Papaya and avocado salad

    12 min

    This refreshing salad with a hint of spice will convert anyone wary of mixing fruit with raw vegetables. Starting with a base of crisp lettuce, slices of orange or yellow pepper are layered with avocado and papaya. Toasted pumpkin seeds add protein and crunch. Serve with mixed grain or pumpkin bread for a light lunch.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 1 romaine or cos lettuce heart, about 170 g (6 oz)
    • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 large orange or yellow pepper, quartered and seeded
    • 1 large avocado, about 200 g (7 oz)
    • 1 large papaya, about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz)
    • 6 tbsp pumpkin seeds
    • Spicy dressing
    • juice of ½ lime
    • 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • pinch of paprika
    • pinch of ground cumin
    • ½ tsp light soft brown sugar

    Prep:12min  ›  Ready in:12min 

    1. Shred the lettuce leaves and put them in a large shallow dish or 4 individual dishes. Sprinkle the spring onions over the lettuce.
    2. Cut the pepper quarters across into thin strips and arrange them in the dish. Halve, stone and peel the avocado, and cut into 5 mm (¼ in) slices across the width. Peel, halve and seed the papaya, and cut into 5 mm (¼ in) slices across the width. Scatter the avocado and papaya slices over the pepper strips.
    3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Heat a small heavy saucepan, add the pumpkin seeds and toss them in the pan to toast them lightly. Sprinkle the seeds over the salad and serve.

    Some more ideas

    For a fennel, orange and melon salad, thinly slice 1 small fennel bulb and mix with the segments from 2 oranges and ½ Galia or Ogen melon, cut into slivers. Arrange on a bed of rocket and scatter 8 halved black olives over the top. * For a mango and avocado salad with a chilli dressing, use mango instead of papaya, and a red pepper instead of orange or yellow; instead of paprika and cumin in the dressing, add a small fresh red or green chilli, seeded and finely chopped, and the grated zest of 1 lime. Top the salad with 100 g (3½ oz) toasted cashew nuts instead of pumpkin seeds.

    Plus points

    Peppers are well known to be a rich source of vitamin C, and serving them raw in a salad makes more of this vitamin available than if they were cooked. They also contain high levels of beta-carotene and other members of the carotene family, such as capsanthin and zeaxanthin. All of these work as antioxidants, helping to prevent cancers, heart disease, strokes and cataracts. * Papaya provides vitamin C and protective carotenes as well as calcium, iron and zinc. * Pumpkin seeds have a lot to offer: protein, fibre, unsaturated fat, vitamin E and some B vitamins, as well as iron for healthy blood, magnesium for maintaining healthy body cells and zinc for growth and development.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C. Good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E. Useful source of copper, iron, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2.

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