My fresh and flavorful Thai Mango Salad recipe introduces spicy peppers to sticky-sweet mango in a bright, invigorating bed of chiles, tomatoes, and green beans. Topped with chopped cilantro and peanuts for a quick crunch, it’s an energizing dish with a unique combination of hot, sweet, tangy, and savory flavors.
A fresh mango salad is bountiful in both flavor and nutrients. Between the mango, peppers, greens, and tomatoes, it’s rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and K as well as magnesium and potassium.
And better yet, you can make this mango salad recipe completely seasonal – all herbs and vegetables match it beautifully. Mixed greens, broccoli, and basil match the tropical tastes just as well as our tomatoes and cilantro!
The traditional way is to use unripe mango and a medium-hot chile to get as close to an authentic Thai mango salad as you can. I enjoy that, but find for Westerners, a ripe mango is just as delicious to use here.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Mangos – Unlike most mango recipes, we’re using unripened mangoes to try to achieve a similar tart flavor to the Thai green mango. Again, for Westerners, a ripe mango is just as delicious to use here.
- Green Beans & Cherry Tomatoes – I like to use these vegetables for a good mix of acidic and grassy flavors. However, you can build your salad with any vegetables: broccoli, bell peppers, etc.
- Fresno Chile – Similar in heat to a jalapeño with a fruity, somewhat smoky taste. Jalapeño and serrano peppers are great substitutes, and you could use banana peppers if you are sensitive to spice.
- Brown Sugar – This will add a deep, moist sweetness to our sauce. Honey or even maple syrup are good alternatives.
- Fish Sauce – A unique blend of salty and sweet. A combination of soy sauce and vinegar is your closest alternative.
- Lime – Juice one large lime – you need at least 3 tablespoons of juice.
- Dried Shrimp – Look to the international section of your local grocery store or an Asian market to find this ingredient. Note that the shrimp must be cooked.
- Optional Garnishes – Cilantro adds a fresh citrus flavor that melds well with the savory roasted peanuts – which will also add a nice final crunch.
Fresno chili peppers are just slightly spicier than jalapeno peppers, but they also have a fruity flavor that you won’t find in jalapenos.
Feel free to swap out any or all of these salad ingredients for ones that you prefer.
About Green Mango Fruit
Depending on where you live geographically, sourcing an actual Thai green mango may be difficult, or even impossible. For this reason, most recipes you see for Thai mango salad call for unripened mangoes.
Truth be told, while they are certainly the right color, unripe green mangoes taste nothing like sweet green mango fruit from Thailand!
The Thai sweet green mango (Mamuang Kiew Sa Wei) is extremely crunchy, with nutty and slightly floral notes.
It isn’t sweet like a juicy mango at all. Instead, the flavor and texture are similar to a crisp Granny Smith apple. It has one of the most unique, non-tropical flavors of all mango.
My point is, if you have access to them, use sweet green mango. If you don’t, it’s okay; Thai mango salad is delicious, even with completely ripe mango.
How to peel and slice mango fruit
Mangoes have a large pit in the center. For some people, peeling and slicing mangoes seems intimidating. It really isn’t difficult, especially with a couple of kitchen tools at your side.
- Use a swivel vegetable peeler or Y-peeler to remove the outer peel from the mango.
- Set the peeled fruit onto a cutting board and use a sharp Chef’s knife to slice it. Position the knife close to the center of the stem, carefully cutting along the sides of the pit. You will have two large oval pieces of mango. Now cut the two small sides off the mango pit to remove the flesh from the seed (see below).
- Lastly, use a julienne slicer, a mandoline, or Chef’s knife to slice the fruit into julienne strips.
HOW TO MAKE THAI MANGO SALAD
- Slice the Mango. Peel the fruit with a vegetable peeler. For an unripened mango use a grater like the kind you would use for cabbage salad, or a kitchen mandoline and grate the flesh of the mangoes. For a ripe mango, use a sharp, dry knife to slice the fruit away from the pit. Slice the mango chunks into strips and transfer to a bowl.
- Prepare the Other Vegetables. Cut the ends off of the green beans and slice two-thirds of them into 2” pieces. Set the remaining green beans aside, and transfer the sliced beans to the bowl. Halve the tomatoes and set aside.
- Begin the Paste. Grind the chile and garlic with a mortar and pestle into a paste. Alternatively, finely dice and mince the chile and garlic.
- Grind the Vegetables and Seasonings. Add the unsliced green beans and half of the peanuts to the paste and break it down just slightly. Follow with the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and dried shrimp. Crush and mix well – see the progress image for a look into how finely to crush the mixture.
- Sauce and Serve. Add the sauce to the sliced mangoes and beans. Toss to coat. Enjoy right away or let it chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Serve with sliced lime and top with the remaining peanuts and chopped cilantro.
Making Thai mango salad dressing
Making the dressing is very simple as well. It’s just a matter of mashing the ingredients together into a paste, which is then thinned out with juice from the limes and cherry tomatoes.
While you can certainly do this using the back of a wooden spoon and a mixing bowl, I recommend using a large granite mortar and pestle.
Not only does it work well for making pastes like this, you can also use a mortar and pestle for making your own spice blends, hummus, guacamole, and many other things! It’s a great investment for your kitchen.
- This salad tastes the best when it’s chilled, and within 3 to 4 days of making it.
- Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- Nuts are optional: If you need to accommodate a nut allergy, just omit the nuts completely. Otherwise, feel free to use another nut of your choice. Cashews, macadamia nuts, or even pistachios would be tasty on a Thai mango salad.
There’s no reason to include seafood in your salad if you won’t enjoy it. You can omit both. Or, if you just need a gluten free substitute for fish sauce, there are some gluten free brands, or you can substitute with coconut aminos.
It’s perfectly okay to substitute ripe sweet mango for sweet green mango. Of course, the flavor will be completely different, but the salad will still be delicious!
Traditionally, it would contain Thai green mango along with a variety of peppers and other vegetables, such as red onion and bean sprouts, and peanuts.
The Thai salad dressing is made of crushed chile, garlic, a vegetable mix, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and dried shrimp. It’s a rough grind using a mortar and pestle – it’s more of a chunky sauce than a true dressing.
The green mango is very unique and not at all like the sweet, sticky fruit we’re used to in the United States. It’s crunchy and firm, almost like an apple, with a tart flavor. It’s also a bit nutty.
It would be most authentic to prepare this mango salad recipe with green mango, but I understand that it’s very difficult to find in the US. That’s why we use unripe mango to try and mimic that flavor as best we can.
Thai Mango Salad
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup cilantro for garnish
- Peel the fruit with a vegetable peeler. For an unripened mango use a grater like the kind you would use for cabbage salad, or a kitchen mandoline and grate the flesh of the mangoes. For a ripe mango, use a sharp, dry knife to slice the fruit away from the pit. Slice the mango chunks into strips and transfer to a salad bowl.
- Trim the ends off the green beans and cut into 2 inch pieces. Reserving a third green beans, add remaining two thirds to salad. Cut the tomatoes in half.
- Using a mortar crush the red chile and garlic to a paste with the pestle. Alternately, you can dice the red chile fine and mince the garlic if preferred.
- Add the tomatoes, a third of the green beans, half the peanuts and crush slightly to bruise using pestle (or wooden spoon). Add brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and dried shrimp to mortar or bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Pour sauce mixture over mango and green beans, tossing to coat and mix thoroughly. Chill if preferred or serve immediately with slices of lime and garnish with remaining peanuts and chopped or micro cilantro on top.
- Typically a true Thai Mango salad uses unripened mangoes, but feel free to use ripe mangoes.
- This salad serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main course.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.