Plant-Based Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)
SPICY, TANGY, REFRESHING—THIS SALAD HITS ALL THE NOTES THIS SUMMER
Som Tum, also known as Green Papaya Salad, is a staple of Thai cuisine. “Tum” refers to the clattering sound of the pestle as it grinds the ingredients together, while “som” means “sour”—and the tangy, spicy flavor profile in this bright green dish is unmatched. The spice comes from the hot chiles, garlic, and tamari with a cooling respite in the form of water-rich radish, cucumber, and shredded carrots. Choose green unripe papaya to benefit from its nutritional power. Papaya contains prebiotic fiber; this feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, the critical ecosystem for full-body health. The prebiotic fiber in papaya specifically includes inulin, a class of polysaccharides that balance immunity and has even been researched to combat carcinogens.
Sakara Wellness Coach and avid plant home cook, Sasha Pagni was inspired by LA Thai spot Night + Market Song, where chef and owner Kris Yenbamroong’s recipe is already incredible and available in his cookbook. Sasha paid homage but took a couple of liberties to make it 100 percent plant-based. “This recipe mirrors my LA neighborhood favorite, but I switched up the sauce to be vegan-friendly without compromising on flavor. I omitted the fish sauce, and instead added Dark Horse’s Umami Powder which contains the medicinal mushroom, shiitake, and kombu,” she says. Add in lycopene-rich tomatoes, avocado with inflammation-taming omega-3, and bright verdant green beans. This dish stands strong alone, paired with rice, or tossed in a bowl of Pad Thai.
- 5 tablespoons tamari
- 1 teaspoon of chickpea miso
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 2 teaspoons culinary mushroom powder
- 5 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 bird's eye chilies (or one jalapeño if you would prefer a less spicy version)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- 1/2 cup shredded cucumber
- ½ of one watermelon radish, sliced
- 3 cups shredded green (unripe) papaya
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 avocado cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup of nuts or seeds of choice (suggested: a mixture of peanuts + sesame seeds)
- In a pot over low heat, combine tamari, chickpea miso, salt, mushroom powder, and coconut sugar until the sugar is melted.
- In a blender, combine the sauce, lime juice, garlic, and chilies/peppers until the garlic and chili are combined.
- In a mixing bowl, combine papaya, carrots, cucumber, and dressing. Stir the ingredients together and use your hands to squeeze the mixture together. Once well combined, add in chopped avocado, peanuts, and seeds.
- Eat this by itself as the most refreshing mid-summer salad or mix it with rice for a satisfying meal.
More Plant-Based Magic from Sasha