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Papaya Arugula Salad with Papaya Seed Dressing

20 August 2014 Kokua Market email newsletter

Papaya seed dressing is a classic that I remember from the 70's and 80's. Feeling nostalgic, I looked up a recipe in an old community cookbook. It started with equal amounts of sugar and oil, enough to get me to put the cookbook back on the shelf. This lighter, lemon based version uses the fruit as well as the seeds of the papaya to help give it a sweetness and a creamy texture without all the sugar and oil of the original. 

A very easy version of this salad is to simply arrange a layer of fresh, clean arugula leaves on a platter, lay chunks or slices of papaya over it, and right before serving, drizzle fresh lemon juice and olive oil over it. This is a quick and easy salad that goes well with wine (salad dressings with vinegar can ruin the taste of a wine), so it's great for taking to parties and get-togethers. The soft, sweet papaya contrasts with the crisp, peppery arugula in a very refreshing way. Instead of arugula, you can use a salad mix or a crisp Asian green like mizuna or tatsoi. 

Papaya Seed Dressing

1 tablespoon papaya seeds (or more to taste)
1/4 cup papaya
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil or macadamia nut oil
pinch of salt
black pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth (the papaya seed flecks will still be uneven). Dip a leaf of arugula (or the greens you are using) in and taste. Adjust lemon juice and salt to taste. 

Papaya Arugula Salad
1 medium papaya
3 - 4 cups (loosely packed) of arugula

Peel, seed, and dice the papaya. If making papaya seed dressing, set aside 1/4 cup of the papaya and 1 Tbs of the seeds. 

Rinse and dry the arugula and arrange in a thin layer on a platter or shallow bowl. Scatter papaya pieces over the arugula evenly. Right before serving, drizzle with papaya seed dressing. 

Makes 2 - 3 servings as a side salad.

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