Well Being

Brunch-Off: Spiced Carrot Papaya Muffins & Pink Papaya Smoothie

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This week is our eleventh Brunch-Off! We hope you’re enjoying our column devoted to brunch recipes as much as we are. In a bid to get more people cooking seasonally, we’re featuring seasonal brunch and breakfast recipes each Saturday morning. The twist? We ask two food bloggers to give us their own brunch recipes featuring the same predetermined seasonal ingredient for a friendly competition. (We’d love to hear your ideas, too!)

Papayas seem like they are one of the lesser-loved tropical fruits. Mangoes are popular, bananas are ubiquitous and even guavas are more common than the papaya. Maybe it's because they're not as readily available in most areas of the US (and so are hard to find when fresh), people don't quite know how to prepare them. But that's why we've enlisted food bloggers Emma of Cayuga St. Kitchen and Kristy of Keepin' It Kind: Their papaya recipes will inspire you to cook with this sweet, flowery fruit. Papayas are just coming into season now in April and will remain in season all summer.

Emma of Cayuga St. Kitchen put her papaya into some delicious breakfast muffins. Using the tropical fruit makes things a little sweeter than the standard raisins, that's for sure. She says:

I was inspired to create this recipe for my dear friend's baby shower brunch. I've baked a symphony of flavors and radiant orange hues into the familiar, inviting shape of a muffin! My love for fresh produce comes alive with the carrots from my Winter farm-share. The papaya cures my nostalgia for travel and wakes memories of living in Ecuador. My devotion to nutritious sweets comes foremost in the affordable and readily available form of dried papaya, which **is rich in Dietary Fiber, Potassium, VitaminA and Vitamin C. With rolled oats, applesauce, nuts and seeds, this muffin transforms my usual morning granola-and-fruit-bowl into a special, packable treat. If you're luckier than I was to have leftovers, you can spice up your Monday morning!


Spiced Carrot Papaya Muffins

These were inspired by Kitchen Treaty's Hearty Spiced Carrot Muffins, and are delicious toasted and lathered with fresh butter and drizzled with honey.

Yields: 16 muffins
Preparation time: About 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 35 minutes

Ingredients & Source
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats + a couple extra tablespoons for topping
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup dried diced papaya
  • Optional: 2/3 cup toasted nuts or seeds: I used 1/3 sunflower seeds and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, but use what you have, for example almonds and pumpkins seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin tin or place muffin cups in the tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce, brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla extract
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together just until the ingredients are incorporated (you don't want big puffs of dry flour!).
  5. Stir in the grated carrots, papaya and nuts and seeds of your choosing.
  6. Fill the muffin cups to the brim of the cup, and sprinkle with oats. (If you only have one muffin tin as I do, you can let the batter rest until te first batch is done, and then cook off the last four muffins. Or, you can make a mini cake in a cake pan, though it will take a bit longer for the center to cook).
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes (check after 25 minutes, and then again at 30). The muffins are dine with a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow the muffins to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.
  9. Store your muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, or freeze in a Ziplock bag for another morning!

Kristy of the awesome vegan blog Keepin' It Kind shows us a simple, tasty way to incorporate papaya into a healthy morning smoothie:

Papaya's sweet buttery flavor and creamy texture is what makes them one of my favorite smoothie ingredients.  They are vitamin and antioxidant powerhouses, with one serving containing over 300% of the RDA for vitamin C!  It also contains an enzyme, papain, that aids in digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe an upset stomach and even reduce swelling.  They are at their peak nutrition level when they are ripest, so if you're looking for a ripe papaya, look for a slightly soft one that is on the reddish-orange end of the spectrum (rather than yellow or green).  Then reap the benefits by eating them by themselves, adding them to salads, desserts, or my personal favorite, smoothies!


Pretty Pink Papaya Smoothie


  • 1 packet of Sol Bliss papaya puree
  • 1 cup of strawberries (I used frozen, but fresh would be fine as well)
  • 1/2 cup vegan unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 1 T flax meal
  • 1 T Cashew Maca-Maca Butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • almond milk (or vegan milk of choice)
  • 2-3 ice cubes (optional)


  • Combine the first 5 ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.  Add almond milk as neccessary to thin the smoothie out (I used about 1/8 cup, but you might want a thicker/thinner smoothie).  Add ice cubes and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

All photos courtesy of Keepin' It Kind and Cayuga St. Kitchen