papaya chicken salad

Papaya Chicken Salad

Papaya chicken salad has several ingredients you’d expect plus one that might surprise you. Papaya seeds! Those peppery seeds I’d always thrown away have some unexpected health benefits. According to, papaya seeds can help fight infections, may protect kidney functions, could have anti-cancer properties, and may improve digestive health.

The downside is they may decrease fertility and they could be harmful if eaten in large amounts. The website says, “High doses may cause side effects, but these issues can easily be avoided by moderating your intake and sticking to a few servings per day.” Even though I love this salad, once a month is plenty for me.

I started making papaya seed dressing when we could pick fresh papayas off trees while inn sitting in Costa Rica. It had seven ingredients, and if you’ve read a few of my blog posts, you know I’m always looking for shortcuts in my one-butt kitchen. For a taste test in my two-butt kitchen at home, I made that recipe and improvised one with olive oil, favored white balsamic, and papaya seeds. They were both good, but I liked the simple vinaigrette better.

Readers of my blog also know I’m a fan of Venice Olive Oil in Colorado Springs, but many towns have excellent olive oil and balsamic vinegar boutiques.  Stop in for a taste test and select your favorite.

There are two ways to serve this salad: as an entree with chicken, and as a side salad without chicken. The amounts in this recipe are for an entree. If you are making side salads, you may want to use slightly less of each ingredient.

Preparation time: 20 minutes Total time: 20 minutes

One-butt kitchen needs: 

  • An Immersion Hand Blender is a necessity if you want to make two servings of the vinaigrette. There isn’t enough liquid to work in a countertop blender. (Yes, I tried it and failed.) If you only have a countertop blender, you can make a double or triple batch of the vinaigrette and save the leftovers for another meal. The papaya seeds should be pureed to the size of ground pepper; whole seeds have an overpowering peppery taste. 

Serves 2


Papaya Seed Vinaigrette

  • 1 tbsp fresh papaya seeds (or more, with some fruit attached)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flavored white balsamic (I used Venice Olive Oil Cranberry Pear)

Papaya Chicken Salad

  • 3 to 4 cups salad greens (whatever your serving size for 2)
  • 1 cup papaya, diced
  • 1 cup chicken, shredded or diced (I used part of a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds


Put the papaya seeds, olive oil, and balsamic into a small cup or glass (large enough to accommodate the head of the immersion blender). Use the immersion blender to puree until well blended and the papaya seeds are the size of ground pepper.

Place the remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl.  Toss with vinaigrette. Arrange on dinner plates. Garnish with extra feta cheese if desired.  


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