Deliciously Refreshing Green Papaya Salad Recipe

Are you ready to take your taste buds on a journey to Southeast Asia? If so, then prepare yourself for a delicious and refreshing green papaya salad, also known as som tum. This iconic Thai dish is bursting with bold flavors and textures that will leave you feeling satisfied yet light as a feather.

Is green papaya something you have yet to try? Fear not, because this recipe will show you just how flavorful and versatile this unripe fruit can be. The juicy, crisp flesh of the green papaya becomes the perfect vessel for soaking up the tangy lime juice, savory soy sauce, and spicy chili pepper that make up the dressing in this salad.

But don’t worry if you’re not a fan of spice – the heat level can easily be adjusted to your liking. This salad can also be made vegan with a raw option, making it accessible to everyone regardless of dietary restrictions.

So why not take a trip to Thailand without ever leaving your kitchen? Grab your mortar and pestle (or food processor) and let’s get started on making this delicious green papaya salad (som tum) recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) (Vegan W/ Raw Option)
Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) (Vegan W/ Raw Option)

Are you in search of a salad recipe that is both delicious and healthy? Look no further than this Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) recipe. This vegan dish is packed with flavor and nutrients, making it a perfect choice for anyone who wants to indulge in delicious food without compromising their health.

One reason you will love this recipe is its use of fresh ingredients. The star of the show, green papaya, is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that are essential for maintaining a healthy body. Additionally, the cherry tomatoes, green beans, and chili pepper provide additional nutrients and a burst of flavor that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Moreover, this salad is incredibly versatile. If you’re not fond of peanuts or cashews or have allergies to them, they can easily be substituted for other nuts that you prefer. The same goes for chili peppers – you can adjust the level of spiciness to suit your taste.

Another reason to love this dish is its simplicity. With just a few basic steps and ingredients, you can whip up a flavorful salad that’s sure to impress your guests or satisfy your hunger pangs.

Lastly, this Green Papaya Salad recipe is also great if you’re conscious about your carbon footprint since it uses vegetarian and mostly raw ingredients. By making this salad at home, you’re not only doing yourself good but also contributing to a sustainable future for our planet.

Overall, there are many reasons why you’ll love this Green Papaya Salad recipe. It’s easy to make, bursting with flavors, and packed with nutrients – just what you need for a healthy and satisfying meal.

Ingredient List

“A burst of colors and flavors in every bite!”


  • 1 medium-sized green papaya (about 1 lb/455g)
  • 1 cup (150g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (150g) sliced fresh green beans
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1-5 Thai bird’s eye chili pepper(s), or more to taste
  • ½ cup (75g) coarsely ground or roughly chopped peanuts or raw cashews
  • A handful of fresh Thai basil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1-2 fresh limes
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar

Note: If you want an authentic taste of Thailand, use Thai Green Papaya, sometimes called “green mango.” It’s not a true mango, but rather an unripe papaya that is crisp and slightly sweet. It’s the perfect base for this salad. If you can’t find green papaya in your local grocery store, you may substitute green mango, carrot, cucumbers, or jicama.

The Recipe How-To

“Experience a taste of Thailand with this vegan twist on Som Tum”

Now, let’s move onto the fun part, preparing the Green Papaya Salad! Follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a delicious dish in no time.


  • 1 unripe green papaya, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cup of green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped peanuts or raw cashews
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-4 fresh chilies depending on your spice tolerance, use birds eye chilies for more heat
  • A handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
  • Salt to toss


  1. First, prepare the papaya by peeling it with a vegetable peeler. Use a spoon to scrape out any remaining seeds in the center. Shred the papaya using a grater or mandolin slicer.
  2. In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chilies together until they become a smooth paste.
  3. Add the peanuts or raw cashews to the mortar and pound them until they are slightly crushed.
  4. Add in the green beans, cherry tomatoes and pound lightly for about 20 seconds.
  5. Season with soy sauce or fish sauce (for non-vegan) (adjust according to taste) and lime juice.
  6. In a mixing bowl, put the shredded papaya, pour over this mixture from mortar & pestle then toss well (you can also mix everything using chopsticks). If you would like more heat or salt adjust seasoning here
  7. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with chopped Thai basil leaves.

That’s it! Your Green Papaya Salad is ready to be served. Remember, this salad is best enjoyed freshly prepared while still raw as over time it can become soft due to enzymatic activity in the fruit.

Substitutions and Variations

“Who says salads have to be boring?”

Now, let’s talk about some substitutions and variations that you can make to this delectable Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) recipe.

Firstly, if you are unable to find green papayas, you can substitute them with unripe papayas. The taste will not be affected and you will still be able to achieve the crunchy texture that green papaya provides.

Secondly, if you would like to add more protein to this salad, you can replace peanuts with raw cashews or any other nuts of your choice. Moreover, you can also add some tofu or tempeh for an additional dosage of protein.

Thirdly, if you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of chili pepper as per your liking. However, if you are feeling adventurous or want an extra kick, add more chili pepper to your liking.

Fourthly, if Thai basil is not available in your area or you don’t prefer its pungent taste and aroma, you can substitute it with regular basil leaves or cilantro. It will give the salad a slightly different taste but it will still be tasty.

Lastly, you can add different kinds of vegetables such as cucumbers or carrots, or fruits like green mangoes, to make a different variation depending on what produce is in season.

Remember that these are just some suggestions and the possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing this salad recipe to your preference. Don’t be afraid to play around with flavors and textures!

Serving and Pairing

“Fresh, crunchy and bursting with tangy goodness”

Once your green papaya salad is ready, you’ll want to indulge in it right away. But before you dig in, let’s talk about the best ways to serve and pair this dish.

First and foremost, this dish is best enjoyed fresh and cold. It’s perfect for a hot summer day, as the crunchy texture of green papaya and vegetables combined with the tangy flavors will leave you feeling refreshed and satisfied.

For additional crunch and flavor, add a sprinkle of crushed peanuts on top. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, add some raw cashews for a creamy, nutty taste.

To pair this dish, you can go for something light such as a white wine or a crisp beer. For a non-alcoholic option, try pairing it with Thai iced tea or lemonade.

Green papaya salad also makes an excellent side dish for a larger meal. Serve it alongside grilled tofu or vegan steak for a hearty and satisfying dinner.

In short, green papaya salad is versatile enough to be served as either a light snack or as part of a larger meal. So, whatever the occasion may be, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Elevate your salad game with this Green Papaya Salad”

You may be wondering if this Green Papaya Salad can be prepared ahead of time or if it’s possible to store and reheat it. The answer is: yes, you can! In fact, making this salad in advance could even enhance its flavor and texture.

To make this salad ahead of time, simply chop all the vegetables and store each ingredient separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. You can also mix the sauce ingredients together and store them in a separate container. When you’re ready to serve, toss everything together and add the peanuts or cashews at the last minute for maximum crunchiness.

When it comes to storing leftover salad, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to one day. However, due to the nature of raw vegetables and fruits, over time they will continue to soften and release water, making for a less crispy salad. Therefore it is best to consume within a day or two.

Reheating this salad is not recommended as it contains raw veggies and fruits which are best consumed fresh. However, you can freshen up your leftovers with fresh herbs like Thai basil or coriander which will bring back some flavor to the mix.

In conclusion, it’s fine to make this Green Papaya Salad ahead of time as long as you follow the recommended storage guidelines. By doing so, your salad will remain deliciously crunchy and flavorful when served.

Tips for Perfect Results

“Get your daily dose of veggies with a bit of zing”

It’s my pleasure to share my top tips for ensuring that your Green Papaya Salad turns out perfectly. This dish has a complex and bold flavor with a satisfying crunch, but also requires a bit of technique to get everything just right. So without further ado, let’s dive into some essential tips that will make your salad stand out.

First and foremost, it is crucial to use an unripe papaya—oftentimes labeled as a green papaya—rather than a ripe one. The unripe fruit is firmer and less sweet, which makes it perfect for shredding without turning mushy. You can usually find green papayas at Asian grocery stores.

Next up is seasoning. In Thai cooking, balance is key, so make sure you taste as you go and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Use soy sauce for saltiness, sugar for sweetness, lime juice for sourness, and chili peppers for heat. I highly recommend using fresh lime juice instead of bottled since it adds a bright pop of flavor that complements the other ingredients well.

Another tip is to shred the papaya and cut the vegetables into small bite-size pieces for consistent texture in each bite. And speaking of vegetables, feel free to add or subtract any veggies based on what you have on hand or what your taste buds like. However, I do suggest keeping some cherry tomatoes and green beans in the mix as they add color, crunch, and freshness.

When preparing the dressing, use a mortar and pestle to crush garlic and chili peppers thoroughly. This not only releases their flavor but also gives the dressing a nice texture. If you don’t have access to this equipment, finely mince the garlic and chili peppers instead.

Finally, make sure not to overdress the salad as too much liquid can turn everything soggy. You want enough dressing to coat all the ingredients evenly without drowning them. Toss everything gently with your hands instead of using utensils so that each piece can be coated properly.

With these tips in mind, you’re guaranteed to make a delicious Green Papaya Salad that’s full of contrast and complexity while being easy on the eyes too!


As you try making this delicious green papaya salad, you may have some questions pop up along the way. It’s completely natural to have some uncertainties about cooking and preparing a dish, especially if you’re encountering it for the first time. In this section, let’s go ahead and answer some frequently asked questions to put your mind at ease and ensure your success in creating a truly delightful som tum vegan w/ raw option.

Does green papaya need to be cooked?

Green papayas are versatile in their use and can be prepared in a variety of ways to suit your preference. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked, whether boiled, sauteed, baked, or fried. You can even puree it. Let’s explore some ways of using this wonderful fruit.

Is green papaya salad healthy for you?

One can’t deny the flavorful and healthy benefits of raw papaya salad, or its many aliases such as Thai papaya salad or green papaya salad. Its nutritional content is impressive, boasting a wealth of vitamins and minerals, such as fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

Is green papaya just unripe papaya?

In various Southeast Asian dishes such as Thai som tam and gaeng som soups, green papaya, also known as unripe papaya, is a popular ingredient due to its mild vegetal sweetness and crunchy texture, which is similar to chayote squash.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a zesty and refreshing salad to go with your meal, you should definitely give this Green Papaya Salad recipe (Som Tum) a try! It is a quick and easy recipe that is packed with flavour and nutrition. The combination of the papaya’s crunchiness with the tanginess of the lime juice and the spiciness of the chili pepper will simply tantalize your taste buds.

Moreover, this recipe can be easily customized to suit your dietary preferences. You can make it vegan by using soy sauce instead of fish sauce and omitting the peanuts or cashews, or you can add protein by including cooked shrimp or grilled chicken. You can also adjust the level of spiciness to your liking by reducing or increasing the amount of chili pepper used.

Lastly, this recipe is affordable, as it requires few ingredients that are readily available at grocery stores, and it doesn’t take long to make. Plus, it’s perfect for meal prep purposes as it keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days.

All things considered, Green Papaya Salad is not only delicious but also nutritionally beneficial due to its high vitamin C and fiber content. So why not try something new tonight and give this salad a place on your dinner table? Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) (Vegan W/ Raw Option)

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) (Vegan W/ Raw Option) Recipe

This is a very popular salad in Thailand. This is a vegetarian version and quite spicy. You can buy shredded green papaya but you can do this yourself as well. This is traditionally made with a large mortar and pestle but you can just use a strong spatula. Cook time is marinating time. Serve along with sticky rice. (Note: pregnant women should not eat green papaya or at least research & take caution!!!)
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Calories 187.6 kcal


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 6 long green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 -2 chili pepper
  • 2 cups papayas, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, toasted or 2 tablespoons raw cashews, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (shoyu)
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar or 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • Thai basil (garnish)


  • If using fresh papaya peel and deseed it (use the seeds for dressing!) and then shred or cut into matchsticks. You can use a grater, spiralizer, mandolin or by hand.
  • Mortar & pestle: Smash a clove of garlic first, add green beans & halved cherry tomatoes. Pound a few times to bruise the beans & get the juice out of the tomatoes. Add chili peppers & crush them to release the hotness. Add the green papaya, toasted peanuts, soy sauce, lime juice & sugar. Use the pestle to push the mixture up in the mortar and the spatula to push it down so that the mixture is mixed well.
  • No M&P: Crush garlic, tomatoes, green beans, and minced chili peppers in large bowl. Fold in papaya and peanuts. Mix soy sauce, lime juice and sugar in a small bowl and pour over salad mixing it in well.
  • Let flavors marinate for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve with sticky rice.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 319gCalories: 187.6kcalCarbohydrates: 35.2gProtein: 6.2gFat: 4.8gSaturated Fat: 0.7gSodium: 767.2mgFiber: 6.1gSugar: 22.1g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Asian, Beginner Cook, Easy, Free Of..., Fruit, Healthy, Inexpensive, Kosher, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, No-Cook, Papaya, Spicy, Thai, Tropical, Vegan, Vegetable
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