Hannah Kaminsky offers an easy swap for green papaya, using more readily available zucchini noodles to re-create a favorite classic Thai salad, som tum. Thai zucchini noodle salad may not be authentic, but it’s easy to make and tastes fantastic!
Here’s what Hannah has to say about this cool delicacy: “Som tum, otherwise known as green papaya salad, is easily my favorite way to begin a meal.
Served chilled, the crisp strands of unripe papaya are cooling, yet still pop with bursts of heat from plentiful flecks of chile peppers.
Of course, the key ingredient, green papaya, eluded me in my limited hometown grocery stores, which is why I turned to the ever-popular spiralized zucchini noodles to create this variation from the original.”
Leave zucchini noodles undressed until last minute
Zucchini noodles don’t stay firm as long as green papaya does, so make sure you leave them undressed until the minute you’re ready to serve. It may not be the genuine article, but it transports me to a delicious new world of flavor with every single bite.
No spiral slicer? No problem
You can get spiralized zucchini (and other vegetables) in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets.
Explore more Asian-Inspired Cold Noodle Dishes.
Recipe and photo at top from Real Food Really Fast by Hannah Kaminsky © 2018, Skyhorse Publishing. Reprinted by permission. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 Tbsps coconut sugar or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 Tbsps soy sauce (see Note)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 to 4 ounces green beans, raw or lightly blanched (see Note)
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized or julienned (see Note)
- 1/2 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 to 1 red thai chile, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsps roasted and salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- Chives or scallions, thinly sliced
- For the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. It will seem like a lot of liquid, but don’t worry, that’s exactly what you want! This isn’t like a traditional salad dressing; it should soak into the noodles a bit, and you will have a bit of a pool at the bottom when it’s in proper proportion.
- In a medium bowl, place the green beans, zucchini ribbons, and tomatoes. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat.
- Add in the chile, just a little bit at a time, until it’s spicy enough for your personal taste. Give it one more good toss to mix everything around and evenly distribute the ingredients before transferring everything to a serving dish.
- Top with a generous handful of sliced chives and chopped peanuts.
- Don’t let this one sit around; Eat immediately!
To quickly blanch your green beans, drop them into boiling water for 30–60 seconds, until they turn bright green. Quickly plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. This is only necessary if your green beans are on the thicker, tougher side to begin with.
If you don’t have a spiralizer but like the idea of using zucchini “noodles,” look in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets, where they’re often found near other prepped fresh vegetables.
Use a gluten-free soy sauce to keep this recipe gluten-free.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 109Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 598mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 18gProtein: 4g
Nutrition data is always an estimate depending on program used to calculate and exact products used.
If you like zucchini noodle salads, you might also enjoy …
More Thai salad inspiration
See more easy vegan salads & sides.