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Strawberry, Mango and Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

May 31, 2012

In addition to my recently mentioned strawberry obsession, this year I’m crushing hard on mangoes and avocados as well.

It’s taken me a few years to figure out that I don’t really care for the standard reddish green mangoes you usually find in the grocery store. (It’s also taken me until just now to find out that when spelling the plural of mango, both ‘mangos’ and ‘mangoes’ is correct.) For a while I thought I was just cursed with picking unripe mangoes, resulting in fruit that tasted fibrous and not sweet enough. Turns out that’s just how the reddish-green variety of mangoes tastes, even when ripe. Not my favorite.

Give me some sweet, buttery champagne mangoes though and I’ll happily scarf down 6 in one week. Who knew?

Avocados and I have had a rough past too. I used to think I didn’t like them at all. They were weirdly slimy and I hated guacamole (the only way I’d ever eaten avocados). Turns out I was mistaken in this case too. It wasn’t the avocado I hated in guacamole, it was the cilantro.

That’s right, I’m a cilantro hater. I wish I liked cilantro but it just tastes like soap to me. The good news is that I do like avocados, especially in salads.

A few weeks ago I threw together this salad to include all of my current produce obsessions. The first time I ate it, it was so good I bragged about it on Twitter… but I dumbly didn’t write the recipe down. So I recreated that wonderful salad for you, so that you may have a lunch worth bragging about.

I love the sweetness of the strawberries and mangoes, and the avocado is so creamy it practically melts into the salad. Even though the dressing is honey balsamic, it’s not too sweet and it maintains a good tang that balances the fruits well. I like to add grilled chicken for protein. I normally add chopped pecans as well, but I’m currently out of them. That’s OK though – it’s still a great salad without them. This salad is flexible enough to stand up to all sorts of variations. All week I’ve been eating a version with roasted shrimp instead of chicken. YUM.

This salad is a combination of my favorite flavors of the season this year. I hope you enjoy it too!

Strawberry, Mango and Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 2 as an entree salad with 1/4 cup of dressing

My favorite mangos are the small yellow Ataulfo mangos, sometimes called champagne mangoes. They’re sweet, creamy, not at all fibrous and have a small pit. Their peak availability is during the Spring and Summer months so get them while they last! You can substitute regular lime juice if key lime is not available.

Vinaigrette Ingredients

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Key Lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Salad Ingredients

4 cups greens, chopped (I use Romaine and Spinach)
8 strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 small avocado
1 small champagne mango
1/4 cup pecan halves, chopped (optional)
1 grilled chicken breast, sliced (optional)

Directions

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a 2-cup measuring cup or small, deep bowl. Blend with immersion blender until emulsified. (Check to make sure the honey doesn’t stick to the bottom!)

Alternately: Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, then slowly pour in olive oil while whisking briskly until emulsified.

Divide greens among two bowls. Add strawberries. Cut avocado in half. Dice each half with a paring knife and scoop out avocado, using one half for each salad. (Video: How to dice avocado) Repeat with mango, dicing half for each salad. (Video: How to cut a mango. I like to dice and scoop mine out just like the avocados.) Add chopped pecans and sliced chicken, if desired. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for a week or so. Salad can be prepared (undressed) ahead and stored tightly covered in the fridge for up to 6 hours. (I find the avocado doesn’t brown in that period of time.) Add dressing just before serving.

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16 Comments
  1. Tammy permalink
    May 31, 2012 12:13 pm

    YUM!

  2. May 31, 2012 12:16 pm

    I love the champagne mangos, you’re right, they are much tastier than the other reddish variety. This salad sounds amazing and perfect for summer, can’t wait to try it!

  3. May 31, 2012 12:21 pm

    Love this and the pictures are wonderful. I’ve eaten champagne mangoes before and I like them much better than the reddish-green ones as well. So much more sweetness and flavor.

  4. Sarah permalink
    May 31, 2012 1:27 pm

    I also prefer champagne mangoes to regular ones! The salad sounds really good.

  5. May 31, 2012 2:23 pm

    I know you get this all the time – but what utterly beautiful photos. I don’t really know much about different types of mango – I shall have to try a few out. Thanks for the heads up :)

  6. A Table in the Sun permalink
    May 31, 2012 3:53 pm

    I adore cilantro, but I know what you mean by the soapy taste. Cilantro is the only item I have grown in my own garden that wasn’t better than produce from a store. It tasted like soap, and despite being a cilantro lover, I couldn’t eat it. However…..here in California, we have awesome cilantro in every store… and it’s cheap. I buy it weekly. I wonder if it’s the soil that makes it soapy tasting, or the variety?

  7. wherethedaytakesme permalink
    May 31, 2012 5:04 pm

    I love mangos in my salad.

  8. May 31, 2012 9:38 pm

    I love the photos, and I love mangoes and avocadoes and pecans :) I don’t like guacamole either, though, so maybe I don’t like cilantro! Your photos are gorgeous… so light and airy and summery!

  9. May 31, 2012 10:05 pm

    Wonderful photos Theresa, you certainly have a knack with capturing images full of light but still maintaining vivid colours. Can ask what camera you use?

    The salad combo sounds lovely as well and reminds me of a salad I recently had with fresh raspberries and avocado with a balsamic dressing. Lovely!

  10. June 1, 2012 12:23 am

    yummy pictures and salad. All my current favorite ingredients :) Nice
    what kind of camera?

  11. June 1, 2012 11:17 am

    nice shots….salad looks so refreshing..

  12. PushDumpFatButton permalink
    June 1, 2012 11:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

  13. June 2, 2012 6:50 am

    Hi,
    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award as I enjoy your blog, the pictures and the recipes!!
    If you’d like to read and repost the award, here’s the link: http://midihideaways.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/flowers-flowers-everywhere/
    Look forward to reading more of your posts,
    Andreas

  14. AlyaVille permalink
    June 2, 2012 5:45 pm

    *Sigh*… can I have this now? It sounds marvelous and refreshing and just perfect for the hot weather…
    FYI you might want to try an indian grocery store for some other juicy kinds of mangos. I love all kinds, including champagne mangos, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

  15. Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand permalink
    June 12, 2012 6:29 am

    I’ve never tried Strawberry, Mango and Avocado together in a salad before but you make it sound very tempting. I came across your blog via the WordPress email and just thought I would pop by and say hello. I am adding your beautiful blog to my reading list :-)

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