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Shrimp taco with Papaya Salsa

Papaya Salsa

Papaya salsa is a vibrant and refreshing condiment or side dish that pairs well with grilled meats, seafood, or as a topping for tacos and salads. Today I use it as a main ingredient in Shrimp Tacos.

Shrimp taco with Papaya Salsa

What does papaya taste like?

Papaya has a unique and distinct flavor profile. Here’s a description of what papaya tastes like:

  1. Sweetness: Ripe papaya is known for its natural sweetness. It has a sugary, tropical sweetness that can range from mildly sweet to quite sweet, depending on its ripeness.
  2. Tropical and Fruity: Papaya has a quintessential tropical fruit flavor. It’s reminiscent of other tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and guava. The taste is often described as exotic and bright.
  3. Subtle Musky Notes: Some people detect subtle musky or melon-like notes in papaya, especially near the skin and seeds. This muskiness is more pronounced in some papaya varieties.
  4. Creamy and Smooth: The flesh of ripe papaya is soft, smooth, and buttery in texture. It practically melts in your mouth, contributing to its overall appeal.
  5. Mild Citrus and Floral Hints: There are faint hints of citrus and floral notes in papaya, giving it a slightly complex flavor profile. Some varieties may have more pronounced citrus undertones.
  6. Low Acidity: Papaya is generally low in acidity, which means it’s not as tangy or tart as some other fruits like citrus fruits.
  7. Nutty Aftertaste: In some cases, there can be a subtle nutty aftertaste in papaya, adding another layer of complexity to its flavor.

Overall, ripe papaya is celebrated for its tropical sweetness and smooth, creamy texture. It’s a fruit that’s often enjoyed fresh or used in various culinary applications, both savory and sweet. The taste can vary slightly between different papaya varieties, but the sweetness and tropical essence are consistent characteristics.

Shrimp taco with Papaya Salsa

What is papaya salsa made of?

Here’s a description of each ingredient used in the papaya salsa recipe:

  1. Ripe Papaya: Papaya is a tropical fruit with bright orange flesh that’s naturally sweet and slightly musky in flavor. It provides a sweet and refreshing base for the salsa. By the way, a medium-sized papaya contains more than 200% of the vitamin C you need per day, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  2. Cucumber: Cucumber is a crisp and mild-flavored vegetable with a refreshing quality. When peeled and diced, it adds a contrasting texture and a hint of coolness to the salsa.
  3. Red Onion: Red onion is a pungent and slightly sweet onion variety with vibrant purple-red skin. Finely chopped, it contributes a savory and slightly sharp flavor to the salsa.
  4. Cilantro: Cilantro is a fresh herb with bright green leaves and a citrusy, herbal aroma. Chopped cilantro adds a burst of herbal freshness and brightens the overall flavor of the salsa.
  5. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a versatile cooking oil known for its fruity and slightly peppery flavor. It serves as a base for the salsa dressing, enhancing its richness.
  6. Honey: Honey is a natural sweetener that balances the tangy and spicy elements in the salsa dressing. It adds a touch of sweetness without overpowering the other flavors.
  7. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice provides a zesty and tart component to the dressing. It offers a pleasant acidity that brightens the salsa’s taste.
  8. Chili Flakes: Chili flakes are dried and crushed red pepper pieces that add a spicy kick to the dressing. You can adjust the amount to achieve your preferred level of heat.
  9. Salt and Pepper: These basic seasonings are used to enhance the overall flavor of the salsa, balancing the sweetness and acidity of the other ingredients.

The combination of these ingredients creates a flavorful and well-balanced papaya salsa. It’s a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, tangy, and slightly spicy flavors, making it a versatile and refreshing condiment or side dish.

How do you make papaya salsa?

Begin by peeling the papaya, cutting it in half, and removing the seeds with a spoon. Proceed to dice the papaya into bite-sized pieces. Additionally, dice the cucumber and finely chop the red onion and cilantro.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, honey, lemon juice, chili flakes (adjust to your desired level of spiciness), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk these ingredients together to create the flavorful dressing.

Next, place the diced papaya, cucumber, chopped red onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the prepared dressing over the mixture.

Papaya Salsa

Gently toss all the components until they are thoroughly coated with the dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the papaya salsa for approximately 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Serve the chilled salsa as a delightful accompaniment to your preferred dishes. Enjoy!

Shrimp taco with Papaya Salsa

What to serve papaya salsa with?

Papaya salsa is a versatile condiment that pairs well with a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet. Here are some ideas for what to serve papaya salsa with:

  1. Seafood: It’s a great topping for grilled or pan-seared fish, shrimp, or scallops. The tropical flavors of papaya and seafood go hand in hand.
  2. Tacos: Add a spoonful of papaya salsa to your favorite tacos, whether they’re filled with grilled chicken, fish, shrimp, or vegetarian ingredients. It provides a burst of flavor and color. Here are some taco recipes:
  3. Rice Dishes: Serve it alongside rice dishes, such as coconut rice or fried rice, to introduce a fruity element.
  4. Sushi: Add a refreshing twist to sushi rolls or sashimi by serving papaya salsa on the side.
  5. Grilled or baked Vegetables: Drizzle papaya salsa over grilled or baked vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant to enhance their flavors. Serve it with this Baked Asparagus, as an example.
  6. Quesadillas: Spoon papaya salsa into quesadillas for a sweet and savory filling. Here are some ideas:
  7. Burgers: Use it as a unique topping for burgers, especially those with a tropical or Caribbean theme. Here are some burgers recipes:

Remember that papaya salsa is highly customizable, so you can adjust the spice level, sweetness, and other elements to suit your taste preferences and the dishes you’re serving. Its sweet and tangy profile adds a refreshing twist to many culinary creations.

Shrimp taco with Papaya Salsa

Papaya Salsa

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Refrigerating time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 2 servings


  • 1 cup ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ½ cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Peel the papaya, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then, dice the papaya flesh into bite-sized pieces. Dice the cucumber and chop the onion and cilantro.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, lemon juice, chili flakes (adjust to your preferred level of heat), and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the diced papaya, cucumber, chopped red onion, and cilantro. Drizzle the prepared dressing over the papaya mixture.
  • Gently toss all the ingredients together until they are well coated with the dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the papaya salsa for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Serve the salsa chilled as a flavorful accompaniment to your favorite dishes.
Keyword cilantro, cucumber, papaya, red onion, salsa

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