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Mock Green Papaya Salad


As you may have noticed, I love blogging. When something prevents me from engaging in my (almost) daily trio of cooking, eating, and writing about it, I feel a bit deprived. The strangest triggers will spark a barrage of blogging ideas, and then I’m off. 

One of the greatest side effects of blogging is that it encourages you to try new recipes. After all, how can you blog about a novel, interesting dish every few days if you eat the selfsame foods day after day?

Still, there’s a certain built-in sense of loss in this pattern.  Often, I’ll find a recipe that’s simply spectacular, and the HH and I will devour it with great gusto and appreciation.  Then I’ll be struck with a sense of melancholy at the knowledge that I’ll likely never cook that dish again, because I must move on to the next one on my ever-expanding list.  It’s somewhat akin to taking a long, boring flight on a business trip and experiencing the serendipitous joy of encountering a soul-mate as a seat-mate; you chat for a while, a connection is made, you open up about your work, you drink three or six of those itty bitty booze bottles of vodka, you spill all about your most intimate relationships. . . and then, as the plane lands, you exchange contact information and bid each other goodbye, knowing full well you’ll never share time wtih that particular individual ever again. 

Well, eating this salad was sort of like that. Except minus the alcohol.

Ever since I received my March issue of Vegetarian Times in the mail, I found myself repeatedly eyeing the page with this brilliantly-colored, fresh-faced salad on it. It doesn’t hurt that Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, and that I’ve had green papaya salad many a time (and love it).  The magazine presented a vegan version, and one that’s ready in a snap (in fact, I almost offered this as a Flash in the Pan recipe, but it’s just a hair’s breadth too complicated)–well, how could I resist?  I had to have it.  And so, my friends, I did.  And I can only say–hurray!  Spring is finally here! 

The visual mimicry of green papaya using fresh Granny Smith apples is a touch of brilliance in this salad.  And while the apples don’t really taste like papaya–a little too crisp, a little too sweet–they stand on their own as a tangy, fresh first course that’s hard to resist.  I made a half recipe (which was supposed to feed four), and the HH and I polished this off between the two of us, even before the main course. 

I’ve decided to submit this entry to the new blog event, Bookmarked Recipes, which asks that you prepare and then blog about a recipe you’ve saved from another blog, a book, or a magazine.  It’s hosted by Ruth over at Kitchen Experiments. Check for a roundup every Monday. 

Mock Green Papaya Salad

from Vegetarian Times, March 2008


This salad comes together incredibly quickly, and makes a fabulous first course that would complement almost any meal.  If you prefer, just make this the meal on its own!

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated (6 cups)

[NOTE: I didn’t peel the apples; the skin provides both color and fiber, so why get rid of it?  I also used a food processor with a “medium” blade to grate the fruit, but of course a regular grater or mandoline would do nicely.  If you use a box grater, peeling first may be the easier option]

1/4 cup (60 ml.)  plus 2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) freshly squeezed lime juice, divided

1 bunch (about 5) green onions, trimmed and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp. or 10 ml.)

2 tsp. (10 ml.) soy sauce [I used tamari]

1 tsp. (5 ml.) chili paste, such as sambal oelek

1 cup (250 ml.) cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

about 6 cups (1500 ml.) watercress or arugula [I used organic baby salad greens]

Toss the grated apple with 2 Tbsp. lime juice in a large bowl to keep from browning.  Stir in green onions.

Whisk together remaining lime juice, garlic, soy sauce, and chili paste in a small bowl.  Pour over the grated apples and toss to combine.  Stir in cherry tomatoes and serve over greens.  Makes 8 servings.  [May be halved.]

Nutritional info (courtesy of the magazine): Per serving: 61 calories; 1 g. protein; less than 1 g. total fat (yippee!) and 0 g. saturated fat; 16 g. carbs; 0 mg. cholesterol; 64 mg. sodium; 2 g. fiber; 11 g. sugars. 



17 comments to Mock Green Papaya Salad

  • Love the look of this salad – I remember people raving to me about this salad and I just didn’t get it but I think I would much prefer apple which is also very cheap right now

    Love the sound of the new blog event – will have to check it out. And I share that sadness of knowing I am unlikely to repeat recipes – although I live in hope!


  • After all, how can you blog about a novel, interesting dish every few days if you eat the selfsame foods day after day?

    I could not agree more. Blogging really does force you to diversify and be creative it’s why I love it so much!


  • I too love blogging, and love discovering new recipes from the internet/fellow bloggers/etc. – so glad that you too enjoy this!! :0)

    Yet another great blogging event taking place – I love your entry!


  • Delicious!! Looks like it would go with so many things! And yes, so true–we have to keep on trying new things. It’s a nice motivation, isn’t it? I feel like I have learned *not to mention tasted* so much!


  • It looks wonderful – so pretty too. I’m gonna check out that blogging event you mentioned.


  • I’ve always wanted to make my own “green papaya” salad.
    But I’ve never come across the right type of papaya at the my WF.
    I can’t wait to try this recipe.
    All ingredients are so easy to obtain.


  • fabulous. I’m watching tony bourdain and stuffing my face with thai salad. <3


  • A very refreshing salad for summer. I know exactly what you mean about food and blogging. It’s a perfect way to introduce variety into your diet and I find it inspires me to try recipes I probably would not have made otherwise. But yes, the downside is some fantastic recipes are made less frequently if the goal is to post virtually everyday. Thankfully, there is no shortage of good recipes to try 🙂


  • And so much easier to find than Green Papaya.

    Actually, I don’t mind that I never cook the same thing twice…kinda like it actually.

    Must see if I can find a copy of Veg Times.


  • Johanna,
    I think I do actually prefer the apple–great crunch and juiciness. You should definitely check out the blog event–they are always fun.

    Yes, new recipes, new foods, creativity–all good blog effects! And, of course, reading others’ blogs, and receiving comments!! (thanks!) 🙂

    Thanks! Another thing I like about blogging is “meeting” like-minded bloggers as well. 🙂

    It’s true, I’d never have tried out many of these recipes otherwise. And I keep finding more inspiration in other blogs, so the cycle continues. . . 😉 !

    Thanks! It tasted really fresh and crisp. And wouldn’t it be great if we all took part in the event and made each other’s recipes??

    One of the reasons I chose this recipe was precisely because I had all the ingredients, they’re easy to get, and it was simple–definitely worth it!

    Thanks for your comment, and for visiting the blog! And I love the irony (even more so since it was T.B.!).

    Yes, variety and new recipes is a benefit I hadn’t really thought about before I started blogging. As to daily posts, well, it’s not that I make it my goal to post every day–it just seems to work out that way a lot of the time!

    Yep, easier is usually better in my kitchen. I love the variety and novelty of making new things. . .but I would also still enjoy revisiting some of my favorites!


  • That salad looks beautiful! I’ve been wanting to try papaya (for my weekly challenge). You’re an expert chef– do you think the recipe would yield good results with real papaya?


  • Oh this looks just so springy-pretty! What a beautiful salad, highlighted by a beautiful photo to boot!


  • CCV,
    Don’t take my word for it (“expert”??), but I’d think only green papaya would work well here–and I’ve always had trouble finding it. But do try a regular, ripe papaya anyway–they are yummy!

    It did make me think of spring–yippee! Thanks so much.

    Thanks for your comment, and for visiting! Glad you like the look of it (and it tasted pretty good, too).


  • Thanks so much for your response. I’m going to Whole Foods this weekend; hopefully (*crosses fingers*) I’ll be able to find a green papaya. If not, maybe I’ll just have to make those apple-quinoa muffins of yours that have been on my to-try list for some time now.

    Yes you ARE an expert ;o).


  • Darn, I was *so* hoping you would quote the erudite Paris Hilton in your comment to me.


  • giz

    Great looking salad. Salads are my weakness and I’m always on the lookout for something new and interesting. Thanks for this


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