Use These Green Papaya Substitutes For Your Tinola Recipe

Turn to these easy ingredient substitutes for the green fruit instead.

IMAGE Riell Santos

The selection of food in recent years has blossomed and grown to include even the most rare of ingredients. Even the most obscure and hard-to-find ingredients are now available at your local supermarket and weekend markets

So what do you do when one of the more common ingredients for a seemingly everyday recipe isn't as available as it used to be? What if you can't find the kangkong for your sinigang recipe, the malunggay leaves for a monggo recipe you've been meaning to try, or the green papaya for a delicious tinola recipe

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While there are other ingredients in the sinigang recipe and the monggo recipe to make up for the lack of those local leafy greens, it may be okay to do without it. However, if you're thinking of not adding the green papaya – the lone vegetable in the tinola recipe – when you make your recipe, you may be left with a dish that's sorely lacking. 


That's where food substitutes come in. We have a few ideas on what you can use to make sure that no matter what, your tinola will be a delicious dish. You won't be missing that all-important ingredient to make it heartier.

If you can't find the green papaya, here are the food substitutes you can use: 

Photo by Chayote Wikipedia

1 Chayote/Sayote


This may be the most common substitute for the green papaya. Also known as the vegetable pear, it's the closest you can get to the missing papaya, in both flavor and texture. 

This easy veggie recipe can either be served as a side dish or as a main dish!

We've all had rellenong bangus, but have you ever tried rellenong sayote?

Photo by pxhere

2 Daikon/Labanos

While not quite green like the chayote, the daikon or labanos has the same texture. It's got a slightly bitter flavor that would go well with the ginger broth of the tinola. It may even become a favorite addition.    


Frying the radish cakes gives them a nice golden crust that's a delight to bite into!

This sinigang dish is a Filipino classic: shrimp in tamarind soup with lots of radish!

Photo by monicore from Pixabay

3 Cucumber 

This may seem unlikely but the great thing with cucumbers is that you don't even need to cook it. While it sounds odd to cook cucumbers, you can cook cucumbers, and it can be delicious. Remove the seeds before chopping, and add the slices while the tinola broth is still hot. Serve just when the cucumbers are warmed through for a delightful and surprisingly good meal. 


Cucumber gets fiery flavors from the chili powder.

Love tzatziki? This is a simpler version-with the addition of tomatoes.

Photo by Pixabay

4 Potato 

It may be an obvious substitute for other vegetables but not so for the green papaya. However, it's plentiful, available all year round, and it's universally delicious. Who doesn't like potatoes in their meal? 

Beef nilaga is a beef soup with vegetables.

Add a smoky flavor by grilling your potato chunks.

Photo by Yerson Retamal from Pixabay

5 Carrot 


The carrot is a delicious vegetable that can give your tinola a slight orange tinge, but don't let that stop you! Carrots are fantastic paired with ginger and in this broth, it can add the sweetness that satisfies our sweet tooth.      

There's nothing like a new twist to a classic favorite!

This is a great side dish for roast chicken or pork chops.

We think there's no reason to change recipes when you don't or can't find the ingredient you need for recipes. With so many possible ingredient substitutes you can try, you can still enjoy the dish you wanted with a twist on the original recipe. Who knows? It may be the tweak that makes the dish more delicious. 


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