Vegan Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

Vegan Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

I love tangy/sweet taste of Thai Papaya salad. It's so refreshing and summer-y. And it's healthy (minus the brown sugar).


  • It costs $9 at Thai restaurants
  • Most restaurants use fish sauce and dried shrimp, which gives it a fishy flavor
  • Restaurants serve small portions of it

Well - good news. It's VERY easy to make and it's inexpensive. AND 1 papaya makes a shitton of salad, so you can eat to your heart's content.

Also, I got a veggie spiralizer. This is an item that I've been dreaming of owning. The reason I waited so long to purchase it was because I thought it was a gimmick. How well does it really work? Will I actually use it? 

It's amazing. It allows you to make a myriad of dishes: crispy sweet potato shoe strings, zucchini noodle ratatouille, zucchini shrimp scampi!  If you're considering getting one, I suggest sticking to the 3-blade. The fourth blade is not worth $15. Most importantly, it made this dish less of a pain in the butt. Anyways, I'll get off my soap box and teach you how to actually make this thing.


  • 1 Green Papaya - get this at an Asian grocery store
  • 2 tbsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 Limes - you may want more if you like your salad lime-y-er
  • Peanuts
  • Baby Heirloom Tomatoes (you can also use cherry or other tiny tomatoes)
  • Fresh Basil (a handful of leaves - might need more if you like things very basil-y)
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Dried Thai Chili Paste (regular red pepper flakes work)

Add Ons - These are other things you can put in your salad,

  • Dried Shrimp - if you're not vegetarian, it's quite tasty
  • Bean Sprouts - not my fave, but people like them
  • Fried Wonton Chips - not healthy, but add a nice crunch

FYI. When you buy your green papaya, you may get excited and start to eat it right away. You'll quickly notice that green papayas don't taste like Som Tam. In fact, they taste like nothing. 

If you like this recipe, you should check out these other recipes:



  1. Slice up your papaya. There's a few ways you can do this.
    a. Veggie Spiralizer (25 mintues)
    b. Cuisinart Chopper or equivalent machine (5 minutes)
    c. Chop into small cubes by hand. (effing forever & your hands hurt afterwards ~45 minutes)
    d. Use Julienne Peeler (Haven't done this, but I bet it takes FOREVER. Watch TV while you do this.)
  2. Veggie Prep: Slice basil into thin strips, halve baby heirlooms and mix into strips of papaya.
  3. Add red pepper flakes and peanuts to salad mixture.
  4. Thoroughly mix soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, minced garlic. 
  5. Before you add the dressing, taste it with a small sample of papaya salad. make sure you like it. See the modification suggestions below for adjustments.
  6. Add liquid dressing to vegetable medley and mix thoroughly.
  7. Add chili flakes and mix until it has reached your preferred level of spiciness.

Modify to Taste
If you want it sweeter, add brown sugar.
If you like it lime-y (more sour), add lime juice.
Add in chili flakes to increase spiciness.

Day 1: Flight / Aukland

Day 1: Flight / Aukland

Last Minute Gifts: DIY Fall Fig Basket

Last Minute Gifts: DIY Fall Fig Basket