This delicious mango avocado salad is packed with vibrant colors and fresh sweet and savory flavors from a coconut, lime, and curry dressing. A perfect way to use those ripe avocados, it's especially fast and easy to make when you use precut mango slices available in the produce department.
If you love colorful salads as much as I do, you MUST try this one!
Why This Recipe Works
As a dietitian, I'm all about "eating the rainbow," and this salad is an easy way to do just that. Every colorful ingredient in it is good for you. And the simple dressing made with coconut milk, lime juice, and a dash of curry powder gives it a tasty summer tropical vibe.
Avocados are one of my favorite sources of healthy fats. They have benefits for your heart, gut, and blood sugar, among other things.
And mangos are packed with vitamin C, folate, fiber, and antioxidants. Together, they're a match made in heaven. Keep reading to learn how to make this recipe.
Mangos: I recommend fresh mangos. However, I almost always take a shortcut and use precut mangos in the produce department. I do not recommend frozen mangos or the ones that come in a jar with syrup because they'll be too watery.
Lettuce: I add a little bit for some extra crunch, and I love butter lettuce for its mild flavor. You could also leave the lettuce on the side and serve scoops of this salad in lettuce cups for a fancy presentation for a buffet-style salad or appetizer.
Coconut milk: Make sure you buy the kind in the can, not the milk substitute sold in cartons. You can use regular or light. Regular is higher in fat.
Recipe Substitutions and Additions
While mangos and avocados are a must for a mango avocado salad, you can substitute and add a few ingredients if you like:
- Substitute cucumbers, orange, or yellow sweet peppers for the red peppers. I like any of these for their crunch.
- Substitute any mild-flavored lettuce for the butter lettuce. Good options include Romaine, red leaf, or green leaf lettuce. You can also leave the lettuce out if you prefer. Or you can serve the salad in lettuce cups.
- Substitute maple or agave syrup for the honey if you want a vegan option.
- If you have Thai basil, add a few leaves to the salad. It pairs nicely with the flavors in the dressing.
- For extra crunch, add some roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- If you like some heat but don't want to bite into a jalapeno slice, leave them out and add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the dressing.
- To make this salad heartier, add some cooked black or Forbidden rice.
How to Make Mango Avocado Salad
First, make the dressing by combining the lime juice, zest, coconut milk, curry powder, and sweetener (if using it). You can mix it with a fork or whisk. Or shake it in a jar with a lid. I like to have the dressing prepared so I can dress the salad and serve it immediately. That way, your avocados will be fresh and green.
Step 2, cut your ingredients into bite-sized pieces. I like the mango and avocado pieces about one inch large and the other ingredients diced smaller.
Step 3 is to lightly toss everything, being gentle so you don't mash the avocado. Alternatively, you can add the avocado chunks at the very end after your salad is tossed and dressed, but I like them tossed with the dressing.
Finally, pour the dressing over everything and give it another light toss. Serve this salad immediately because the avocados will start to oxidize and turn brown over time.
Personally, I have a hard time peeling and cutting mangos, which is why I use the precut ones. However, it's hard to pass up a good deal when fresh mangos are in season. This article and video from The Mango Board have some great step-by-step mango-cutting tips.
To prep this salad ahead of time:
- Prepare the dressing, but keep it in a covered jar in the refrigerator. The coconut milk will solidify from the cold, so you'll have to take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Make sure you give it a good shake.
- Cut the mango and vegetables but NOT the avocado. Keep each ingredient in its own container, covered in the refrigerator.
- Just before serving, combine your ingredients, cut the avocado and add it to the bowl, and pour the dressing over everything.
Avocados turn brown quickly after they're cut and exposed to oxygen. It's not unhealthy to eat a brown avocado, but most people find it unappealing. To keep the avocado looking fresher longer:
- Squeeze some extra lime juice over the cut avocado cubes.
- Give them a light spray with olive or avocado oil cooking spray.
- Sprinkle Fruit Fresh over your avocado or add it to water according to the package directions and let your avocado cubes float in it for a minute. Fruit Fresh is primarily vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which acts as an antioxidant and prevents browning caused by oxidation. It works like a charm and can make your avocado last a few more hours.
What to Eat with Mango Avocado Salad
It's also a nice side dish for grilled chicken or Chicken Biryani.
And it makes a great vegetarian meal if you toss in some rice and chickpeas.
A cut mango will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. The slices or cubes will turn soft and have a sour or alcoholic smell if they've gone bad.
If you anticipate having leftovers, it's best to remove part of the salad and don't add dressing to it. You can always add it back if you need more. Once you add the dressing, the salad will start to wilt.
Mangos have no added sugar, but they have 19 grams of carbohydrates from natural sugar and about 3 grams of fiber in a ¾ cup serving. That's about average for a serving of any type of fruit.
Other Salads with Fruit
If you love to mix fruits and vegetables in a salad, try these recipes too.
Mango Avocado Salad
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- ¼ cup light coconut milk
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup for vegan
- ⅛ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 cups ripe mango cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup sweet red pepper diced, from 1 medium pepper
- ½ cup minced red onion
- 1 cup butter lettuce leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons thin-sliced jalapeno optional if you like some heat
- 2 avocados pitted and cubed
- Prepare the dressing. Combine the lime juice, lime zest, coconut milk, curry powder, and honey in a small jar. Cover and shake well. Add salt to taste. Set the dressing aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the mango chunks, red pepper, red onion, lettuce, cilantro, jalapeno if using, and avocado chunks. Toss lightly to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again. Serve immediately.