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Papaya is a health and beauty treatment in every bite. Besides its deliciously sweet and juicy flavor, the papaya contains enzymes that help heal minor skin burns, prevent nausea and motion sickness, and boost metabolism. In addition, this fruit is a good source of fiber and contains vitamins A, C, and E, the antioxidant trio. Papaya seeds are the bonus that most people overlook. Don't toss those papaya seeds into the trash! They're entirely edible, though a little peppery, and contribute a touch of spice to the delicious salad dressing below.
Two main varieties of papaya come to our U.S. markets: Hawaiian papayas and Mexican papayas. Both are healthful and both contain seeds to prepare the dressing below. Since Mexican papayas are considerably larger than the Hawaiian variety, use only one-fourth to one-third of a papaya.
PAPAYA SALAD WITH PAPAYA SEED DRESSING
Yield: 6 servings
1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups (480 ml) shredded purple cabbage
1 Hawaiian papaya
- Place the lettuce, cucumber, bell pepper, and purple cabbage in a large salad bowl and toss well.
- Peel the papaya with a sharp paring knife. Cut it in half lengthwise and carefully scrape the seeds into a bowl. Cut the papaya into bite-size chunks or 2-inch (5 cm) long strips if preferred. Arrange the papaya over the salad and serve with Papaya Seed Dressing.
Papaya Seed Dressing
Yield: 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh papaya seeds
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons organic sugar
1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon red or dark miso
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
- Scrape the seeds from one papaya into a small covered container and remove the amount needed for the dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 5 days to use for another batch of dressing.
- Place the papaya seeds into the blender and add the remaining ingredients. Start the blender on a lower speed for a few seconds, then, switch to high speed. Process until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the dressing is lightly thickened.
- Use a funnel to pour the dressing into a narrow-neck bottle for easy serving. Shake well before using, and store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Note: If you're not ready for a second batch of dressing right away, place the leftover seeds into a small covered container or plastic bag and freeze for up to 6 months.
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