Colourful summer mango salad recipe that is bursting with fresh, vibrant tropical flavours. Effortless to put together, the combination of sweet mangoes and toasted coconut flakes with a tangy lime dressing is utterly delicious.
Why You’ll Love Our Mango Salad Recipe
There are many ways to create a mango salad recipe. The sweet juicy flesh of mango is such a wonderful pairing with so many different ingredients.
With tropical flavours in mind, I wanted to create a delicious balance of sweet, sour, savoury and crunch in one mouthful.
The sweet golden mangoes are perfect with crisp red cabbage, pops of juicy cherry tomatoes, aromatic roasted coconut flakes and crunchy peanuts with a tangy lime and fish sauce dressing.
This combination of mango salad is not only delicious but also healthy with all the different colours of fruit and vegetables. There is a reason why many health bodies say to eat the rainbow!
What I love about this summer salad recipe is the vibrancy of flavours as well as the amazing textures together. Plus, the little effort you need to create a wonderfully colourful dish to serve during summer barbecues, potluck gatherings and outdoor picnics.
What Types of Mangoes to Use in Salads?
There are approximately 10 or so types of mangoes grown in Australia, but globally there are over 1000 varieties.
The most popular types of mangoes in Australia are the Kensington Pride, Calypso, Honey Gold and R2E2 – all golden yellow mangoes with delicious sweet flesh when ripe.
We also grow the green varieties Nam Doc Mai and Keo Savoy which are eaten crunchy with a sweet tang flavour. Nam Doc Mai will turn yellow when ripe whilst Keo Savoy stays green even when ripe.
Each type of mango has a unique flavour and texture, which means some will be better suited to salads than others.
For classic Thai mango salads, green mangoes are commonly used as they provide a delicious bite and the tangy flavour offsets the salty fish sauce dressings nicely. I loved matching green mangoes with salty tamarind dressing.
For golden yellow types of mangoes, you can have it with spicy mango salsa with avocado
or even puree the mango as a sweet base for a fresh fig salad recipe.
How To Cut a Mango For Salad
There are many ways you can cut a mango for salad.
The most popular one would have to be diced mango cubes. You can also cut a mango into long strips, as demonstrated in our guava salad.
Alternatively, for something different, try slicing the mangoes into fan shapes like our mango avocado salad with chorizo. This creates a composed salad versus the usual tossed mango salad.
To dice a mango, I like to cut the mango lengthwise from each side of the fruit (aka the cheeks) as close to the mango pit as possible and then use a large spoon to scoop the mango cheeks out of the peel before cutting into cubes.
Flavours/Textures: When building a salad, you want layers of vegetables/fruit and toppings that create a delicious mouthfeel and crunchy texture. This salad with mango recipe has it all with juicy mangoes against red cabbage plus crunchy peanuts and coconut flakes.
For flavour, the sweetness of the mangoes is wonderfully offset by the zesty lime fish sauce dressing. And the toasted coconut flakes really give the salad all the tropical vibes.
Ease: No cooking is involved, just a few chopping tasks. This is an easy mango salad to make.
Time: Not only effortless to make, but it is also a quick side salad to whip up. I estimate no more than 20 minutes to make.
These are the main ingredients you need for tropical mango salad:
Mango: Any variety of mangoes would work for this salad. Choose 2-3 ripe but firm mangoes.
Red cabbage: I love the texture of red cabbage against the soft juicy mango. Plus, the red-purple hues against the bright yellow mangoes are so summery!
Cherry tomatoes: Summer is the best season for tomatoes, so it is clear to add juicy cherry tomatoes to a summer salad.
Toasted coconut flakes: This is the more surprising ingredient in the salad. It is not one to omit because coconut flakes really add tropical flavour to the salad!
I love the nutty flavours of toasted coconut flakes. Plus, the wider flakes add a noticeable crunch to the overall mouthfeel.
Mint: Strangely, mango and mint are delicious food pairings. The freshness of mint offsets the sweetness of mango.
Peanuts: Use roasted peanuts if you can. If you only have raw peanuts, dry toast them in a frying pan before adding them to salad.
Lime: I am using both lime zest and juice in the recipe. The lime zest is fragrant and gives an extra zesty aroma to the salad. The lime juice counterbalances the fish sauce in the tangy dressing.
Fish sauce: A pantry staple for us, the umami fish sauce ties all the sweetness of the salad together.
Variations and Substitutions
Substitute for toasted coconut flakes: If you can’t find pre-toasted coconut flakes, you can lightly toast plain coconut flakes on the frying pan. Alternatively, you can substitute with coconut chips. They will be slightly crunchier in texture.
Vegan option: Switch the fish sauce with a vegan fish sauce or soy sauce in the salad dressing if you need a vegetarian salad.
Nut alternatives: Omit peanuts for a nut-free salad recipe or switch to pine nuts or cashews.
Spicy version: I have previously made this recipe with chilli peanuts, where I toasted the peanuts with chilli flakes before adding them to the salad. You can still do this or add fresh chilli to the dressing for a spicy mango salad.
Increase the lime juice: I love a zestier dressing and would sometimes add more lime juice. It is up to your preference.
Step by step instructions for how to make mango salad recipe:
How to Prepare the Salad
Cut the mango lengthwise from each side of the fruit (aka the cheeks!) as close to the mango pit as possible.
Then, scoop each mango cheek out of the peel using a large spoon.
Place mango cheek on chopping board and dice into cubes.
Thinly shred red cabbage. You can use a mandolin or sharp knife.
Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Wash mint leaves and shake dry.
Roughly chop toasted peanuts.
How to Make Fish Sauce Lime Vinaigrette
For this mango salad dressing, dissolve brown sugar in hot water in a small bowl.
Add fish sauce, lime juice and grapeseed oil and mix well.
How To Assemble Salad
In a large mixing bowl, place red cabbage, cherry tomatoes and mango. Mix together gently.
Add half the portion of roasted coconut flakes and peanuts to salad. Lightly toss together.
Dress salad and mix well to make sure the ingredients are well coated.
However, do be careful with the mangoes as you don’t want to squash them and make them mushy, especially if you have very ripe ones.
Tear mint leaves into mixing bowl.
On a large serving plate, tumble salad onto plate.
Zest lime over salad, scatter remaining roasted coconut flakes and peanuts on top to serve.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
Choosing the mangoes: I have had friends who made this salad but with mangoes that were too ripe. The flavours will be fine, but the texture of the salad will be a bit too soft. Look for ripe mangoes but still firm to hold.
Choosing the right oil for the salad dressing: I initially tried coconut oil in this mango salad dressing to test the coconut oil flavour with the mango and roasted coconut flakes.
However, I completely forgot that coconut oil returns to solid form when it cools to room temperature! I later discovered liquid coconut oil that could work in the dressing or by mixing it with olive oil. Apparently, that stops it from returning to solid form.
You could go without the oil in the salad dressing, but I love the subtle aromas of avocado oil. You can, of course, substitute with grapeseed oil or mild olive oil.
So be sure to use the correct type of oil in the dressing to avoid lumps or odd textures.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with tropical mango salad? Try these delicious main dish recipes:
This sweet tropical mango salad with the bite of the fish sauce lime vinaigrette is such a great accompaniment for this roasted duck legs with black pepper sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can prep the salad ingredients in advance, but I wouldn’t dress the salad until ready to serve.
This salad is best consumed on the day. It does not keep well overnight due to the ripe mango.
Give it a gentle squeeze. A ripe mango will give slightly. Don’t focus too much on the colours, as the pink, red and orange hues do not indicate ripeness.
In Australia, mangoes are a clear sign that summer has arrived. When in season, mangoes are often sold in large trays at very affordable prices.
Therefore we need to be creative and use this delicious tropical fruit in various ways. Mangoes do freeze well so that they can be stored for later use.
* Start the day with a healthy mango and coconut chia pudding for breakfast.
* Adding a scoop of good vanilla ice cream with slices of mango.
* Throw into a mango smoothie for a refreshing drink.
* Spoil your family with our lobster salad with mango lime dressing.
* Try making your own mango chutney.
* You could make a tray of sweet mango granita similar to our tangelo granita.
* Lightly grilled mangoes with barbequed fish adds a refreshing touch. Grilling mango adds depth to the recipe with the slight caramelisation of the flesh.
* Bring a tropical pavlova at your next gathering with lashings of fresh whipped cream, passionfruit, kiwi fruit and, of course, sweet mango.
I adore the amazing colours of this tropical mango salad recipe, and it never disappoints with flavour.
It is one of my go-to salads to make over the summer season. It works so well with grilled meats and barbeque fish as it helps cut through the fatty meal.
The multiple layers of texture and flavours are in harmonious conversations with each other, giving this mango salad recipe all the delicious tropical vibes.
Tropical Mango Salad Recipe with Coconut
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Peel and cut mango into small cubes.
- Thinly shred red cabbage. You can use a mandolin or sharp knife.
- Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half.
- Wash mint leaves and shake dry.
- Roughly chop toasted peanuts.
- In a small bowl, dissolve brown sugar in hot water.
- Add fish sauce, lime juice and avocado oil and mix well.
- In a large mixing bowl, place red cabbage, cherry tomatoes and mango. Mix together gently.
- Add half the portion of roasted coconut flakes and peanuts to salad. Mix again.
- Dress salad and mix well to ensure the ingredients are well coated.
- Tear mint leaves into mixing bowl.
- On a large serving plate, tumble salad onto plate.
- Zest lime over salad, scatter remaining roasted coconut flakes and peanuts on top to serve.
- If you can’t find pre-toasted coconut flakes, you can lightly toast plain coconut flakes on the fry pan. Alternatively, you can substitute with coconut chips. They will be slightly crunchier in texture.
- Avoid overripe mangoes. Look for ripe mangoes but still firm to hold.
- Switch the fish sauce to a vegan fish sauce or soy sauce in the salad dressing if you need a vegan salad.
- Omit peanuts for a nut-free salad recipe, or switch to pine nuts or cashews.
- For a spicy mango salad, add fresh chilli into the dressing and gently toast the peanuts with chilli flakes before adding them to the salad.
- Add more lime juice for a zestier fish sauce dressing. It is up to your preference.
- You can build your own mango salad with additional ingredients such as avocado, red bell peppers, fresh corn, jalapeno, chilli flakes, arugula and cilantro.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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