I never ate a mango while growing up. As you well know, mangos are not native to Minnesota. My mom made sure that we experienced fresh pineapple and coconut, but mangos remained a mystery. I’m not sure why. I don’t exactly remember, but it’s an educated guess that my first exposure to mangos was of the canned variety. Nothing wrong with that, btw. Even after I moved to Florida, my first memory of fresh mangos wasn’t until after my divorce, when I tried out city living for the first time in my life. (It was also the only time I tried city life, it turns out I’m NOT a city girl). Anyway, back to the story, I bought an 85-year-old home in the heart of South Tampa. I became fast friends with another recently divorced woman who lived in the next block. It was the first time either of us had ever lived on our own. Together, we learned a new lifestyle as single women in the city.
Sex in the City – NOT!
Trust me; it was a far cry from “Sex in the City” (although we thought we were hot stuff at the time). Together we mastered several new skills, including learning how to eat with chopsticks, the fundamentals of feng shui decorating, and how to cut a mango. I’m not sure if I could have even recognized a fresh mango at the grocery store, let alone what to do with it. But I learned!
I fell in love with the sweet and juicy fruit. From May to October, it’s mango season in Florida, and I’m delighted to share one of my most early (and easiest) mango creations from my past life.
This fresh, colorful, crunchy, sweet, spicy, and herby salsa is perfect for hot summer days! No cooking is required, and it’s so healthy! It checks all the essential boxes – ✅vegan, ✅dairy-free, ✅gluten-free, and ✅plant-based. Unfortunately, mangoes are not ❌keto-friendly, too many carbs. (As an alternative, check out my Watermelon Salsa – It’s keto-friendly!)
Mango is the star ingredient
The mango is the star of this salsa. Red pepper and red onion are the other significant players, and the heat comes from a jalapeno. Feel free to use a serrano if you want to kick it up a few degrees. Herby cilantro offers a punch of citrusy notes, while the lime juice balances out the sweetness of the mango. A healthy pinch of salt brightens up all the flavors. These ingredients are for each other!
Cutting the mango is a little tricky if you’ve never done it before, but no worries, it’s not hard, and there are no extra points for neatness. The mango pit or seed is not round. It’s flat-ish and oblong, located in the center of the fruit. There are all sorts of techniques (google it) for cutting the perfect mango cubes, but I opt for easy. I cut off the cheeks of the fruit and then the two remaining sides, as close to the seed as I can. Then make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in each section, “trying” not to cut through the peel. Push out the section so that the cut segments are sticking out like a hedgehog. Carefully slice them off as cubes. If there is enough flesh left of the pit, I’ll cut it away and cube it too. If any of the cubes are too big, cut them in half.
Shortcut for cleaning herbs
I use a salad spinner to clean the cilantro. It’s a fabulous invention! Many hands have touched bundled herbs in the grocery store, and the salad spinner gets them super clean and keeps them from getting waterlogged. Cilantro stems are tender, flavorful, and — most importantly — edible. Chop them up right along with the leaves.
The red peppers combine the sweetness of yellow and orange peppers with the spiciness of green peppers. The easiest way to tackle a red bell pepper is to remove the core by cutting the top and slicing the pepper lengthwise in half. Cut the halves in strips and chop the strips into small pieces.
The jalapeno packs the perfect amount of heat. Depending on the size of the pepper, a half will usually be enough. Use more or less, per taste. As aforementioned, for a spicier bite, substitute a serrano pepper for the jalapeno.
Fresh lime juice offers a brightness that bottled juice can’t duplicate. That said, bottled juice will work just fine! If no lime is available, substitute fresh lemon or lemon juice.
Putting it together
Once the fresh ingredients are all prepped, everything gets mixed in a bowl. The salsa will be ready in 15 minutes, but it will even be better if you can wait a few hours! It takes about 2-3 hours in the fridge for the flavors to mingle and get friendly, reaching maximum YUM.
As a snack or a starter, tortilla chips are always a good pairing. If you’re eating healthy or vegan, try serving the salsa with jicama slices. If you’re not familiar with jicama, its flesh is juicy and crunchy, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Some think it tastes like a cross between a potato and a pear. Others compare it to a water chestnut. Mango Salsa is also delicious over grilled chicken, fish, shrimp, or tacos. For a very impressive brunch, try using the salsa as a topping for omelets – it’s fabulous! Enjoy.
Easy Mango SalsaCourse: Starter, Sides, SnacksCuisine: Mexican-InspiredDifficulty: Easy
This simple and colorful mango salsa uses fresh ingredients and is full of sweet, tangy, spicy, and herby flavors. Enjoy as a snack, a starter, salad, or side dish.
• 1 ripe mangoes
• ¼ large red onion (or ½ small onion)
• 2 large handfuls cilantro (2 tablespoons chopped)
• 1/2 jalapeño pepper
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 1 lime – juiced (2 tablespoons)
• ¼ teaspoon salt
- Chop the mangos into small cubes. Finely mince the onion. Chop the cilantro. Remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeño pepper, taking care to properly shield your hands and eyes from the juice, then finely dice the pepper. Juice the lime.
- Mix the mango, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust flavors as desired to balance the sweetness of the mango with the sour lime and spicy pepper. The salsa will be ready to serve in 15 minutes. Chilling in the fridge for 2-3 hours will allow the flavors to fully develop.