This salsa is so simple and fresh, I bet you will be making it all summer while the mangoes are ripe! This mango salsa uses just 6 ingredients, mangoes, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and salt, and is ready in the time needed to cut up the ingredients.
How this recipe came to be
I used to work at a local Mexican joint in high school called El Parador. The restaurant served all sorts of Mexican food in a tropical-themed atmosphere (there were literally trees growing inside the building and fake parrots hanging on their perches). We used to have to wear colorful Hawaiian-style shirts as part of our uniform to go with the restaurant theme…they were bright and hideous. The only thing brighter than the shirts was the mango salsa. And it was definitely not hideous.
It was served with chicken taquitos, fish tacos, and the most fabulous goat cheese quesadillas. I used to sneak it in the kitchen on breaks, with warm tortilla chips. It was heaven. Fresh, chunky, and cool.
Although I worked there through high school and college, I never asked for the recipe. Sadly, the restaurant no longer exists. It closed many years ago and the building with its tropical trees has since been demolished. While I don’t know the original recipe for that delicious salsa, it has inspired me to create my own version which I am sharing with you here!
Tips for Chunky Restaurant-Style Mango Salsa
I usually use Ataúlfo variety mangoes here in Mexico. In English, these go by the same name or are sometimes marketed as “champagne” or “honey” mangoes. I love these mangoes because they have a smaller seed than other varieties, which means more edible flesh per weight. And I love that the flesh is smooth and not fibrous like some other varieties. I remember, however, using whatever mango was ripe and on sale for this salsa when I lived in the US.
How to tell if a mango is ripe
Since there are a variety of mangoes of different colors, you cannot tell ripeness from color alone. Some varieties change color as they ripen, but others don’t. The best way to tell if a mango is ripe is by feel. Judging the ripeness of a mango is similar to judging the ripeness of an avocado. If the flesh gives a little when squeezed, that is an indicator that the mango is ripe and ready to eat! Anything rock hard is not ripe yet and anything super soft or mushy is overly ripe.
How to dice a mango
There are probably lots of ways to “skin a mango,” but this is the way I learned! Mangoes have a long, flat seed in the center of the fruit. You need to cut around this seed to easily dice the mango.
- Start by placing the mango so the narrower part of the mango is facing you and your cutting board (like the mango on the left in the first photo below)
- Slice the mango on one side starting about 1/4 inch from the centerline of the mango
- Repeat on the other side. The middle part that is left contains the seed. Set this piece aside.
- Carefully slice a grid pattern into the mango flesh on the 2 remaining pieces, taking care not to slice through the mango skin
- Hold the mango so that the skin is facing down and the cut side is facing up. Gently press the middle of the skin to push the cut part of the flesh upwards, creating an arch with the mango.
- Gently slice the flesh away from the skin
- And voila…diced mango!
The other ingredients
Although the mango is the star here, the other ingredients bring everything together. Look at how colorful these ingredients are! It’s like eating a rainbow!
Could you use white onion? I suppose so. But the red onion looks so much better. Could you substitute the red bell pepper for green, orange, or yellow? Sure, but again, you won’t get the awesome contrasting colors that make this salsa so pretty.
You could substitute serrano for jalapeño if you wanted something spicier. Or you could use a green bell pepper if you wanted a completely mild salsa.
What to eat with Chunky Restaurant-Style Mango Salsa
This salsa is so delicious I devour it with just plain corn chips. You could also use this to top grilled fish tacos, quesadillas, or crunchy rolled taquitos. Or what about some tropical-style nachos, topped with this amazing salsa? Spread some corn chips on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with queso fresco. Bake until the cheese is soft and melted, then top with this salsa for super simple nachos!
Chunky Restaurant-Style Mango Salsa
- 3 medium mangoes, diced about 1.5 cups
- 1 red bell pepper, diced about 1 cup
- 1/2 red onion, diced about 1 cup
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
- Juice of 3 limes about 1/2 cup
- Salt to taste
- Place mangoes, bell pepper, onion, jalapeño in a medium bowl
- Add lime juice and salt to taste
- Stir throughly to blend flavors
- Serve immediately or store covered in fridge for up to 3 days