This mango salad with tomato and avocado is one that I have tested time and time again. I am always tweaking my recipes. Sometimes by the time I am happy with them, the season has passed and I am left wondering why I have nothing to write. This mango salad came to life last summer because I just needed something different to eat. I have been tweaking and eating this so long, I am confident that you will love it. It is the best balance of sweet, savory, and umami.
Mango Salad With Tomato and Avocado
I have always been a fan of mangoes. In Nigeria where I grew up, mango season is a thing. I remember back then we always were searching for the best mangoes. My favorite has always been the Ogbomosho mango, hands down. This mango is often soft and juicy when ripe. The trick to eating the Ogbomosho mango lies in massaging the mango flesh. I would massage the flesh until I could feel a liquid mass in the skin. The I would bite a small hole the top of the skin and suck. My mouth would be filled with sweet juicy mango.
When I did a year of service in Ibadan, I was infamous for my love of mangoes. Okay, I was really infamous for my gusto for food. I ate everything. Mango season was like being in Willy Wonka’s factory because the fruits were cheap and so accessible. I had my regular supplier who would keep the best mangoes aside for me. Just writing about my love of mangoes makes me miss being in Ibadan so much.
I never cooked much with mangoes because I just always ate it plain. Although, when I lived in California, my dad introduced me to mango with cayenne pepper. There is just something about having a hit of salt and heat with mango that makes it so delicious on the palate. Even though I enjoyed having spicy mango, it was never something I got into.
My other culinary foray into mangoes came from Indian cuisine.
When I went to Mumbai with my mom, one of the things that we had was Mango Lassi. It was life-changing. Good mango lassi for me has to have a balance of sweet and salty. It also has to be cold. That really how I like my mango in general. If I am playing with mango, I favor saltiness and savoriness, aka umami. Earlier this summer, I diverted from this a bit and made a mango and cherry parfait.
For this mango salad with tomato and avocado, I have taken inspiration from the Eastern Asian pantry. One of the things I learnt in Indian is that food is a good playground for mixing cultures. We had some in Indo-Chinese food that blended Indian and Chinese influence on food. Of course, with colonialization, lots of traditional recipes have massive influences of other parts of the worlds. I mean, even items that are considered local staples in many countries, came with travelers and became parts of the land.
The dressing for this mango salad with tomato and avocado is made from soy sauce, fish sauce, lime, and a healthy dose of cumin spice. One thing I have left out of this recipe is jalapenos for heat. I actually recommend adding it because it does boost the experience of eating this salad. The dressing is actually the hard part of this recipe and it is not that hard. It just requires making sure everything is available. As with all things in life, do not be afraid to play with the measurement in the dressing to soothe your palate. If you absolutely despise cilantro, take it out entirely or play with parsley. That is where the joy in cooking lies.
This mango salad with tomato and avocado is versatile once you have made it. It is a vegan/vegetarian-friendly option if you skip the fish sauce. You can play with adding a pinch of miso or seaweed to add in some of the pungent umami of the fish sauce back. I love to play with the accompaniment to the assembled mango salad. On a lazy day, I’ll have the salad with some shrimps. Other days, I sprinkle it on a bed of greens. When I am feeling fancy, I might make some quinoa to go with it. Another absolute fave of mine is mango salad with tomato and avocado served on top of cold soba noodles. If you want to boost the protein content of the mango, I recommend adding edamame into the salad. The edamame also adds some crunch into the mango salad.
You know how I said I am picky about mangoes!
I usually make this mango salad with ataulfo/champagne mango. Not going to lie…it is a bit pricy for it size. But the softness and sweetness of this mango makes a huge difference in this salad. If you have to use a different type of mango, absolutely go for it. The only thing is to make sure you are using fresh mango. I can’t recommend fresh or frozen mango in this recipe.
The other thing to note is that this mango with tomato and avocado can be made ahead. There are just a few things to do. Make sure you save the pit of the avocado and add it to the assembled salad. The pit would prevent the avocado from turning brown. Also, refrain from adding this dressing to the mango, tomatoes, and avocado until ready to serve. A good trick is to make the salad and the dressing ahead, keep it refrigerated and mix later.
Final tip: Use all of the cilantro in this recipe. From the stalk down to the leaves. Chop finely and you wouldn’t have a problem. If you get your cilantro bunch with roots attached, save the roots. The cilantro roots add a lovely scent to marinates without overwhelming everything else.
Mango Salad with Tomato and Avocado
- 2 Champagne Mango cubed
- 1 Avocado Cubed
- 12 oz Cherry Tomato quartered
- 1 bunch Cilantro shredded
Lime and Soy Sauce Vinaigrette
- 1 Lime Juiced
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/4 tsp Fish Sauce
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
- 1/4 tsp White Pepper
- 1 tsp Honey
- In a shallow bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing, except the whole cumin seeds adn salt. Whisk together until honey dissolves and vinaigrette is well combined.
- Taste the dressing. Add salt to balance it out. Throw in the whole cumin seeds.
- In another bowl, combine mango, avocado, and tomatoes. Mix together. If serving immediately, add in the dressing and shredded cilantro. If serving later, store in refrigerator seperately until ready to serve.