Vegan Papaya Salad

Now, instead of pizza, we have Pad Thai and papaya. Okay, this isn’t so bad. The bad part is that we have it delivered to our home while wearing stretchy pants. The worst part? It’s on every Sunday.

Green Papaya Salad: Origins

The green papaya dish, or som-tum, is popular in Thailand. It is believed that it originated from a similar Laotian dish called tam maak-hung. Green papaya salad is also popular in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

This recipe was inspired by the Thai version but made using plant-based ingredients that were readily available. Hot Thai Kitchen has a traditional recipe for Som Tum.

How to make vegan papaya salad

I’ve eaten papaya so many times that I wanted to learn how to make it myself.

Before anyone yells in the comments, “Papaya Salad is made with green papaya!” Not pink papaya” is what I say.

“I know! Guess what, I tried. I could not find a green underripe papaya. You can still get the same result if you use the greenest papaya possible.

In an ideal scenario, you’d walk into a shop that sold green papayas that were underripe. It doesn’t happen all the time. The good news is that I made it with a barely ripe papaya, and it still tasted ridiculously delicious. I mean, ridiculously.

The recipe can be prepared in only 30 Minutes! It’s simple!



  • One small green papaya*
  • Peel three large carrots
  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage
  • Two medium plum tomato halves (cut into bite-size pieces).
  • Two leaves of romaine lettuce ( optional – finely chopped for garnish/serving).


  • Two cloves of garlic (peeled, chopped)
  • Add more peanuts to your serving if you like.
  • Two medium dried or fresh bird’s-eye chilies (or one serrano pepper, amount as written in the original recipe) // thinly cut // reduce heat for less heat).
  • One heaping Tbsp of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 14 cup lime juice
  • I LOVE the recipe by Vegan Miam. 3-4 Tbsp Vegan fish sauce


  • Prepare vegan fish sauce (see link above) and set aside.
  • Notes on how to find a green Papaya. (Mine wasn’t green, but it worked!) Next, prepare the vegetables.
  • After peeling your carrots, you can cut them in half crosswise. Then, you can cut the pieces in half, lengthwise. Use a Mandolin* fitted with a fine-toothed blade (or Julienne Peeler) to shred the carrots (see photo). Continue shredding carrots until they are all shredded. Add the carrots to a bowl.
  • To prepare papayas, use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin. Then, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.
  • Use a mandoline to cut into small strips. Add to mixing dish.
  • Chop tomatoes and cabbage and add them to the mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Add the garlic, peanuts, and chilies to a small food processor or mortar and pulse or mash until you have a fine paste.
  • Add vegan fish sauce and lime juice to the small bowl. Mix well, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  • Toss vegetables with sauce and combine. Serve by laying romaine lettuce (optional) on a serving dish and topping with papaya. Add crushed peanuts, lime wedges, and additional crushed nuts to the salad.
  • The best way to enjoy papaya is fresh. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. The papaya salad is a great side dish for a spring roll or Pad Thai.

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