This easy recipe for mango salad is the perfect mix of sweet, spicy and refreshing. Pair mangos with cucumbers, peppers and fresh herbs. Drizzle with a simple vinaigrette and enjoy as a side dish with any meal.
Today is the perfect time to enjoy a fresh salad made with a broad mix of flavors. Toss mango and other vegetables with a simple dressing that is salty, sweet and has a fresh acidity from the lime juice. The combination of flavor notes comes together beautifully.
This easy mango salad is a unique twist on a green papaya salad where underripe papaya is shredded and tossed with fresh ingredients. Instead of papaya, this recipe uses fresh mango for a deliciously sweet flavor that is the perfect pairing with a side of rice, beans or protein.
While this salad is inspired by Thai mango salad with underripe mangoes. You can use slightly ripe mangoes for a sweeter flavor, if desired.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This salad is bursting with color and flavor.
- It’s a great way to use mangoes – ripe or underripe.
- You can adjust the level of spice, salt and sweetness by adjusting the dressing ingredients to your personal taste.
- It’s a great salad for summer or any time of the year.
Ingredients You Need
For the Mango Salad:
- Unripe Mangoes – Choose mangoes that are firm to the touch and just give slightly with pressure. Underripe is preferred. You can use ripe mangos, but the flavor and texture will be slightly different. Ripe mangoes are sweeter. You will cut them julienned, grated or thinly sliced.
- Seeded Cucumber – Cucumber adds crunch and freshness to the mix of mango.
- Red Bell Pepper – Adds a natural garden flavor sweetness and fresh crunch.
- Fresh Herbs – You’ll need some chopped basil, mint and scallions to add a fresh herb taste and color.
Optional: You can also add fresh tomatoes, carrots or zucchini to add more nutrients and flavors.
For the Mango Salad Dressing:
- Lemon and Lime Juice – Adds a natural acidity and bright flavor coming from fresh citrus.
- Brown Sugar – Helps sweeten up the dressing and enhances the flavor of the fresh mango. You can substitute with coconut sugar, honey or maple sugar, if desired.
- Sesame Oil – Adds a hint of toasted sesame flavor. You can substitute with olive oil, if needed.
- Freshly Grated Ginger – Adds a fresh kick of spice to the dressing.
- Fish Sauce – Gives the dressing a salty bite and slight fish flavor that pairs well with the fresh ingredients. You can substitute with soy sauce or tamari if you don’t like fish sauce.
- Thai Chili – This small spicy chili is added for additional heat, but feel free to omit if you don’t want to be spicy.
- Salt and Pepper – Balances all of the flavors in the dressing.
How to Make Mango Salad
This easy salad comes together with a few fresh ingredients. Feel free to adapt the flavors or ingredients as you wish to make it more spicy or sweet.
- Prep the vegetables and mango – For the vegetables in this salad, you can choose to julienne, grate or thinly slice them and add them to a large mixing bowl. You can add a variety of textures by cutting each a different way or cut them all the same way, the choice is yours. (See instructions below on how to cut or properly grate an underripe mango.)
- Make the dressing – Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until combined. You can do this in a bowl or you can add everything to a mason jar with a lid and shake until blended together.
- Assemble the mango salad – Pour the dressing over the chopped vegetables and toss until they are completely coated in the homemade dressing. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
Add more or less fresh herbs to adjust the flavor of the thai mango salad. You can also add more or less sweetener to make the salad more or less sweet.
- How to grate an unripe mango: An unripe mango will be green and firm. You’ll need to peel the skin off using a vegetable peeler. Then, using a sharp knife, cut along the pit of the mango lengthwise to get the large “cheeks” off and then the sides which will be smaller. From here you can grate the mango, julienne or thinly slice it.
- Marinating is key. For the best flavor, it’s best if the salad marinates in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will give time for the flavors of the dressing to soak into the mango and vegetables.
- The salad is best served immediately. This easy mango salad tastes best when served immediately as the structure and crunch of the vegetables will stay intact for the first few hours.
- Add some crunch to the salad. Top the salad with toasted cashews or peanuts for a crunchy texture that pairs well with the fresh flavors in the thai mango salad.
Other Side Salad Recipes
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For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced (optional if you like it spicy)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad:
- 2 underripe mangoes, julienned (grated or thinly sliced)
- 1 small cucumber, seeded, julienned (grated or thinly sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, julienned (grated or thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine julienned mango, cucumber, bell pepper and dressing. Toss to coast. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- To finish, toss salad with fresh herbs and scallions. Serve immediately.