Papaya Chicken Salad

chicken pawpaw salad recipe healthy summer saladAs the summer days get hotter, the meals get lighter. This super healthy and fresh salad recipe is great for a quick dinner on hot summer evenings. There is nothing better than being able to sit outside to eat your dinner, with the setting sun spilling orange and pink into the still blue sky. Coming from Canada, where it’s rare to be warm and comfortable eating outside in the evening, I treasure these moments more than ever.

papaya sunset cape town

Another great thing about being in South Africa is the fresh, tropical produce available in every supermarket for next to nothing. Papaya, or pawpaw, is usually quite pricey in Vancouver (much like everything else), so I hardly ever eat it. But here, it’s widely available and cheap. The addition of papaya to this chicken salad not only brings splashes of bright colour to the dish, but loads of nutrients, fibre, and vitamin C. Papaya is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is also rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene, making it really good for your immune system and skin. Papaya has a butter-like texture and is deliciously sweet and soft, making it my new favourite summer fruit. I can’t get enough.

chicken pawpaw salad healthy salad recipe

Papaya Chicken Salad

Serves 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp coconut oil
salt & pepper
1 head lettuce, shredded
1 cucumber, diced
1 carrot, grated
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup fresh paw-paw (papaya), peeled and cut into cubes*
4 Tbsp cottage cheese
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

For the dressing:
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 red chili, diced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp basil, chopped

*Papaya seeds are edible and have a spicy, almost peppery flavour. You can either keep them and add them to the salad or discard.

Slice chicken breasts into strips and season with salt and pepper. Heat coconut oil in a pan and add the chicken. Cook over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Toss the lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and green onion together in a large bowl and then mix the dressing in.

To serve, top the salad with chicken strips, a spoonful of cottage cheese, diced pawpaw, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

chicken papaya sesame salad

 

 

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