Fresh Papaya Salsa

Ali Segersten Mar 26, 2010 15 comments

While we were in Hawaii we lived off of papayas. Papayas with lime for breakfast, papayas in green smoothies, and fresh papaya salsa. We packed rice, quinoa, and pink beans with us. I found it very easy to make a large pot of pink beans, cooked with cumin and onions, to have on hand for quick lunches and dinners.

The sublime flavor of ripe papayas was delicious. I took full advantage of their juiciness and made several large batches of salsa to put over our beans and rice or fish and rice. The salsa even doubled as a "salad dressing" when tossed with fresh greens.


The papaya photos you see here were not taken in Hawaii (except for the market shot above). The papayas I found here were not as ripe, dark, juicy, or as full of flavor compared to those in Hawaii (well, of course!). Still though, they made excellent salsa!


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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About the scoring of the papaya...I was just taught to do this by my Grandpa (I grew up on Oahu for half of my childhood). He used to say that you do it when the papaya is mostly yellow with a little green at the top. The green part is where most of the sap comes out and leaves the papaya with less of a bitter taste. If you buy papayas too green, they will start to lose moisture before ripening and never really get rid of the bitter/sappy taste even if you score them. Ideally you would buy a papaya that will ripen within 2-3 days and you score them right when you get them home from the store.

GMO info that I have enjoyed the most has come from Smith's "Genetic Roulette". I wrote a book review on this and was presented with some GMO handouts by the publisher. If you are interested in these, please e-mail me.
And yes...papayas are a crop with GMO varieties in the food supply, and there are indeed other GMO fruits and vegetables in the food supply. When in Wisconsin this last Summer, it was hard NOT to find a GMO variety of corn growing in the fields.


I haven't had papaya in a long while. This looks so delicious!

whoops ali...

I shouldnt have added the cheese for the brown rice tortilla meal- since you are aiming for dairy free too.. you could do without. Its still very delicious because of the salsa itself.


One of my favorite salsa prep is to do this... this is a weight watcher s recipe.. and its a real yummy.. very very easy..

one brown rice tortilla

put in a flat skillet..
put on top:

some fresh salsa
grated zucchini
spoonfuls of black beans

and some grated cheddar cheese on top.. let the whole thing warm up.. and then enjoy!

Laura ( from Massachusetts)

Beautiful photos, Ali! And, lovely, simple recipe ... something I've come to look forward to here. :-) I love the sweeter salsas. I just read a post/recipe on fruit salsa, which was a combination of fruits served with tortillas cut into strips and topped with cinnamon. I can't wait to try that one, too.


Until I get a food processor - not a lot of salsa being chopped up here!

I am curious though; I have read in recent years that papayas are a top GMO crop, but also read that no fruits or vegetables in our food supply are GMO as of yet (legumes and grains, yes). Can you shed some light on this? It is really hard to find solid GMO info online!

I made this last night and tossed it over spinach and red leaf lettuce. So so good. Thanks for the great recipes!

I was interested in what you said about scoring the unripe papayas. I buy papayas often here in California, but have noticed that when I buy them unripe, they are unpredictable in how they ripen. I have had many disappointing papayas... what does the scoring do for them? How many days will they keep on the counter after scoring them? Do they ripen faster that way? It seems to be a science choosing the right papaya, at least here!

OK. My salsa recipe is not all that unusual, but it is getting us through this winter!

Take Ali's Baked Pizza Sauce recipe, and add a couple of your favorite chili peppers--preroasted, skinned, seeded and chopped. We like to add a couple of Anaheims and a Serrano or two to a recipe worth. Or maybe a Poblano and a sweet red.

Bags and bags are rapidly disappearing from our freezer......

Thanks for the feedback. Yes peaches can replace papaya as well as mango. Thanks Jillian for the tip on thawing out frozen peaches.

Louise, we are well aware of the GMO seed contamination issue of papayas which is why we purchased organic (though Kauai has showed only traces of contamination). Even the papayas we bought here in Washington recently were Hawaiian organic (though not sure which island they came from). Thanks for sharing this info with everyone else reading. I should have mentioned it in my post. :)

Please be aware, all the papayas in Hawaii are genetically modified organisms--YEP--GMOs. Not great for human consumption.

Ali, by far my favorite recipe for salsa is the peach salsa in your cookbook. To the anonymous commenter: I've made your recipe using frozen peaches before. What I found to work best is to thaw the frozen slices on paper towels first before using in the recipe.

Congratulations to the cookbook winners! You will love it no doubt.

Many Blessings,

Thanks for your wonderful recipes. I am a mother of 4 and I don`t know where you find the time to write such a good blog. You are very generous to share your knowledge. Thank you for every words you write!

I have a few bags of whole foods peaches in my freezer. Do you think these would work in place of the papaya? I woould really like to try this. Also interested in your pink bean recipe. Thanks for your lovely blog!

Yum, that looks delicious!

I have never actually made my own salsa but I really want to give it a go. I love mango salsa!

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