Green Papaya Salad with Mint and Chile

The diversity and profusion of summer fruits make it hard to decide which kind of fruits to pick for this week’s theme dish at IHCC. A small but good problem to have. Having myriad of choices in the stores can be very exciting. An abundant supply in a competitive marketplace makes for friendly consumer prices for seasonal fruits. I’m taking full advantage of it by making a lot of fresh salads and smoothies while preserving what remains.

Berries, stone fruits, or tropical fruits? I chose green papaya because it is one fruit that I’ve not used in my cooking. I’ve wanted to make a green papaya salad for quite a while but have had a difficult time getting the right ingredient. I thought green means unripe papaya and found two kinds were available on the shelves. Can’t tell the difference since they both looked green outside. Unripe papaya has a greenish flesh whether they are the red- or yellow-flesh variety.

Green papaya can be cooked and added into stir fries, stews, or curries. It has a texture similar to that of squash. Although it can also be eaten fresh, green papaya does not have the sweetness and texture as ripened papaya, making it appropriate for savory applications.

Curtis Stone’s green papaya salad balances the fresh fruity flavor with the heat from the red chili, making it a very refreshing salad for the summer. The flavor and texture of green papaya is sweeter, softer, milder than that of cabbage. This salad has a similar feel and taste to the cabbage and kohlrabi salad. For a tropical fruit vibe, mango can be substituted for green papaya, although mango has a much sweeter taste. I also like the idea of adding some quick pickled onion, ginger, cucumber or sweet pepper. Some acidity would undoubtedly add another dimension to this salad. Instead of using cashew nuts called for in the recipe, I used pistachio and pistachio oil, which I happened to have some around, for its greenish tone, lighter flavor and a softer crunch. I think any nuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts or walnuts, would work just as well.

Key ingredients: green papaya, green onion, red chile, mint and pistachio



Some pickled onions round up the flavor of the salad



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  • Reply
    June 26, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    A very interesting and fun way to shake things up using fresh fruit! A very pretty salad, that is both savory and sweet, not to mention a little bit spicy. Lovely way to introduce yourself to a new fruit!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    I love green papaya salad, and make it often (as often as a green one gets knocked off one of my trees before ripening) as well as eating it in Thai restaurants. Any variety of papaya is called "green papaya" in its unripe state, and is used for cooking or the very refreshing salad in that case.

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    June 26, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    I love green papaya salad–so refreshing and flavorful, I am lazy 😉 so when I make it is usually when I hit the farmers market here and come across bags of already 'shredded' green papaya, although now that I have a better spiralizer, I need to try doing my own with it. I like your sub in of the pistachio nuts and oil to change it up a bit too.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2016 at 3:50 am

    You are absolutely right. I was a little confused when I saw two kinds of green-looking papaya in the store, one was labeled "green," the other was not. I guessed both varieties can be used for the salad. Thanks so much for clarifying that "green" is the state, not the difference in kind.

  • Reply
    Joyce Rachel Lee-Bates
    June 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    This salad reminds me of Thai green papaya salad called "song tum" that my bff loves to make as her mom is a Thai. I always enjoy a good bowl of spicy Thai green papaya salad. 😀

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    June 28, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    I love pickles and using it in salads, makes it all the more interesting! Green papaya salad is one of my favourites, though I usually eat it at Thai restaurants. Your salad looks very appetizing!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I haven't seen green papaya salads in Thai restaurant. I'll watch out for them just to compare the different versions.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I love green papaya salad but have never made it – time to change that I think. The pistachios and pistachio oil sound like delicious additions to this beautiful salad.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I wish I could get really fresh and tasty papayas.

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    July 4, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Thanks for sharing your yummy salad with Souper Sundays this week too! 😉

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