Green papaya ribbons tossed with a bright Asian-inspired herb, lime, and lemongrass dressing make a unique and healthy vegetarian meal.
I’ve been dreaming of making a green papaya salad for a while now… I just don’t see them (the unripe not-sweet green kind) around too often.
A few weekends ago Jack and I ventured out to the MT Supermarket, a ridiculously huge asian market that we’d somehow never been to. If you live here in Austin, have you been there? The only way I can describe it is that it’s maybe the Asian grocery equivalent to IKEA. Super overwhelming… fun but probably only because it was our first time… and make sure you are highly caffeinated before you go.
Among other treasures, I came home with a green papaya.
Using a julienne peeler, (I know another gadget – sorry!), I sliced thin uniform strips of papaya and tossed them with some chopped veggies and a light dressing made up of scallions, herbs, lemongrass, a big splash of coconut milk, and a few squeezes of lime.
If you’re serving this as a side dish, feel free to stop there. Since this was our dinner on this particular night, I made it a more complete and filling meal by tossing some shrimp on top… some baked or grilled tofu would also be delicious.
*I used a julienne peeler to make these nice even papaya strips. (I also tried using the zucchini noodle maker). The julienne peeler took me a few frustrating minutes to get the hang of… after that it was pretty easy. It would have been more painstaking to slice them with a knife and they wouldn’t be as noodle-like. Having nice thin, even strips is kind of key here.
Green Papaya Salad
- 1 scallion, green and white parts
- Splash sesame oil (1-2 teaspoons)
- A few inches of lemongrass, coarsely chopped (the food processor will do the rest)*
- ½ cup cilantro
- ¼ cup basil or mint
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Splash soy sauce
- ¼ cup coconut milk, light or full fat
- Splash agave syrup or a pinch of sugar
- Sriracha, to taste
- Zest & juice of 1 lime (1-2 tablespoons of lime juice)
- 1 green papaya, julienned (about 3 cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 scallion, chopped
- Extra scattered herbs that you might have left over from the dressing
- Chopped, roasted peanuts, for garnish
- Protein of your choice (optional)
- Make the dressing: Pulse the scallion, sesame oil, lemongrass, cilantro, basil, garlic, soy sauce, coconut milk, agave, sriracha, and lime juice and zest in a food processor until combined but not pureed, so you can see course flecks of herbs. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Assemble the salad with the papaya, bell pepper, and scallion and toss with as much or as little dressing as you like. Top with a protein, if using, and garnish with the chopped herbs and peanuts.