your green beans and tomatoes into the large bowl and toss with the fresh herbs. You can keep this for a few hours in the fridge.
  10. When you're ready to serve, add in the fried onions and roasted peanuts.


This dish is an amazing accompaniment to steak and coconut rice. Give it a try!

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