I’m not the first person, nor will I be the last, to present the classic black bean and mango salad on a food blog. It’s a pretty brilliant combination, both in terms of flavor and the visual appeal. I don’t see avocado added to the mix very often, and it’s a fantastic third major component.
If you can’t find a perfectly ripe avocado, this salad will still be excellent. You can, however, add any one or two of the ingredients suggested in the notes section of the recipe box instead of (or in addition to) the avocado.
Perfect pairings: This salad is fantastic with spicy dishes (that don’t themselves contain beans), grilled vegetables, and leafy wraps.
Cutting a mango: It isn’t too difficult (though admittedly not a lot of fun). Here’s a good tutorial on how to cut a mango efficiently.
Use any variety of mango: Tommy Atkins is the most common variety in the U.S., and it’s available most months of the year. A lot of people like honey (aka Ataulfo) mangos.
Make sure there’s a little give when you press on it; not too much, though, as an overripe mango isn’t optimal for this salad; nor is an underripe one. Learn more about mango varieties and seasonality.
Alternatives to fresh mango: All this being said, you can use canned or frozen mango if you’d like a shortcut or when fresh mangos aren’t in season in your area. If using canned, make sure to use a brand that is neither packed in heavy syrup nor uses artificial sweeteners. And when it comes to frozen mango, I think organic packs more flavor.
- 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium perfectly ripe mango, peeled and diced
- 1 medium firm, ripe avocado, peeled and diced
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon or lime, to taste
- Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves as desired
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 jalapeño or other chili pepper, seeded and minced, or dried red pepper flakes, to taste
- Combine the beans, mango, avocado, lemon or lime juice, and cilantro in a serving bowl. Add a few grindings of pepper and stir together.
- If you’d like, add the olive oil for a little richness, and the jalapeño or red pepper flakes for a little heat, and stir again.
- If time allows, let the salad stand for a few minutes so that the flavors can blend; otherwise, serve at once.
Variation: As mentioned in the headnote, you can add any one of the following instead of, or in addition to, the avocado:
- Red bell peppers or roasted red pepper, finely diced (1 medium)
- Lightly cooked fresh corn kernels (from about 1 ear of corn; can we skip the frozen corn this time? It’s not the same)
- Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (about a cup)
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