Green Papaya Salad

mains recipes Sep 12, 2022

Vietnamese and Thai cuisines are some of my personal favorites, and luckily we have so many wonderful options in Austin to choose from. Whenever we go out to eat and there is a green papaya (or green mango) salad as an appetizer option, there's absolutely no question that we're ordering it.

I love getting inspiration for recipes from dining experiences, so thus my Green Papaya Salad recipe was born. Truthfully, I expected recreating this to be MUCH more challenging that it actually turned out to be, and the result was just as satisfying as my restaurant favorite.

The key, of course, is to pick a papaya that's super unripe. You'll want to look for a papaya with smooth, uniformly vibrant green skin that doesn't "give" when you press on it.

Papaya is one of my favorite tropical fruits that's also super nutritious. It's loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, has anti-cancer properties and may even improve digestion and heart health while reducing inflammation. 

I often cut up papaya to enjoy in yogurt bowls, but it also adds great sweetness and texture to savory recipes like salads as well.

In this recipe, cutting your papaya is definitely the most time-consuming step, but I can promise you it's worth it! To save yourself additional time, I recommend buying bagged shredded carrots instead of doing that step yourself.

And don't forget the cilantro and peanuts - the best part, in my opinion. Cilantro is a must for freshness and flavor while the creaminess and crunch of the peanuts legit has me salivating just thinking about it.

Toss all of these together with the simple dressing, and that's it! This would make a great starter or side for your next home-cooked meal OR add some grilled shrimp, salmon, chicken or tofu to make it a heartier main course.

Let me know if you give this one a try!


 YIELDS 4 Servings 
  • 1 medium green (unripe) papaya
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 serrano chilis, finely minced (can omit or reduce if you don't like spice)
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts


  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled & finely minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • sesame seeds for serving


  1. To a large bowl, add all of your dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine and adjust to taste.
  2. Use a sharp knife or peeler to peel the skin from your papaya. Cut in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  3. Cut by hand into thin matchsticks or use a peeler to shred.
  4. Add papaya, carrots, cilantro, chilis and peanuts to your bowl, and toss to coat completely in the dressing.
  5. Mound on a plate, and top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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