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This creamy, tangy Papaya Seed Dressing is made with peppery ground papaya seeds and is wonderful drizzled over a simple salad of mixed greens or butter lettuce, sliced avocado, papaya, and red onion.

An image of a glass jar with homemade papaya seed dressing and sliced papayas beside it.

When we were visiting Kauai this past spring, I noticed this papaya seed dressing at the luau we attended and was intrigued. I’ve never been a big fan of papaya, but I’m always willing to try new things, so I gave it a shot.

It was delicious and not at all what I was expecting it to be like. Turns out, papaya seeds have a strong, almost black peppercorn and mustard flavor to them, and they make a fantastic salad dressing.

So when we came home, I decided to make it for my American Eats series representing Hawaii since most of the papaya in the U.S. comes from Hawaii and this dressing is from the islands, as far as I can tell. 

Plus, it’s a great salad for early summer and fall when papayas are in season, although you can pretty much obtain ripe papayas year round. With the warm weather we have been having, salads sound so good and refreshing. This is a great one with a zing from the sweet-tart papaya seed dressing. It even makes me like papaya, which I’ve never really enjoyed before.

An image of a salad with fresh papaya, red onion, avocado, and mixed greens, drizzled with Hawaiian papaya seed dressing. An image of a jar of Hawaiian Papaya Seed Dressing made from scratch.

I like making small batches of salad dressing like this so that I have more variety for my salads, rather than filling up my fridge with bottled salad dressings.

  An image of a salad of mixed greens, fresh papaya, sliced avocado, and red onion, dressed with a homemade papaya seed vinaigrette. 

How to Prepare Papaya

If you, like me, haven’t had much experience with papaya before, you prepare it just like you would a cantaloupe. 

Slice the whole thing in half lengthwise, then clean out the seeds with a spoon. Typically I would just toss them in the trash just like with canteloupe seeds, but now that I know better, I remove and reserve the seeds for this papaya seed salad dressing. 

Then you just use a sharp knife to remove the flesh of the fruit from the thick skin and slice it or chop it for serving.

Ingredients in Homemade Papaya Seed Dressing

  • rice vinegar
  • canola oil
  • sweet onion
  • honey
  • salt
  • dry mustard
  • fresh papaya seeds

How to Make Papaya Seed Dressing

  1. Blend the vinegar, oil, chopped onion, sugar, salt, and mustard until smooth in a blender, then a the papaya seeds and pulse until they look like coarsely ground peppercorns.
  2. In a large bowl or on individual serving plates, combine the salad greens of your choice with thinly sliced red onions, avocado, and papaya. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss gently to coat. 

An image of papaya seed dressing being poured over a salad. An image of a salad dressing with Hawaiian papaya seed dressing.

More Homemade Salad Dressings

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Papaya Seed Dressing
Yield: 8 servings

Papaya Seed Dressing

This creamy, tangy Papaya Seed Dressing is made with peppery ground papaya seeds and is wonderful drizzled over a simple salad of mixed greens or butter lettuce, sliced avocado, papaya, and red onion.  

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh papaya seeds

Salad

  • Mixed greens or washed and torn butter lettuce
  • Sliced papaya
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced avocado

Instructions

  1. Blend the vinegar, oil, chopped onion, sugar, salt, and mustard until smooth in a blender, then a the papaya seeds and pulse until they look like coarsely ground peppercorns.
  2. In a large bowl or on individual serving plates, combine the salad greens of your choice with thinly sliced red onions, avocado, and papaya. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss gently to coat. 

Notes

Adapted from Sunset.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

2 tablespoons

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 154 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 141mg Carbohydrates: 10g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 6g Protein: 1g

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Curious about foods from other states in my American Eats series? Check them out below!

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Iowa • Louisiana • South CarolinaTexas