Recipe: Minted Papaya Avocado Salad (gluten-free, vegan, raw)

Minted Papaya Avocado Salad

It is so hot in Minneapolis. We have a heat index of 115º F and a dewpoint that is higher than the Amazon. I'm not kidding. Our dewpoint was 86 on Sunday. The only other place in the Western Hemisphere with a dewpoint over 80 at the time was the Amazon, and that was in the low 80s. Take that, Brazil, ha!

Why do I live in a place that tortures residents with windchills of -30º F in the winter and then does this in the summer? Am I insane?

To add insult to injury, the power went out on my street last night. I was out picking up an air conditioner from my friend, and returned home about 10:30 pm to find my block powerless. So, I left the air conditioner in my car, and I spent the evening sweating my brains out. The air was still, heavy, and hot, and had it not been 11:30 by the time I was ready to get to bed, I would have sought refuge at someone else's house! It was awful. I kept waking through the night, only to find myself drenched in sweat and feeling faint. At 5 am I gave up, took another shower, gathered my stuff, and went to work, which is where I sit now, basking in the air conditioning. The power on my street may not be fixed until 6 pm tonight, and I'm imagining that all the food in my fridge is going bad as I write this. Ugh. Being without electricity is fine when you are living in a situation that doesn't require it, like when you're camping or at a cabin. But when everything you need to live your daily life is dependent on electricity, it sure is a pain to not have it. 

Despite the fact that I'm pretty sure I have heat exhaustion and dehydration, I actually feel my best in weather like this. My Lyme symptoms are nearly nil, which is a far cry from the creaky aches and pains of dry, cold winters. I feel more alive and energetic. So, even though it's so hot I can barely think, I kind of love it. Feeling good is such a blessing. 

Temperatures like this require light and bright foods, like this salad. I had it for dinner last night and for breakfast this morning, and it was perfectly energizing. I am just starting to use the kitchen at my new apartment, and so far so good. This is the first blog post from my new abode! Yes, I've been absent from the blog lately because I was traveling and moving to a new place. But I'm back now, hooray!


Minted Papaya Avocado Salad

Yield: 2-4 servings

Papaya is ripe when the skin is a yellowy-orange color, perhaps with small spots of brown, and should yield sightly under the pressure of your thumb. The flesh inside will be a bright coral red/orange color and should be fairly soft, but it will never be very sweet. When papaya is green outside or inside, it is unripe and unsuitable for this salad. If you buy an unripe papaya, leave at room temperature for a day or two, and it should ripen up.

For a sugar-free sweetener instead of agave, try adding 15-20 drops of liquid stevia instead, to taste - I like NuNaturals brand. Or, if you'd prefer a more savory salad, you can omit the sweetener all together. But really, I think it tastes better with a little sweet. 

  • 1 medium ripe papaya
  • 1 avocado, ripe but still firm
  • 10 mint leaves, plus more for garnish (I used pineapple mint)
  • 2-4 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp raw agave nectar (for substitution, see above)
  • 2 pinches unrefined salt
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • optional but recommended: raw pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Halve the papaya and scoop out seeds. Peel the skin off the papaya, then dice the flesh into bite-size cubes and place in a mixing bowl. Halve the avocado and remove the seed. Peel off the skin, dice flesh into 1/2-inch cubes, and add to mixing bowl with papaya. Finely chop the 10 mint leaves, and add to bowl along with remaining ingredients. Gently toss to mix. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to flavor through, then serve. Garnish with remaining mint leaves and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds just before serving. 

Store in the refrigerator. 

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