When you can’t decide between fresh rolls and papaya salad, make papaya salad rolls!
Remember a few weeks ago when I told you that I suck at wrapping fresh rolls?
I’ve been cheating by making collard wraps instead, but I finally decided that it was time to get over my fear and make some salad rolls.
I think we can all agree that I still have a long ways to go in perfecting my wrapping technique, but luckily these Papaya Salad Rolls taste awesome anyway.
I first had papaya salad when I was visiting Thailand back in 2011. Wow, I can’t believe that was actually 6 years ago now!
So much has happened since that trip.
I got married, bought a house, sold that house, and got divorced.
I lost a pregnancy, then rallied and planned myself a month-long trip through Portugal, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Hungary (I’m on that trip right now!).
Then, I made papaya salad rolls.
Ever since that first bite in Bangkok, I’ve been a lover of papaya salad. I order it almost every time we go out to Thai food, which usually means I then can’t finish my entree (helllooooo leftovers!).
The times I don’t order papaya salad, I order salad rolls. Sometimes I just want both. Now, all of my wildest dreams are coming true.
I think we can all agree that the best part of salad rolls in the dipping sauce.
These papaya salad rolls just wouldn’t be complete without this amazing peanut sauce!
Here’s the best part: all you have to do to make the sauce is stir some peanut butter into the leftover marinade from the papaya salad.
Finding an actual green papaya around here is mostly impossible.
This seems weird to me, because I feel like everything else I buy at the grocery store is under-ripe and I have to wait 5 days before using it. Papaya seems to be the exception to this rule.
While it might not be traditional, I think using slightly ripe papaya works just fine in this recipe.
Making papaya salad requires you to julienne the papaya. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is using one of these handy julienne peeler tools.
Use the peeler side to peel the papaya, then turn it over and julienne the flesh until you reach the inner seed cavity.
Once you have one of these tools you’ll find yourself using it all the time. It’s especially great for adding vegetables to salads — I’m not a big fan of big chunks of carrot in my salad, but I can easily eat a whole carrot if it’s julienned and thrown in there.
Papaya salad is typically pretty spicy, but if you’re not into heat you can leave out the bird’s eye chili. If you like, you can just stir some sriracha into the peanut sauce to give it a little kick.
Here’s Your Recipe!
When you can't decide between fresh rolls and papaya salad, make papaya salad rolls!
20 minPrep Time
20 minTotal Time
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 12-15 green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
- 2/3 cup julienned carrot (about one carrot)
- 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 cups julienned green papaya (about one small papaya)
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped peanuts
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
- 1 to 2 bird's eye chilies, sliced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce
- 2 to 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 4 rice spring roll wrappers
- Place the garlic and the green beans in a large zipper close bag. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Use a rolling pin or mallet to gently whack the green beans and garlic until the green beans are lightly bruised and the garlic is smashed into small pieces.
- Add the carrots, tomatoes papaya, peanuts, lime juice, brown sugar, chilies, and vegan fish sauce to the bag. Reseal and give everything a good toss. Massage with your hands for a few minutes, then transfer the contents of the bag to a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Press on the salad to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve the liquid for the sauce.
- Find a rimmed dish that is large enough to hold your rice paper. Fill it with an inch of room temperature water and set it on the counter. Place a damp tea towel next to this container. Working one rice paper at a time, submerge the rice paper into the water until pliable (mine took about 20 seconds). Do not over-soak. Transfer the soaked rice paper to the damp towel, laying it down in a flat circle.
- Place one quarter of the papaya salad on the rice paper, centered left-to-right, but three quarters of the way down from the top. Fold exposed bottom quarter of the paper up over the filling, then fold the entire roll over once. Fold in the left and right sides, then continue rolling until sealed.
- Repeat with the remaining three papers and the rest of the papaya salad.
- Transfer the reserved marinade to a serving bowl. Add two tablespoons of peanut butter and whisk until smooth. Add additional peanut butter if you prefer a thicker sauce (I used four tablespoons). Serve at once.
If you are sensitive to spice, you may leave out the sliced bird's eye chilies. Alternatively, you can add sriracha to the peanut sauce to give it a little kick. You can make your own vegan fish sauce, or substitute soy sauce if necessary.