Mango Salad with Chili Lime Chicken
This Mango Salad will have you craving salad! This Mango Salad is a healthy, refreshing, delightful, tropical explosion in every forkful! It’s bursting with juicy, chili lime chicken, sweet mangos, juicy oranges, creamy avocados, crunchy bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and buttery cashews all doused in sweet and tangy Honey Lime Vinaigrette. It’s a symphony of YUM you are going to want an encore of for lunch, dinner, entertaining and potlucks. This Mango Salad is easy to make and prep ahead friendly for a meal you can throw together in minutes when ready to serve. You can also customize the Mango Salad by using more or less of your favorite ingredients. Now prepare yourself for the Mango Salad of your dreams - your sweet, tangy, crunch, creamy, refreshing, paradisaical dreams.
Servings 6 -8 servings
- 1 large head romaine lettuce rinsed, chopped
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 2 mangos chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 English cucumber sliced, halved
- 1 red or orange bell pepper chopped
- 4 clementine oranges peeled segmented
- 1 avocado sliced or chopped
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup raw cashews toasted in a skillet
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Honey Lime Vinaigrette Dressing:
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Lime zest zest of one lime
- 2-3 tablespoons honey to taste (3 for sweeter)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Prepare Chili Lime Chicken according to recipe directions (click “1 recipe chili lime chicken” in the ingredients to be taken to the recipe). While the chicken is resting, you can prep the vegetables and make the dressing.
Add Salad Dressing ingredients to a medium bowl or jar. Whisk to combine and refrigerate until ready to use. You may need more or less honey depending on how sweet your fruit is and personal “tangy” preference.
Add chopped romaine lettuce and baby spinach to a large salad bowl followed by all remaining salad ingredients. Top with sliced or chopped chicken.
You can either drizzle with dressing and toss OR if expecting leftovers, drizzle dressing over individual servings. Serve immediately.
Don't miss the "how to make" recipe video at the top of the post!
TIPS AND TICKS
- Customize ingredients. The Mango Salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions. You can use add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits.
- Use ripe ingredients. Your Mango Salad is only as good as your mangos! Choose ripe mangos for optimal sweetness. See the post for how to choose mangos. Also use sweet clementine oranges.
- Customize dressing. The actual amount of honey will depend on personal taste, how tart your lime juice is, and how sweet your fruit is. For example, my mangos and oranges were super sweet, so I only used two tablespoons.
- Marinate Chicken. You can get away with marinating the chicken for as little as 30 minutes if it is pounded thin, but the longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will become.
- Don’t over marinate chicken. On the other hand, you don’t want to marinate the chicken longer than 8 hours because lime juice can actually constrict the protein fibers and make your chicken tough and chewy.
- Pound chicken to an even thickness. Pound the thickest part of the chicken so it’s even with the thinnest part to ensure the chicken cooks evenly. You don’t want one side to be cooked perfectly and the other side to be raw or overcooked/dry.
- Let chicken rest. Let the Chili Lime Chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the chicken.
- Alternative proteins. The chicken marinade/wet rub would also be delicious on shrimp, salmon, pork or steak, so feel free to mix it up!
- Chill dressing. You’ll want to refrigerate your Mango Salad Dressing for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, so the flavors deepen and meld. Cold dressing is also much more appetizing than lukewarm dressing.
HOW TO PREP AHEAD
I love this Mango Salad because although there a few steps, you can prep almost everything in advance:
- Vegetables: can be chopped 24 hours in advance and stored in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. I will add the vegetables to separate paper towels, fold up the paper towels around the contents and place in sandwich bags - this keeps excess moisture away from the veggies to keep them fresh.
- Fruit: the mangos can be chopped and stored in a single layer on a paper towel lined plate or container and tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator.
- Dressing: can be made three days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Chicken: can be marinated 8 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also cook the chicken completely ahead of time.
- Cashews: toast cashews in a skillet up to weeks ahead of time and store in an airtight container.
HOW TO STORE & SERVE MANGO SALAD
- If not expecting leftovers: add all of the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl. You can toss everything together with the dressing or serve it on the side and let everyone dress their own salads.
- If expecting leftovers: toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large salad bowl except avocados. Serve avocados and dressing on the side. This will prevent the salad from getting as soggy when storing.
- Salad Bar. If you have picky eaters or want a fun entertaining idea, then consider a salad bar where everyone can pile on as much or as little of their favorite toppings. Everyone is a winner with a Mango Salad Bar!