Green Papaya Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Green Papaya Salad with Grilled Shrimp

As a young child I was a very picky eater. For 10 years of my adult life, I was a vegetarian, and although adventurous in that genre, still pretty picky. In the last two years, I have embraced adventure in food and will try just about anything once. I've had deep fried sweetbreads, roasted bone marrow butter, interesting and unusual sushi, and oysters.

I also love trying new cuisines. The diversity of cuisine in a large city like Seattle is really fun. Indian, Ethiopian, Korean, Japanese, Peruvian, Thai, and this past weekend, Vietnamese. The International District in Seattle is a great place to try new foods and Ryan and I ventured to a great little Vietnamese restaurant tucked away in the corner of a parking lot on the east end of the neighborhood. We had cinnamon pork coated with puffed rice, lemongrass chicken, and the best dish of all, green papaya salad.

Sweet, spicy, tangy, and super fresh; I knew I had to make this at home. Green papaya isn't any different from a regular papaya, it's just very underripe. Instead of soft orange flesh and black seeds, it's bright white inside and has a texture similar to a cucumber. It's very fresh tasting, not very sweet at this point, but fresh and crisp. This salad would be great in the middle of summer with an ice cold tea. Check out your local Asian grocer for green papayas. If you don't readily have access to green papaya, check out this recipe for another Asian inspired salad.

Most of this recipe is prep. Shredding all of the vegetables takes time but is worth the effort for a salad that has uniformity for each of the ingredients. I used a julienne slicer but the large holes of a box grater would work as well.

Start with the quick pickled carrots and daikon radish. Grate or julienne 1 cup of carrots (two medium) and 1/2 cup of daikon radish.

Whisking the brine like a mad scientist doesn't make it taste any better, but it is fun!

Whisking the brine like a mad scientist doesn't make it taste any better, but it is fun!

In a liquid measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved and pour over the carrots and daikon. Refrigerate while preparing the remaining ingredients.

Prep remaining vegetables for the salad. Julienne 1 red or orange bell pepper, 1 english cucumber, 1 peeled jicama (a slightly sweet root vegetable with the texture of a raw potato) and the papaya.

Peel papaya, split in half, and scoop out the white seeds. Julienne or grate down to the center of the papaya. Combine all of the vegetable ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of chopped fresh basil.

For the dressing, combine the juice of 2 limes, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of chili paste, and a tablespoon of honey. Stir in 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and set dressing aside.

Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse in cold water and dry with clean paper towel. Drizzle with olive oil and toss shrimp with the juice of 1 lime and 1 teaspoon of chili paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Place shrimp on a hot grill (ours is indoors since we're in an apartment) and grill 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through.

To assemble salad, drain carrots and daikon and add to salad. Toss with prepared dressing and top each portion of salad with hot grilled shrimp. Top with crushed roasted peanuts. This salad is super fresh. The dressing is sweet from the honey, bright from the lime juice, and a little spicy from the chili paste. It is just delicious with the crisp vegetables.

One word of caution, green papaya does not keep long once it has been sliced, shredded, or julienned. It started to exude a starchy liquid that causes the unripe fruit to wilt. If you are planning to make this ahead of time, wait until just before serving before shredding the papaya and adding to the salad.


Green Papaya Salad with Grilled Shrimp

By , March 31, 2015
Prep time: 40 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Yield: 4 servings
Fresh underripe papaya creates a crunchy light base for a spicy and tangy dressing. green papaya, shrimp, salad, healthy


  • 1 medium sized green papaya
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • Daikon radish
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 small jicama
  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Juice of 3 limes, divided
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of chili paste, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 lb of peeled, deveined shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crushed peanuts (optional)


  1. Shred or julienne carrots and 1/2 cup of daikon radish
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, water, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt
  3. Pour brine over carrots and daikon and refrigerate while preparing remaining ingredients
  4. Seed and julienne bell pepper
  5. Peel and julienne or shred jicama
  6. Peel and seed green papaya and shred or julienne
  7. Shred or julienne cucumber
  8. Combine vegetables in a large bowl, mix in 1 cup of chopped fresh basil
  9. In a small bowl, combine the juice of 2 limes, 1 clove of minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of chili paste, honey, and cilantro; mix well and set aside
  10. Heat grill to medium high heat
  11. Peel and devien shrimp and rinse well
  12. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with the juice of the remaining lime and the remaining teaspoon of chili paste, season with salt and pepper
  13. Grill shrimp 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through
  14. To assemble salad, drain carrots and daikon radish and combine with remaining shredded vegetables, toss with prepared dressing and divide among plates, top with grilled shrimp and crushed peanuts if desired

Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!