An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Rock the Boat


When it comes to food, little luxuries are not necessarily about overindulgence or decadence so much as they are small gifts you give yourself; modest treats to look forward to on an average day. Especially in the lean days of early January, it’s important to maintain these simple pleasures while everyone else seems to demand austerity, as if trying to atone for their holiday dietary sins. Luckily, it’s not difficult to reward yourself with something both sweet and healthy at the same time! Looking to the tropics for inspiration, a charming new juice shop in Honolulu offers papaya, re-imagined as a breakfast dish dressed beautifully enough to pass for dessert.

It’s far from a complex concept, but at The Salted Lemon, they’ve perfected the art of building an unsinkable papaya boat. Local orange and pink-hued fruits, more brilliant than a sunrise in paradise, are hollowed out and stuffed to the brim with granola, yogurt, banana slices, blueberries, and finished with a light shower of chia seeds on top. The contrast between creamy yogurt and crunchy cereal, flavored with the ripe and juicy fresh fruits, is so simple yet so satisfying. Eating this assembly is a rich experience that carries none of the guilt one might assign to traditional excess. Though the original is not vegan, the staff was more than willing to try something new, making use of my favorite almond-based yogurt once I snagged a cup at a nearby grocery store.

Lest you think that papaya boats are only the stuff of fancy cafes and languorous tropical vacations, just take a gander at the short and sweet formula below. They are effortless to whip up on any typical morning, no special occasion required, and no pretense need apply. All varieties of berries or cut fruits could be considered as welcome additions, so don’t be afraid to shake up the routine and experiment with new toppers.

While anything goes when it comes to vegan yogurt options, there’s no better brand to turn to than So Delicious, offering cultured coconut and almond bases, each boasting a full spectrum of enticing flavors. These prime alternatives make it a breeze to live dairy-free, which is why I wanted to share an equally easy concept as part of their 21-Day Dairy Free Challenge. Consider this your first step towards sweet, creamy satisfaction, and then join in on the initiative for even greater rewards!

Papaya Boats

1 Medium Hawaiian Papaya, Peeled and Seeded
1 Cup Granola, Homemade or Store-Bought
1 6-Ounce Container Vanilla So Delicious Almond or Coconut Yogurt
1 Medium Banana, Sliced
1/2 Cup Fresh Blueberries
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
Agave or Maple Syrup, to Taste (Optional)

Divide a 1/2 cup of the granola between two plates to set up a “foundation” for your papaya boat to rest on. This will help prevent it from capsizing when you eat it, and it also adds a nice additional layer of crunchy cereal to enjoy.

Place the remaining granola inside the papaya halves (1/4 cup inside of each) and top that with the yogurt, spooning equal amounts into the two boats. Arrange the sliced banana and blueberries as desired, and top with a sprinkle of chia seeds over the whole assembly. Finish with a light drizzle of syrup if desired, but with properly ripened, seasonal fruit, it should be plenty sweet enough without.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes 2 Servings

Printable Recipe

[Written for Go Dairy Free as part of the Dairy-Free Recipe Potluck, sponsored by So Delicious.]

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

25 thoughts on “Rock the Boat

  1. Delicious recipe, love the pictures so much!

  2. YUM! I always love a simple dish like this that really highlights natural flavors and forms and I love the idea of adding the yogurt. I’ve been on a serious coconut milk yogurt kick lately, so this looks like an amazing vehicle to get my daily probiotic kick!

  3. Well…thank you very much, Hannah..but you have “Rock the Boat” singing over and over in my head now! :-) Brillilant papaya boats! I’m looking for great starters for the day…and this one looks right up my alley! <3

  4. I gotta be honest…papaya isn’t usually on the menu and now I’m asking myself why. Ready to sail!

  5. Beautiful and I am sure, very tasty!

  6. I love papaya before I came to England. But I’m not really like the papaya in England, they’re tasteless, no flavour. But I love the one sell in South-Asia area and Malaysia. They’re so sweet and full of flavour. wish you can try them.

  7. I am with matchamochimoo, papaya that we can buy here in Tasmania is tasteless and just “sweet” from being picked green and chemically ripened. Your recipe sounds like a rare exotic treat. I can’t get any kind of vegan yoghurt here that I would consider edible (the only available alternative is soy yoghurt that tastes like pudding, no tang…how can they call it yoghurt?!) so I have to muck around with trying to culture coconut cream and sometimes it works…sometimes I get curdled coconut cream ;). I am in awe of that shop allowing you to bring in your own yoghurt. Kudos to them and 100 vegan points :). Lovely recipe, lovely tropical thoughts. I am suffering hot, humid tropical conditions at the moment as there is a cyclone off the top end of Australia that is pushing Queenslands weather down to Tasmania. I can’t wait till they take it back! Guess who is soaking sugar apple/sweet sop seeds to plant out today :)

    • It’s really true, papaya varieties can vary wildly in flavor, and it’s so hard to find one that has truly nuanced sweetness, succulent flavor, and a delicately floral aroma. Before I ate them in Hawaii, I was convinced that they were all tasteless! As for the yogurt issue, coconut cream sounds like a delicious and crafty alternative. On the islands, you could make the whole dish from local ingredients that way, too.

  8. That looks awesome as well as delicious, Hannah. Wish I were eating it right now. :-)


  9. What a gorgeous dish! It’s making me yearn for summer, as I look out at the snowy ground beneath my balcony.

  10. Stunning as usual Hannah! You make the simplest foods so amazing. Now I’ll be seeking out papayas at the store for breakfast!

  11. I am very anti-papaya but as always, your photos convince me to give it another try :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. That looks so nice and refreshing, I’m hopping onto the papaya boat. :-)

  13. Wow! that looks fabulous – I am going to keep my eyes out for papaya.

  14. Yummm! A simple yet elegant breakfast,..So colorful & appetizing too! x
    I also love the Go Dairy -free blog! xxx I am lactose-intolerant & had a lot of help from this blog in the beginning! xxx

    • I’m delighted to hear it! I truly got my start working with the lovely folks at Go Dairy Free (they published My Sweet Vegan, my first cookbook) so I’m really happy to hear that the website has made such a big impact on you, too. :)

  15. This is the most fancy papaya boat I have seen!!! Healthy and delicious.

  16. This looks delicious! I wish it was warm in New England right now. I just started a vegan diet 8 days ago and find it challenging with the weather. This certainly looks tropical. Thanks for sharing! :)

  17. Reblogged this on chancetobreathe and commented:
    ooh ohh ohh my. My lady will love this!

  18. YAY, a Papaya Boat recipe! My mouth is watering. I can just imagine the taste of the papaya, the tart juicy filling and the sweet crunch of the granola. This looks gorgeous, Hannah.

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