Super fresh and fruity, this Mango Salad recipe is light, healthy, and perfectly balanced with juicy mangos, sweet red bell pepper, and more tossed together in a spicy chili flake dressing. Made with mostly fruits and vegetables, it’s the perfect refreshing appetizer or side to serve at picnics or a bbq!
A Fresh Salad Recipe That’s Bursting with Flavor!
As the weather heats up, my thoughts turn to salad… and mangos. Are you a fan of fresh mango? In my opinion, it’s one of the most addictive fruits, especially when you get a really ripe, juicy one! Adding them to a colorful salad is a fun, easy way to enjoy this tropical treat.
And the recipe doesn’t have to be complicated, either. This simple salad uses cucumber, onion, bell pepper, and mango as the base. Then we whip together a simple dressing with olive oil, vinegar, crushed red pepper chili flakes and salt. This combination gives your mango salad the perfect sweet and spicy balance that keeps you coming back for more. Super simple, super colorful, and super healthy. What more could you ask of a salad, right?
What Is Mango Salad Made Of?
Of course, you can change up this salad recipe by adding your own favorite ingredients, but my basic recipe includes just a handful of fresh, flavorful items. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Cucumber: A large English cucumber provides the “green” for this salad – no lettuce needed.
- Onion: I like to use purple onion, diced. You could also go with a sweet onion, such as a Vidalia.
- Bell Pepper: Red is my favorite, but yellow, orange, or even green bell peppers would also work just fine. Keep in mind that green bell peppers have a stronger, less sweet, flavor than the other bell peppers.
- Mangos: A few large, ripe mangos make this salad so refreshing. Check out the tips below for advice on choosing a good one!
- Fresh Basil: Roughly chopped.
- Vinegar: I use plain white vinegar for this, but you could substitute your favorite kind if you like.
- Olive Oil: To blend with the vinegar, vinaigrette-style.
- Seasonings: Nothing fancy, just crushed red chili flakes and some salt. The key is to let the other ingredients shine.
Do You Peel Mangos for Fruit Salad?
Yes, you should peel the mangos before adding them to your salad. While mango peel is technically considered edible, it’s got a chewy, unpleasant texture and a bitter flavor. Plus, mango skin contains urushiol (the same chemical found in poison ivy, yikes!), which can give you an allergic reaction if you’re sensitive to it!
How to Make Fresh Mango Salad
Making mango salad is super easy. You really only have to prep the ingredients, combine them, and enjoy. Let’s do this!
- Prep the Cucumber. Cut the English cucumber into thirds, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Thinly slice the cucumbers, and place the pieces in a large bowl.
- Prep the Onion and Bell Pepper. Next, peel and thinly slice the onion and add it to the bowl with the cucumber. Cut the red bell pepper from around the seeds and membrane, and then slice it thinly into long strips. Throw those in the bowl as well.
- Cut Up the Mangos. Peel each mango, and then use a sharp knife to cut the fruit away from the pits. Discard the pits, and thinly slice the mango chunks into long, thin strips. Add them to the bowl.
- Make the Salad Dressing and Finish the Dish. Add the basil to the salad bowl, and gently toss everything to combine. Place the vinegar, oil, salt, and chili flakes in a jar and give them a shake. Pour this over the salad, and toss to combine the ingredients well.
- Enjoy! Serve the mango salad immediately, with fresh basil leaves for garnish, if desired.
You can tweak this recipe in all kinds of ways to suit your own tastes. You can add chopped salad greens like romaine lettuce, use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, or whatever you like. Here are a few more ideas:
- Cucumber: English cucumbers are ideal, since they have a soft outer peel that doesn’t need to be removed, and they aren’t super seedy inside. If you’d rather use a regular cucumber, I recommend peeling them before adding them to the recipe.
- Mango: Choosing a ripe mango is about firmness and aroma. A ripe mango will have a little give when you squeeze it, somewhat like a ripe avocado or peach. It should also have a sweet smell, like honey or flowers. Ripe mangos are also often red or yellow in color, but the color isn’t always accurate. Some mangos are good and ripe and still look greenish.
- Nuts and Seeds: For even more texture, you can add crunchy ingredients like halved pecans, chopped walnuts, pepitas, etc.
- Chili Flakes: The hints of spice really makes this salad for me, but if you’re not a fan of spicy food, feel free to leave them out!
- Mint: If you are a big mint fan, you can substitute the fresh basil in this salad for fresh mint. Be careful, a little fresh mint goes a long way!
- Extra Heat: With the crushed red pepper flakes, this salad has just the right amount of heat to taste it, but not be hot. If you want your salad to have a good amount of heat, I suggest adding a tablespoon (or more!) of sriracha to your salad dressing.
What Should I Serve with Mango Salad?
Everything! Seriously, this dish is so tasty you’ll want to serve it all the time. I particularly like the sweetness and savoriness of mango salad with chicken, shrimp, or pork. We serve it along side our BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders all summer long. Here are a few dishes to try:
- Pork: You can’t do better than a helping of mango salad next to juicy, perfectly-seasoned Chuleta Frita (Puerto Rican Fried Pork Chops). This Lechon Asado (Cuban Roast Pork) would also be decadent next to this fresh salad. You can also use this mango salad as a garnish on Pulled Pork Tacos, the combination is insanely addicting!
- Chicken: Roast chicken, fried chicken, sautéed chicken… almost any chicken dish is good with this salad. But my weakness is this recipe for Sticky Chicken Tenders. Who could resist crunchy chicken with barbecue sauce?
- Shrimp: Shrimp and mango are a wonderful combo. This recipe for Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp are super addictive and easy to make. Or use this salad as a slaw for Shrimp Tacos!
Storing and Freezing
The salad can be stored without the dressing, for up to 2 days in the fridge. Make sure to store it in an airtight container for maximum freshness. The dressing will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, stored in a jar or airtight container.
As for freezing, I don’t recommend it – the fresh, crisp vegetables will become sadly watery and mushy after freezing and thawing. Instead, try to make menus that will allow you to enjoy this dish fresh and use up any leftovers quickly. If you like, you can cut the ingredient amounts in half to make a smaller batch.
Mango Salad Recipe
- 1 large English cucumber
- 1 medium purple onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 large mangos
- ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Cut the cucumber into thirds and then cut each piece in half lengthwise and remove the seeds using a spoon. Thinly slice the cucumber halves, place them in a large bowl, and set aside.
- Next, peel and thinly slice the onion, lengthwise and add it to the bowl with the cucumber.
- Cut the red bell pepper from around the seeds and membrane then thinly slice the pieces into long thin strips and add them to the bowl as well.
- Peel the mangos then cut the fruit off the seeds. Discard the seeds and thinly slice the mango pieces into long, thin strips then add them to the bowl.
- Add the basil to the bowl and toss everything to combine.
- In a small bowl or jar, whisk to combine the vinegar, olive oil, chili flakes and salt together and then pour it over the salad and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately with fresh basil leaves, for garnish, if desired.
More Refreshing Fruit Salad Recipes
- Creamy Grape Salad
- Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint
- Spicy Mango Slaw
- Creamy Waldorf Salad
- Cranberry Jello Salad
- Ambrosia Salad
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