Paleo Green Papaya Salad was inspired by the first big trip I ever took abroad.
The Inspiration for this Green Papaya Salad
I fell in love with Green Papaya Salad on my trip to Bali in 2011.
We took a side trip to Nusa Lembongan, a tiny island off the coast of Bali and spent a couple days snorkeling and enjoying maximum relaxation time. While there, we dined outside at a Thai restaurant and I had my first taste of this dish…flavors of savory, spicy, sour and a little sweet all duked it out on my tongue.
Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make Green Papaya Salad (or som tam as it’s called in Thai) myself and make it Paleo-friendly.
What are the Ingredients in Green Papaya Salad?
I’ll admit, this recipe may fit under the “special” category because you may have to do a little searching outside a conventional grocery store to find some of the ingredients, but any Asian food market should have these basic ingredients.
Our local health food market actually has everything you’d need except the fish sauce and dried shrimp! Green papaya are usually found at Asian food markets. They are different than the typical orange or yellow sweet papayas that are more common to find.
Most of the recipes I searched online use peanuts, bean sprouts and sugar to develop the complex flavor profile of som tam.
With a few swaps, I figured out a couple ingredients that did the trick. I substituted cucumber for the bean sprouts (similar in color and texture) and roasted unsalted cashews for the peanuts.
Green Papaya Salad
Green Papaya Salad will have all the flavors of savory, spicy, sour and a little sweet combined duking it out on your tongue.
- 1 medium green papaya about 4 cups shredded
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
- 3 green onions
- 12 green beans
- 1 or 2 Thai red chili peppers*
- 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves washed and packed
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp optional
- Cashews and cilantro for garnish
- Peel the papaya with a sharp knife. Julienne the flesh using a julienne peeler (as I did) or use a box grater to achieve a similar effect.
Prep the remaining veggies:
- Juice the limes and pour over the veggies. Hint: Roll your limes on the counter prior to squeezing to help release the juice.
- Add fish sauce, coconut aminos and (optional) a drizzle of honey.
- If you prefer, add the dried shrimp and then let sit for 30 min for all the flavors to meld. Garnish with chopped cashews and cilantro prior to serving. Serve straight up or as a delicious side dish to grilled chicken or fish.
- Enjoy the taste-circus that’s about to happen in your mouth!
I was thinking of buying a julienne peeler. (maybe it will save my poor knuckles from the box grater!). What kind did you buy?
Funny you should say that…I made a second batch of salad and used a box grater (scraped my knuckles). I got the peeler from Target…I actually don’t remember the brand but it came in a set of 3 with two other peelers. The julienne peeler is so worth it to me!
Looks really yummy.
I like to eat papaya salad, I like Thai Food.
Hi Steph, how many servings does this make? If I omit the green beans, will this be Whole30 approved?
Hi Donna…I’d say it will serve 4-6 as a side dish.
Green beans are okay to eat on Whole30! Here is the official answer straight from them: http://whole30.com/2013/06/the-official-can-i-have-guide-to-the-whole30/
I made this tonight for dinner, and it was excellent. Easy to make and it has great authentic flavor. A 5 star recipe!
Thanks so much Donna! I appreciate the share on Twitter, too 🙂
I’m in love with this salad, although I did make changes (don’t you hate it when someone gives a review of a recipe but changed it a bunch?!?). Anyhoo, my papaya wasn’t green, but slightly ripe. I didn’t julienne it but just sliced it. I didn’t add green beans, shrimp, or cashews. I couldn’t find Thai chili peppers, so I used Serrano. I don’t think my changes adversely affected the flavors, in fact, I rather liked the ripe papaya flavor. It contrasted to the dressing tang. I will try it with adding cashews one of these days. Don’t think I’ll add the green beans (unnecessary) or dry shrimp (don’t like).
Glad you found the ways to make it truly yours 🙂
this looks whole30 compliant to me if you use compliant fish sauce? am i missing something?
Yes, that’s correct. Red Boat is one brand that I really like.
is there a reason why this isn’t marked as W30? It looks like compliant ingredients to me.
It is provided you omit the honey and use a sugarless fish sauce.