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Som Tam

Wonderfully spicy and sweet som tam recipe when a plain green salad just won't do.

This salad has a wonderful balance of flavours. The overall taste is sweet, yet salty and spicy, which plays against the somewhat bitter green (unripe) papaya. It makes a great side to another Thai main dish, but I make this salad anytime I want something really flavourful.

The key to this salad is finding a very firm green papaya that has yet to ripen. So, test carefully before you buy.

This side salad can be turned into a main dish very easily (see tip below for some ideas on how to do so), and comes together relatively quickly.

It is completely vegan and gluten-free, and the other vegetables can be added, like bean sprouts, or beets (note: beets would change the colour of the dish dramatically).


TIP: To turn this salad into an entrée, add chopped cooked chicken, cooked shrimp, or seasoned tofu. Serve with a side of steamed rice, or sticky rice.



(Makes 8 servings)

  • 1 small green papaya, julienne with no seeds

  • 1 medium carrot, julienne

  • 8 to 10 green beans, roughly chopped

  • 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

  • 1 stalk green onion, julienne

  • 1 cup roasted peanuts, unsalted


  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 red chili pepper, stem and seeds removed

  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce (or coconut aminos)

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or light vegetable oil)

  • juice from 2 large limes

  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar (or brown sugar)



In a large salad bowl, combine the julienned green papaya, julienned carrot, chopped green beans, cherry tomatoes, and julienned green onion. All julienned ingredients should be no more than about 2-inches in length.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, red chili pepper, tamari sauce, avocado oil, lime juice and sugar. Blend until smooth.

Test the dressing for sweetness, saltiness, and heat. The dressing needs to be an equal balance of all three. Adjust sugar, soy sauce, or red chili pepper, as needed to achieve this balance.

Pour the dressing into the salad bowl with the julienned ingredients and toss. Add the peanuts and toss again. Serve and enjoy.


Nutritional Information Per Serving:

total calories = 204 | total fat = 12.85g | saturated fat = 1.99g | cholesterol = 0mg | sodium = 258.5mg | net carbohydrates = 15.87g | dietary fibre = 3.64g | sugars = 10.9g | protein = 5.83g

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