One of the best things about growing up in Florida is mangoes. I remember Sunday afternoons spent under the shade of the mango trees, slicing up fruit right there in the yard. Juicy bits of fruit dripping down my face and my arms all the way down to my elbows. Sweet, sticky, delicious mango. When summer rolls around in Florida, (the temperature change is barely discernible, mind you, but it does get MUCH HOTTER), you begin to smell the aroma of mangoes blowing in the breeze through the neighborhoods. Simply put, summer in Florida = mangoes. Mango, Avocado and Cucumber Asian-Style Salad = DELICIOUS!
I originally came across a version of this salad in Sunset magazine. If you live in the West, you’re probably familiar with Sunset. It’s my favorite magazine for everything related to food, gardening, home decor and travel. As is often the case, I’ll be leafing through a magazine or book or scrolling through a blog post and I come across a recipe that sounds really good, and so I make up my mind to try it out. I go about making mental notes of what’s currently in my fridge and then I commit to making said recipe. This would be a good course of action if I in fact confirmed my mental notes about the contents of my fridge with what is actually in the fridge. But, this is where creativity comes in, right? I eventually discover (too close to dinner time to make a trip to the grocery store) that I actually don’t have half the ingredients I thought I did and then I go about creating my own, totally delicious (most times) version of the original recipe. And that is how this recipe came to be. Ha!
Begin by making the dressing for Mango, Avocado and Cucumber Asian-Style Salad salad. The dressing can be made up to one week ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use (just be sure it comes to room temperature before using).
Unless you can find an especially small English cucumber, you’ll only be using half of a cucumber to maintain equal proportions of mango, avocado and cucumber (it’s up to you though). Alternatively, if you’re serving more than four people, you could double this recipe and use one whole cucumber, two avocados and two mangoes. Either way, you’ll want cut the cucumber in half, peel it, slice it lengthwise into fourths and then cut it into small chunks like this:
This salad combines some of my favorite summer flavors, and has a nice mix of textures – crunchy cucumber, creamy avocado, soft, ripe mango and chewy scallions.
Now it’s time for the mango. If you’re familiar with mangoes (I’ve have met people who’ve never eaten mangoes!) you remember that there’s a large, flat, oval pit inside. The best strategy for cutting mango that I know of is to position the mango so that you’re running your knife along the flat side of the pit. Slice through both sides of the pit and then score the flesh of the fruit into squares with your knife. Then, carefully release the chunks from the flesh. You’ll then want to peel the flesh around the pit and cut off the remaining flesh (this is too delicious to waste).
Word of caution – it turns out that many people are allergic to mangoes, whether it be the flesh, the skin or the pit. I hope you’re not one of them, but if you’ve never eaten mango before and you’re prone to allergic reactions, it might be wise to start with a small bite. I did a quick Google search and found this interesting article on a website called Very Well which explains the various allergic connections to mango. My mom is so allergic to the skin that her whole face will swell up for days if she as much as touches a mango. I happen to be allergic to the pit, which gives me a rash around my mouth and causes the corners of my lips to crack. My guess, though, is that if you’re reading this recipe, chances are you’re good with mango. So, let’s carry on , shall we?
Now it’s time to chop up your scallions and cilantro. Chop the avocado last so it doesn’t have time to oxidize. Once you add the dressing, the acid in the rice vinegar will keep the avocado from turning brown for a bit, so not to worry.
Toss all of your fruit, veggies and herbs into a bowl and add the dressing. I’m going to suggest you use as much or as little of the dressing as you prefer, and maybe add a dash of salt if you think it’s necessary. I love salt, but somehow I didn’t feel it was really necessary here.
I hope you enjoy this Mango, Avocado and Cucumber Asian-Style Salad. It’s as refreshing as it sounds. Let me know what you think.
Mango, Avocado and Cucumber Asian-Style Salad
For the Dressing:
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or other light flavored vegetable oil
- 1 tsp green curry paste such as Thai Kitchen brand
- 1/2 Tbsp caster sugar
- 1 small clove garlic crushed
For the Salad:
- 1/2 English cucumber peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 large mango cut into small chunks
- 1 large Haas avocado cut into chunks
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- salt to taste optional - I find it unnecessary in this salad, but some may prefer it
- black sesame seeds for garnish
- Place all ingredients for the dressing in a blender and pulse a few times until blended.
- Place all of the chopped veggies, fruit and cilantro into a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss gently. Place in individual bowls to serve and top with a light sprinkling of sesame seeds.