Did you know that papayas contain enzymes that help with digestion? They’re also known to reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. (Oh, and did I mention, they’re delicious too?)

I came across an Instagram photo of a baked stuffed papaya that made my mouth water just looking at it. I’m always looking for different plant-based dinner recipes, and this seemed like a great idea. But I wanted to add some veggies that would pair just right the sweet papaya taste. I ended up going with sweet potatoes and butternut squash (which paired perfectly), tossed in some quinoa, and topped it with arugula, pomegranate seeds, sprouts, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. YUM.

(For non-vegans/vegetarians, this would probably be great topped with a few grilled shrimp, too!)

BTW – this has to be one of my favorite food photos. Doesn’t it just make you want to take a big bite out of that juicy papaya?

baked stuffed papaya recipe quinoa squash sweet potato

For the quinoa, you’ll be using 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, so you’ll want to add about 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa to about 2 cups water, as the quinoa will expand and grow once it’s cooked. I also like to use the bags of butternut squash that are already sliced and cubed – it’s much easier!

Baked Stuffed Papaya Boats
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
  • 1 papaya
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup butternut squash, cubed
  • ½ cup sweet potato, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Handful of arugula (about 10 leaves)
  • Handful of Sprouts (about ½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Dash of cinnamon and sea salt, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Boil ¼ cup quinoa in 2 cups of water until soft.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, peel and slice the sweet potato into cubes, and slice the squash into cubes if not using pre-packaged squash.
  4. Fill a pot with 1-2 inches of water, add squash and sweet potato, and cover.
  5. Steam over medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft, then set aside.
  6. Cut papaya in halves and carve out the middle. Discard seeds.
  7. Scoop the cooked quinoa, squash and sweet potato into the middle of the papayas.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and top papayas with pomegranate seeds, arugula and sprouts.
  10. Drizzle with pure maple syrup and season with cinnamon and sea salt.
  11. Serve immediately.
Serving size: 1 Calories: 445 Fat: 5g Carbohydrates: 93g Sugar: 35g Sodium: 72mg Fiber: 12g Protein: 14g