Sweet and Savory Quinoa and Papaya Salad

Have you introduced any new foods into your life recently?

Maybe you’ve given fennel a try?

What about coconut flour?

Or, maybe you gave kale a run for it’s money green(y)? [haha worst joke ever. I swear I'm actually funny in real life]

While I was studying to become a Holistic Nutritionist, I took it upon myself to buy something new at the supermarket each week and try to cook with it.

Although there were many flops along the way, I was introduced to amazing ingredients like millet, medjool dates, and even avocado – if you can believe it!

I can honestly say it’s been awhile since I’ve tried a new ingredient, so when I saw this salad recipe made from blended papaya seeds, I knew I had to give it a try.

Did you know that papaya (seeds and all) contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins? It’s generally used in digestive enzymes along with bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple.

But what I didn’t know was that you could eat the seeds, and that these little black gelatinous balls have some pretty amazing health benefits to boot!

  • Papaya seed extract may protect the kidneys from toxin-induced kidney failure.
  • The have some powerful antibacterial properties that may be effective against staph, e. coli, and salmonella infections.
  • May effectively eradicate intestinal parasites. I bet you could take these while on a candida diet, then donate the fresh papaya to a friend.
  • In Chinese medicine, it is believed that a teaspoon of papaya seeds will help detoxify the liver.

Sweet and Savory Quinoa and Papaya Salad

Vegan [option], Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

This salad is so light and summery, right down to the chopped kiwis. I love preparing these types of grain based salads and using them as a mix-in with my daily greens. Just combine 1 serving of salad with 2 cups of greens and you have one mean meal. No extra dressing needed!

Lightly adapted from: The Healthy Foodie

Yield: 6 servings



  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups filtered water


  • 1/2 papaya, peeled, seeded and diced [reserve the seeds]
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


  • 1/4 cup papaya seeds
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon raw unpasteurized honey or agave nectar (vegan option)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon herbamare
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Place quinoa and water in small saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered while you work away at the rest of your salad. You can cook quinoa ahead of time if you’d rather use it cold.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare and mix all the ingredients of the salad in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a food processor or blender, purée all the dressing ingredients until smooth.
  4. Combine salad fixings with quinoa and pour dressing over top. Stir to combine.
  5. You can serve immediately or allow to chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Store the leftovers in an airtight container. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

In conclusion, this salad practically heals you for all that ails you.


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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Oooo I’ve never made anything using Papaya seeds (or even Papaya for that matter wholy jeez!). I’ve actually never even heard of a recipe using Papaya seed before! So this is clearly very exciting.

    I don’t know why but I’ve never thought of pairing tropical fruit with a simple grain dish like quinoa before. Thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to add some different fruits to my repertoire.

    xo Arielle

  2. Papaya in a salad…you are genius. It looks soooo good, Leanne!

    And yes, papaya is sooo healing. When I am on yoga retreats, they always encourage lots of papaya eating and in the Caribbean they eat it not only b/c it’s plentiful but b/c it’s also medicinal.

  3. Sweet and savory grain bowls are a favorite of mine! Come to think of it, I have tried lots of new items lately – I prepared bulgur (total sweet and savory bowl too!), used fennel in a tofu scramble, and fell in love with coconut flour. Papaya is next on my list! :)

  4. Wow, I can’t believe that I got to help you make a new food discovery! It’s usually the other way around… ;) Don’t you just love the peppery taste of those seeds? Who would’ve known, right?

    Glad you liked ‘em, Leanne, and thanks for the credit.

    One small tiny little detail, though… may I ask you to please link to me in your source (after “Lightly adapted from”) My name is there, but it’s not clickable :(


    • Oh my goodness, look at that. I forgot to link it! Thanks for catching that, Sonia. And thanks for the inspiration ;)

  5. The BEST part of blogging has been meeting fabulous people like you and trying new and delicious foods!! Before blogging I never had coconut flour, cacao nibs, maca powder… the list goes on and on. It’s like a gold mine reading blogs … super excited with each new discovery :)

    • That’s a great way of looking at it, too! I’ve tried different foods all different ways now that I’ve started blogging. I still have yet to try maca, maybe I’ll pick some up over the weekend.

  6. The salad sounds delicious! I always feel so bad putting all those papaya seeds in the garbage! Now that I know they won ‘t kill me, I’ll definitely give them a try =P

    I love trying new things that I find on my favorite blogs (yours especially). I am in LOVE with quinoa flakes since discovering them here. I have tried so many versions of those quinoa flake bakes in the past few weeks and they have all been fabulous (cherry and almond, prune and walnut, apricot, pistachio and cardamom, etc.).

    Two other ingredients I recently introduced to my diet are matcha powder (I make a matcha citrus smoothie for breakfast, yum) and aleppo pepper, a mildly spiced dried pepper from Turkey.

    Thanks again for being so inspiring!

    • Wow, the prune walnut quinoa flake bake sounds amazing! I’ll have to give that a try for tomorrows breakfast :)

  7. That’s so cool! I’ve never heard of eating papaya seeds before, but I always get a kick out of how round and black and slimy they are. This salad looks right up my alley!

  8. Wow, Leanne – this sounds/looks wonderful! I would have never thought to blend the seeds and add to a salad!

  9. i love your site- i feel healthier just reading it:-)
    also papaya seeds can be dried and put in a pepper mill and then added to anything you like. i actually mix it with my peppercorns to give my pepper a hidden nutritional punch.
    thanks for sharing all your knowledge!

  10. I’m SO glad I stumbled onto this blog. I love these recipes. I’m always looking out for really flavorful vegetarian/vegan and whole grain dishes. And I’m looking to incorporate more raw food dishes into my diet, as well, although I can’t go 100% raw and don’t really want to. Anyway, thanks for sharing all these wonderful recipes (and your humor) with us!

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