Papaya Salad

A vegan version of a spicy Thai salad.

Papaya salad is traditionally known as Som Tam. The interesting flavour combination – sweet, sour, salty and hot – make it a tasty accompaniment to any grill or cold selection; or, with the addition of more seeds, it is a satisfying light meal in itself.

Green papaya is the usual choice for this dish; however, ripe orange papaya is delicious with the chilli. If the fruit is sweet, it may not require the addition of sugar (as suggested below).

I have made a few adaptations to the usual ingredients for this salad to make it suitable for most diets, including fodmap, gluten free and nut free.

That said, substituting the peanuts with sunflower seeds will significantly change the flavour of the salad, although the nutty flavour is retained to some degree by toasting the seeds. Alternatively sprinkle the salad withtoasted quinoa, a high protein grain that also provides a nutty flavour when toasted.

This recipe is just a guide in terms of quantities; so, feel free to change the proportions to your taste.

Diets for which Paypaya Salad is suitable:

Dairy Free, Diabetic, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free, Paleo, Raw, Vegan and Vegetarian.


Preparation: 15 mins | Cooking: 3 mins | Serves: 2 (as a light meal)

1 chilli
1 lime, juiced (approx 2tbsp)
1 tbsp tamari*
1 tsp sugar**
2 carrots, grated
150 gm green beans***
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 papaya, chopped
1/2 cup coriander, chopped
1 tbsp sunflower seeds****


POUND the chilli in a mortar with the lime juice.
ADD tamari and sugar and pour into a small jug or bowl.
TOAST the sunflower seeds at a medium temperature in a dry frying pan, tossing them regularly to ensure even colouration.
SLICE the beans into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths. (You can soften the beans further by steaming for 2 minutes.)
MIX carrot and beans and pound in the mortar to soften (but do not make them mushy).
ADD tomato and papaya.
MIX the fruit and vegetable ingredients in the mortar, pounding them lightly to further soften them further. (They should not fall apart but remain distinctive pieces of fruit and vegetable).
CHILL, adding the dressing and coriander before serving.
TOP with sunflower seeds.


– Salad or light meal to which more nuts or grilled tofu should be added.


* Substitute tamari (Gluten Free) with soya (not Gluten Free) or fish sauce (not Vegetarian or Vegan diets).
** Subsititute sugar with honey (not Vegan).
*** Beans must be uncooked for a Raw diet.
**** Substitute with peanuts (not Nut Free) for traditional flavour. Increase the quantity of nuts/seeds for a light meal.

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