3 Delightful Papaya Salad Recipes to Enjoy

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Updated on June 11, 2024

Papaya can add a delicious and tropical twist to salads. Its sweet and slightly musky flavour pairs well with a variety of ingredients. You can combine papaya with greens like spinach or arugula and toss in some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and maybe some avocado. A light vinaigrette with citrus flavours can complement the papaya nicely. It’s a refreshing and healthy addition to your salad!

With its vibrant colour and tropical allure, Papaya takes centre stage as a versatile and refreshing ingredient in the culinary world. One of the most delightful ways to enjoy papaya is through the artful creation of papaya salads. These salads are a feast for the taste buds and a celebration of cultural diversity. This article will explore the richness of sweet and savoury papaya salad recipes.

Are Papaya Salads Healthy?

Yes, papaya salads can be quite healthy! Papaya is a nutrient-rich fruit that is low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals; it has a digestive enzyme called papain, which can help digestion. You get a mix of vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre when combined with other fresh and colourful vegetables in a salad.

So, the overall healthiness of the salad also depends on the other ingredients and the dressing you use. Opting for a light dressing and incorporating a variety of vegetables can enhance the nutritional value. Balance is key, so enjoying a diverse range of fruits and vegetables is a great way to promote overall health.

How Can You Make Papaya Taste Good?

Papaya is naturally sweet and has a unique tropical flavour. Still, there are ways to enhance its taste or incorporate it into dishes to make it even more enjoyable. Here are some ideas:

  1. Ripe Papaya: Choose a ripe papaya with vibrant orange flesh. Ripe papayas are sweeter and more flavorful.
  2. Combine with Citrus: Squeeze some lime or lemon juice over papaya to add a zesty kick and enhance its natural sweetness.
  3. Fruit Salad: Mix papaya with other complementary fruits like mango, pineapple, or berries to create a colourful and flavorful fruit salad.
  4. Smoothies: Blend papaya into smoothies with yoghurt, banana, and a touch of honey for a delicious and nutritious drink.
  5. Salsa: Create a refreshing salsa by combining diced papaya with tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeño; this works well as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.
  6. Grilled Papaya: Grilled papaya can add a smoky flavour and caramelization. Brush papaya slices with a bit of honey or maple syrup before grilling.
  7. Papaya Sorbet: Freeze papaya chunks and blend them into a sorbet with a coconut milk or pineapple juice splash.
  8. Salads: Incorporate papaya into salads for a burst of sweetness. It pairs well with greens, cucumber, mint, and a light vinaigrette.
  9. Papaya Chutney: Cook diced papaya with spices, ginger, and sugar to create a flavorful chutney. Serve it as a condiment with grilled meats.
  10. Papaya Smoothie Bowl: Top a papaya smoothie bowl with granola, nuts, and seeds for added texture and nutrition.

Experiment with these ideas to find the best preparation that suits your taste buds!

What Culture Makes Papaya Salad?

Papaya salad is considered a popular basic dish in Southeast Asian cuisines, and it is particularly associated with countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each of these countries has its own variations of papaya salad, often with unique ingredients and flavour profiles.

In Thai cuisine, papaya salad is known as “Som Tum” and is a staple street food. It’s made with green papaya, chilli peppers, lime, fish sauce, and other ingredients, creating a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavours. In Laos, it is called “Tam Som” or “Tam Mak Hoong,” and in Cambodia, it is known as “Bok L’hong.”

While Southeast Asia is the primary region where papaya salad is a cultural staple, variations of fruit salads with papaya can also be found in other parts of the world, adapted to local tastes and ingredients.

What Are the Most Popular and Basic Green Papaya Salad Recipes?

Here’s a basic recipe for Thai Green Papaya Salad called “Som Tum.” Feel free to experiment with the ingredients and quantities to suit your preferences.

Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) Recipe


The name “papaya salad” comes from its main ingredient, papaya. Papaya salad is an original dish in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In Thai cuisine, for example, it is known as “Som Tum.”

The dish typically features shredded or thinly sliced green or unripe papaya as the base. The papaya is mixed with various ingredients such as tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, lime, fish sauce, and chilli peppers. These ingredients create a flavorful and often spicy salad.

The name reflects the primary ingredient and highlights the use of papaya in a fresh and vibrant salad preparation. It’s a popular dish for its balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavours.


  1. 1 green papaya, peeled and shredded
  2. 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2-3 Thai bird chillies, chopped (adjust to taste)
  4. 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  5. 1-2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  6. 2 tablespoons lime juice
  7. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  8. 1 cup green beans divided into 2-inch lengths
  9. 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed
  10. Fresh cilantro for garnish
  11. Optional: 1-2 tablespoons dried shrimp (soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained)
  12. Optional: 1-2 tablespoons tamarind paste for extra tanginess


  1. Mash the garlic and chillies together in a mortar and pestle until they form a rough paste.
  2. Add palm sugar (or brown sugar) and continue to pound until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add fish sauce and lime juice. Mix well to combine.
  4. Add tamarind paste to the mixture and mix again.
  5. Add shredded green papaya to the mortar and pestle. Mix and mash the papaya with a spoon or spatula, allowing it to absorb the flavours of the dressing.
  6. Add cherry tomatoes, green beans, and dried shrimp (if using). Continue to pound and mix gently.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can add more fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar according to your preference.
  8. Once everything is well combined, transfer the salad to a serving plate.
  9. Sprinkle crushed roasted peanuts on top and garnish with fresh cilantro.
  10. Serve the green papaya salad immediately, and enjoy!

Feel free to customize this recipe by adding grilled shrimp, chicken, or tofu for extra protein. Adjust the level of spiciness and sweetness to suit your taste buds.

Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad (Goi Du Du)


Goi du du is another green papaya salad recipe that can be easily done at home:


  1. 1 green papaya, peeled and julienned
  2. 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  3. 1 cup cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  4. 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  5. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  6. 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  7. 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  8. 2 tablespoons lime juice
  9. 1 tablespoon sugar
  10. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  11. 1-2 Thai bird chillies, minced (adjust to taste)


  1. Combine the julienned green papaya, carrot, cooked shrimp, mint, cilantro, and peanuts in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, minced garlic, and chillies in a small bowl.
  3. Pour the dressing over the papaya salad mixture and mix well to coat.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  5. Allow the salad to marinate for 15-20 minutes to meld the flavours.

If desired, serve the Vietnamese green papaya salad chilled, garnished with additional peanuts and herbs.

Tropical Papaya Fruit Salad

This salad is sweet and very delicious. It can be done in summer; here’s how to do it:


  1. 1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  2. 1 cup pineapple chunks
  3. 1 cup mango chunks
  4. 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
  5. 1 banana, sliced
  6. 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  7. 1 tablespoon honey
  8. 2 tablespoons lime juice
  9. Zest of 1 lime


  1. Combine the cubed papaya, pineapple, mango, strawberries, and banana in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together honey, lime juice, and zest in a small bowl.
  3. Add the dressing over the fruit mixture and gently toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle fresh mint leaves over the top to add freshness.
  5. Refrigerate the tropical papaya fruit salad for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to meld.
  6. Serve chilled, and enjoy this refreshing and naturally sweet fruit salad.

These recipes should offer a variety of flavours and textures to suit different preferences!

How Can You Make a No-Carb Dressing Recipe for The Papaya Salad?

A healthy dressing will add nutrient value to the salad. No-carb lime vinaigrette is versatile enough to complement both sweet and savoury elements in your papaya salad. The Dijon mustard and garlic provide savoury undertones, creating a well-balanced and flavorful dressing. So, here’s a simple and delicious no-carb dressing recipe for your papaya salad:

No-Carb Lime Vinaigrette

This dressing is for savoury green papaya salad; here is how to make it:


  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Optional: Crushed red pepper flakes for a hint of spice


  1. Whisk together olive oil, fresh lime juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard and minced garlic in a small bowl until well combined.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning according to your preferences.
  3. If you like a bit of heat, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and whisk again.
  4. Taste the vinaigrette and make any additional adjustments to achieve the desired balance of flavours.
  5. Drizzle the no-carb lime vinaigrette over your papaya salad just before serving.

This light and zesty dressing will complement the natural sweetness of the papaya without adding any lots of carbs, making it an ideal choice for a healthy and flavorful salad. Enjoy!

No-Carb Honey-Lime Dressing


Here’s a no-carb dressing recipe specifically tailored for a sweet papaya salad:


  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar-free honey substitute (such as a monk fruit or stevia-based honey alternative)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. A pinch of salt


  1. Whisk together olive oil, fresh lime juice, sugar-free honey substitute, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
  2. Taste the dressing and adjust the sweetness or acidity, if necessary, based on your preference.
  3. Drizzle the no-carb honey-lime dressing over your sweet papaya salad just before serving.

This dressing adds a touch of sweetness without any added carbs, allowing you to enjoy the natural sugars of the sweet papaya while enhancing its flavour. Adjust the sweetness to your liking, and feel free to experiment with other sugar-free sweeteners for a personalized touch. Enjoy your delicious and guilt-free sweet papaya salad!

Papaya salads stand out as a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of cooks across Southeast Asia. Whether you prefer the bold and zesty notes of Thai Som Tum, the subtle elegance of Vietnamese Goi Du Du, or the sheer tropical bliss of a refreshing fruit salad, papaya invites you to savour its essence in every bite. These recipes offer exotic flavours and showcase the vibrant cultures cultivating these culinary gems. So, let your kitchen become a canvas, and let the symphony of papaya salad recipes elevate your dining experience to new heights. Embrace the culinary adventure, and may each bite be a celebration of flavour, culture, and the sheer joy of good food.

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