Does the perfect salad exist? Not sure, but I may have a contender. Mango Salad with Avocado and Lime is nature’s perfect balance of creamy and crunchy, tart and sweet. It’s light enough to be refreshing and hardy enough to be satisfying. Plus, it’s absolutely loaded with nutrients and satisfies vegan/vegetarian, paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free diets.
I’m on a mission – part salad, part semantics. Because there always seems to be confusion when one says “salad” and everyone else almost always automatically assume there’s a bed of leafy greens involved. Unless you say something like “potato salad,” and no one assumes it’s a heap of raw potatoes on a bed of lettuce.
Salad is a broooooaaaaad term. Broad. (I mean, let’s not get started on “ambrosia salad” or, dear god, “Watergate salad.”) But definitions vary from “a usually cold dish” to the even broader “a dish consisting of mixed pieces of food.” So we could clarify “green salads,” “fruit salads,” “bound salads,” or *shudder* “dessert salads,” but what about green salads that are non-leafy chunky produce salads? Non-leafy Chunky Produce Salad simply has… such a bad ring to it.
So when we have a dish like Mango Salad – one that offers up the greatest hits of taste sensation, all in perfect harmony and all from fresh fruits and vegetables – how do we celebrate that by just calling it “a salad” when it’s on a list next to “Pittsburgh salad” or “Waldorf salad?”
Get to your green grocers, stock up, make this mango salad, and then please submit your suggestions. This needs its own category and clearly, I’m at a loss.
How to Pick a Ripe Mango
A ripe mango will have bright yellow, orange, or red hues (one or all three, depending on the variety) and usually smells quite sweet.
The flesh should be soft but firm, and when you gently press the skin, the flesh should give a little, like a fresh peach or pear. If it’s rock hard, leave it to further ripen. If it gives a LOT, it’s too ripe to use in a salad (cut it up anyway and use it in a smoothie).
Unable to source ripe mangos? Place underripe mangos in a paper bag and set them on the counter. They should ripen up within a day or two.
How to Cut a Mango
To slice a fresh mango, slice two large pieces from top to bottom, avoiding the large center pit. Slice along the fatter sides of the mango to get as much flesh as possible. Lay one of the slices skin side down, and use the tip of paring knife to score the flesh into strips, being careful not to cut through the flesh entirely. Then pick up the slice and gently push the skin side up to separate the slices.
Using your paring knife, slice the strips from the skin. Repeat with the remaining slice.
The flesh around the pit of the mango will likely still have “good” flesh, but I find it burdensome to continue hacking away at the fruit. Instead, I peel the remaining skin using my paring knife and bite off the remaining fruit for a snack (or give it to the kids to gnaw on – they love it!).
How to Make Mango Salad
If ripe, fresh, and flavorful is your thing, then get this Mango Salad in rotation stat! Juicy mango, creamy avocado, crisp cucumber, and zesty red pepper combine into a symphony of taste and texture. Fresh herbs and citrus make it a magnum opus! All you need are a few knife skills and your appetite.
For a condensed post, click to view the web story for this mango salad recipe.
- Combine prepared produce in a bowl and mix gently until blended.
- Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, and zest until emulsified and dress salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss gently. Serve immediately.
Chef’s Tips for Mango Salad
- Try to keep fruit and veggies in uniform size and shape when cutting for a more even bite.
- Red bell pepper is so pretty in this salad, but you can totally substitute for orange or yellow if needed.
Make it Your Way
- Spicy: add a minced or sliced jalapeno or two.
- More crunch: sprinkle on crushed peanuts, sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds.
- Herb: swap in Thai basil.
More Sweet and Savory Summer Salads
- Grilled Peach Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
- Strawberry Kale Salad
- Melon Salad with Prosciutto and Tomato
- Simple Citrus Salad with Arugula and Mint
- Stone Fruit Salad with Tomato and Burrata
- Orange Chicken Salad
- Cantaloupe Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing
Did you make this mango avocado salad? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 2 mangos, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- ½ english cucumber, julienned
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, coar
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- ground pepper, to taste
- Combine the mango, avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, basil, and mint in a large mixing bowl. Mix gently (with your hands or a rubber spatula) until evenly combined.
- Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, and zest until emulsified. Pour over the salad, season with salt and pepper to taste (start with ½ tsp each) and gently toss once more. Serve immediately.