The Health Guru

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Nutrition Info: Green Papaya Salad

Posted on | September 29, 2010 | No Comments

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad

I was recently asked by one of my readers to suggest some ‘nice salads’.  I’m probably going to shock you with this statement – but I think the word ‘salad’ needs to be retired – and replaced with a new and more interesting word that doesn’t immediately make people think: “Gross, salads… lettuce, tomato and cucumber, no flavour, diet food, boring, not filling and get that green stuff off my plate” – Because I myself am not a huge fan of the boring old lettuce, tomato and cucumber combo!!

Newsflash:  ‘Salads’ (or that new word I’m going to invent) do not have to be boring or something you only eat when you’re on a diet (another word I hate)

One of the yummiest things I’ve re-discovered in recent months is the Green Papaya Salad.  Now for those of you not in Singapore able to dart over to Thailand easily to eat this authentically – I’ve included a healthy version of this recipe below for you to make at home –or- next time you’re at your local Thai restaurant instead of opting for creamy curries and coconut rice try this salad and I can almost guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed.

The combination of fresh herbs, spices, sauces, salty, sweet and crunch in this salad make it so fantastic and it’s also quite low calorie as well.  The benefits of eating a vegetable (or in this case fruit) based meal is that you can fill your stomach with fibre rich, low calorie contents enabling you to maintain your weight.

Here’s the recipe to try at home that serves 2 people:


  • 1 ½ tablespoons palm sugar (can be replace with ¾ teaspoon artificial sweetener if needed)
  • ¾ tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups of grated green papayas
  • 6 sliced green beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 chilli peppers
  • 5 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 8 cashew nuts

Directions to make:

1.  If you have a pestle and mortar use it to smash a clove of garlic first. Then add green beans and halved cherry tomatoes. Pound a few times just to bruise the beans and get the juice out of the tomatoes. Add chili peppers and crush them just enough to release the hotness.

2.  Mix on top of the grated green papaya with fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar.

3.  Make sure the papaya is coated well with the sauce and serve on a plate – add the cashews on top.

Note:   Use a large bowl instead of pestle and mortar.  You can also add some grated carrot for colour.

Most nutrition values will differ from place to place as each chef prepares with different quantities and portion sizes.  The biggest factor in this is the amount of palm sugar that is used in the sauce.  However, on a whole, this is a healthy meal to choose!

Green Papaya Salad Serving size:  189g

Energy:  156 Calories

Protein:  4.8 g

Carbs:  22.8 g

Fat: 6.6g

The larger amounts of carbohydrates come from the palm sugar and the fact that papaya is a fruit and contains sugar also.  In saying this – it’s a much better option than cream based or deep fried meals on offer!  This meal is low in fat and high in fibre – however I have mentioned that it’s higher in sugar than I’d normally recommend so if you make it home you can always adjust to lower.

So don’t be scared to try a ‘salad’ – they are not all gross.  Infact, you’d be surprised at the different tastes, flavours, combinations and variations of salads you can create using not only the traditional vegetables known to work well – but also fruit (papaya, orange, pear, pomelo, apple), pasta, root vegetables such as sweet potato and pumpkin, all meats, dairy such as feta or goats cheese and of course herbs and spices can take a salad from wow to WOW.

As usual, all of my normal eating rules apply:  Eat slowly, put your utensils down between bites and always stop eating when you feel 80% full because it’s better to waste it than to ‘waist’ it.  Happy Eating!!

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