Take a trip to the tropics with this incredibly easy kale salad! It’s loaded with tropical fruit, toasted coconut and all tossed in a tangy lime vinaigrette!
So I have a confession to make. The first time I really had papaya was about a year ago when Charlie and I took a cruise to Mexico and it was literally in EVERYTHING! Every fruit platter, salsa, salad, dessert, you name it – it was there. At first I was a little “iffy” on it, but by the end of the trip I was in love! So much so that I started making this tropical papaya and kale salad when we got home and always feel like I’m transported back to the tropics every single time! It’s quick and easy, tangy and has just the right amount of crunch!
When it come to buying tropical fruit, some stores can get pretty expensive. Which is why I love buying my more specialty produce from Sprouts because they always have the freshest items to choose from and for a good price too! (Plus they have such a large variety of tropical fruit right now so it’s so easy to try something you might have never even heard of before.) But for this salad, we’re using a little more familiar tropical fruit. Here’s what you’ll need below.
- Toasted coconut: I used wide sliced coconut for this recipe but you can also use shredded or finely shredded coconut too! (See below for directions on how to toast it)
- Lime Vinaigrette: A simple mixture of lime, manuka honey and extra light olive oil (Recipe is below)
What is manuka honey?
Manuka honey is made by bees in Austraila and New Zealand that pollinate the manuka bush. It has several antibacterial properties as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benfits which is what sets it apart from other more traditional honeys. (It also helps to boost your immune system too which is perfect for this time of year!)
How do I pick a papaya?
Look for papayas that are mostly yellow with just a little bit of green to their skin. When a papaya is fully ripe it will turn a bright yellow. Also give the papaya a gentle squeeze and if it gives in slightly then you know it’s ripe too. (Think about how you would test the ripeness of a peach)
How to toast coconut
This step is completely optional as the salad tastes just as good with plain unsweetened coconut too. BUT I will say that toasting the coconut really adds a special touch that just puts this salad over the top!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the coconut out in an even layer on your sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes are until the coconut starts to just turn golden.
- Take the coconut out of the oven and let it cool completely before storing it in an air tight container.
How to make an easy lime vinaigrette
I love making my own dressings! And especially when it comes to kale salads, I’m a firm believer that you don’t need much at all to dress it up! Here’s my go-to lime vinaigrette dressing that’s loaded with flavor and even has a few immune boosting benefits too!
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp manuka honey (can be replaced with regular honey too)
- Splash of extra light tasting olive oil (about 1-2 teaspoons)
- Whisk all of these ingredients together in a bowl and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to toss your salad.
Now all I can say is, who’s ready for a relaxing vacation?! Because this tropical papaya and kale salad is definitely giving me that travel bug!
Hope you’re all having a great day loves!
More recipes like this:
- Summer Peach & Blueberry Kale Salad
- Grape & Feta Kale Salad
- Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad
- Summer Corn Salad with Avocado
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]
Tropical Papaya & Kale Salad
For the salad
- 1 bunch kale, leaves cut off the ribs and chopped
- ½ of a large papaya
- 1 large mango chopped
- ½ cup toasted coconut shreds (See directions for toasting below)
- ½ cup pepitas
- 1 lime, juiced (for massaging the kale)
- Avocado oil spray (for massaging the kale)*
For the vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp manuka honey
- 1 tsp extra light tasting olive oil
To make the vinaigrette:
- Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl and set it aside.
To toast the coconut:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet parchment paper. Spread the coconut shreds out on your sheet in an even layer and bake for 5-6 minutes or just until they start to turn golden. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool completely.
To make the salad:
- Place the kale leaves in a bowl, pour the lime juice over the top and spray them lightly with your avocado oil spray. Then “massage” the kale leaves with your hands for 5 minutes or until the kale begins to soften and turns a bright green color.
- Add the papaya and mango and toss with your vinaigrette. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and pepitas right before serving.