No-Cook Convenience

Make Thai-inspired crab salad

Green papaya salads used to be the entire reason I used to go out for Thai food in the first place, back in the day before I was gluten-free.

It was crunchy and refreshing, and always so fresh tasting — a better option compared to the saucy, soy-sauce-infused options.

I thought about trying to make it at home, but green papaya? It’s essentially an unripe papaya that is in no store ever. Not even Whole Foods carries it, requiring a special trip to the international grocery store. Which is not happening. Because, come on. Who has time?

So we’ve got the soy sauce thing, and the green papaya mystery. Equaling no green papaya salad for this girl, ever again.

Until now.

I started reading more about fish sauce. Which, according to a recent issue of Food and Wine, is supes-trendy right now. And naturally soy-free, but with a similar taste.

And then I read a little line below it — daikon radish is a great swap for green papaya, if it’s peeled and grated.

Mind blown.

And so you know, I’m officially a “green papaya” salad-making freak. I can’t stop. And right in time for picnic season and no-cook season because of warm evenings. How convenient.

Add this recipe to your quick meal, picnic-worthy, make-ahead bomb meals that everyone loves list.

Thai Crab + Green Papaya Salad

Makes 2 servings

  • 2 large daikon radishes (or 1 large green papaya)
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped basil
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 1 handful crushed roasted peanuts
  • ¼ pound fresh cooked crab, shrimp, or chicken (optional)


  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Peel daikon radishes and cucumbers. Grate the radish with a large box grater, and julienne the cucumber. Set in a colander to let excess water run off while you chop tomatoes, herbs, and peanuts. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small separate bowl, then layer salad ingredients into serving bowls, topping with tomatoes, herbs, peanuts, crab, and drizzle with dressing to serve. Optional: Toss and garnish with extra lime wedges, peanuts, and herbs!

Love this recipe? You’d probably love Adler’s Simply Real Health cookbook. Buy it at or on Amazon in hardcover or the Kindle edition.

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