Vegan Grandma

Monday, December 04, 2006

Papaya and Vegetable Salsa

I love shopping at thrift shops for books. I often find recipe books that have only a few vegan recipes, or recipes I can make vegan But because the books cost very little at thrift shops I can buy them and get my money’s worth. Yesterday I bought, Lighter Quicker Better, by Richard Sax and Marie Simmons, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York. It is not a vegetarian cookbook (even recipes in the "Meatless Main Dishes" chapter use meat and chicken stock), but it has a lot of recipes that are vegan or can be adapted. I made the following salsa recipe, and I think it’s really good. I ate the salsa on a salad as a dressing, but it would be good with corn chips, in bean burritos, over baked potatoes, over rice, or in the recipe that comes after the salsa recipe (haystacks).

Papaya and Vegetable Salsa
Makes about 2 cups
From Lighter Quicker Better, by Richard Sax and Marie Simmons, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, page 19

1 large ripe papaya, halved, seeded, peeled, and finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped juicy ripe tomatoes, with juice, with or without seeds.

½ cup finely chopped seeded and peeled cucumber

1/4 cup finely chopped scallion

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro or parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno or other chili pepper, or to taste

salt to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the papaya, tomato, cucumber, scallion, lime juice, cilantro (or parsley), jalapeno, and a pinch of salt. Stir to blend. Let stand at room temperature until the mixture becomes juicy, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Some Tips on Making Salsa

Salsa is best after th flavors meld, so letting it stand for an hour or two at room temperature is a good idea. Do not let it stand for more than 3 hours, or the acidic ingredients will make the salsa mushy.

The finer the ingredients are chopped, the better the flavors will blend.

Use vine-ripened tomatoes when they are in season, and plum tomatoes when tomatoes are not in season. Plum tomatoes have more flavor and a denser than other out-of-season tomatoes.

Seeding the tomatoes will make less watery salsa.

Here is a good use for Salsa. I have no idea where I got this recipe, but it’s good.


Baked corn chips

canned vegetarian baked beans, heated

soy cheese, grated

leaf lettuce (romaine is good), torn into bite-sized pieces

Onions, chopped

green or red peppers, chopped

olives, chopped

tomatoes, chopped


soy cream cheese, optional

chives, chopped, optional

Put corn chips on a plate, (crushed, if you wish). Put the other ingredients in serving bowls. Guests can select what they wish to stack on their plate (salad bar style). This is great for picnics, parties, or fast meals.

About Papaya

The papaya is a melon like fruit with yellow-orange flesh enclosed in a thin skin that varies in color from green to orange to rose. The fruit can be shaped like a pear or oblong, and can weigh from ½ pound to 25 pounds. The yellow flesh is sweet and soft when ripe.

The large center cavity is filled with shiny, gray seeds. The peppery seeds are edible. They can be dried and ground and used like pepper.

There are two types of papayas, the Hawaiian and Mexican. The Hawaiian papayas are sweeter than the Mexican. The Hawaiian varieties also known as Solo papayas, are found most often in supermarkets. These fruits are pear shaped, weigh about a pound each, and have yellow skin when ripe. The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on the variety.

The Mexican varieties are not as common but can be found in Latino supermarkets. Mexican papayas are much larger then the Hawaiian types and can weigh up to 20 pounds and be more than 15 inches long. Although the flavor is less intense than the Hawaiian varieties, they are still delicious and enjoyable.

Papayas are a rich source of vitamin A and C. One half of a small papaya can provide 150% of the recommended dietary intake of Vitamin C. It is low in calories, fat free, cholesterol free, and a good source of potassium, folate, and fiber

Papaya can be found all year long with the peak season being early summer and fall. Most of the papayas come from Hawaii, but smaller quantities from Florida, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Central and South American countries are becoming more available.

Look for papayas that are partly or completely yellow in color, depending on variety, that give slightly to pressure, but are not soft at the stem-end. Avoid papayas that are bruised, shriveled, or have soft areas. Papayas that are hard and green are immature and will not ripen properly.
Uncut papayas have no smell. Papayas that are cut should smell sweet, not bad or fermented. Papayas with a spotty coloring usually have more flavor.

Slightly green papayas will ripen quickly at room temperature, especially if placed in a paper bag. As the papaya ripens, it will turn from green to yellow.
Place ripe papayas in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Papayas will keep for up to a week, but it's best to use them within a day or two.

To prepare papayas, cut the fruit in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon or peel off the skin.

Use papayas to make a hot and spicy salsa.

Blend papaya with soy milk, soy yogurt, or orange juice for a breakfast smoothie.

Add papaya slices to honeydew, melon, and strawberries to make a colorful fruit cup or salad.

Papaya is a popular breakfast fruit in many countries.

Papaya is also used in salads, pies, sherbets, juices, and confections. The unripe fruit can be cooked like squash.

The unripe fruit contains a milky juice in which is present a protein-digesting enzyme known as papain,. This juice is used in the preparation of various remedies for indigestion and in the manufacture of meat tenderizers.

Papayas are usually grown from seed. Their development is rapid, fruit being produced before the end of the first year. Under favorable conditions, a plant may live five years or more.
Information Sources:

Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks, by David Joachim, published by Rodale

Grandmother’s Food Secrets, by Myles H. Bader, published by Mylette Enterprises, L.L.C., Las Vegas, NV 89102


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