Make Ahead

Mango Salad with Fennel Frond Pesto

May  8, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Henry and I eat ungodly amounts of ataulfo mangos each week. Often, I'll cut most of the fleshy bits off the peeled mangos and puree them in the blender with some whole milk yogurt, milk, and agave nectar for a quick lassi while Henry gnaws on the pit. For this contest, I wanted to make a light and refreshing salad à la Lena S's Plum Avocado Summer Salad, featuring mangos and fennel. The two pair together really nicely, I think, and I was happy to be able to use all of the fennel fronds along with the bulb -- they're so lovely. And, bonus, the fennel frond pesto stays green for a surprisingly long time, so this is a great make-ahead or picnic salad. —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

What a lovely combination of ingredients for a salad. It's light and fresh, yet substantial enough to be served as a vegetarian meal or side dish with a piece of fish or chicken. I would 'up' the quantity of lemon slightly as I think the acid pairs nicely again the sweetness of the mango. If you only have a lime in the fridge, use it's a superb combination, as well! —Victoria Ross

What You'll Need
  • 1 bulb fennel with fronds
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated on a microplane
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated on a microplane
  • Juice of one lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large or 3 small ripe ataulfo or champagne mangos
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Make the Fennel Frond and Ginger Pesto: Shear the feathery fronds from the fennel bulb, leaving the thick stalks behind and chop the fronds roughly (you should have about 2 cups). Combine the chopped fronds, grated ginger, grated garlic, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a few times to incorporate. With the food processor running, pour in the 6 tablespoons of olive oil and process until combined. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and season to taste with kosher salt.
  2. Assemble the Salad: Trim the root and stalks from the fennel bulb and slice it thinly, cutting from root to stem. Peel the mangos and cut the flesh from the pit and slice into long, thin strips. Add the sliced fennel bulb and mango to the bowl with the pesto and toss gently to combine. Top with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
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I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).

20 Reviews

Tracy B. January 3, 2021
I have made this recipe so many times the past few years, and it is still one of my family's favorites. I sometimes throw in diced apple as well just to make the salad go further, and I find both ways to be equally delicious.
Tony S. March 17, 2020
This recipe was great! Served it with seared ahi.
Peggy G. March 8, 2017
Does every bit if fennel get used I this recipe?
Hilarybee May 3, 2013
I really like this recipe. Mango and fennel are my favorites. I've made it twice, and the first time I did find it to be a little too garlicky. I omitted it last time and enjoyed it more.
Leo S. May 1, 2013
JaneMiami June 6, 2012
I am staring at fat mangoes on the trees...just waiting for them to ripen! Can't wait to try this recipe.
Sounds delicious. Many thanks
arielleclementine June 6, 2012
oh thank you, JaneMiami! and lucky you for your tree-ripened mangos- how wonderful! i hope you like it :)
jenniebgood May 26, 2012
Congratulations arielleclementine-I love the idea of paring fennel and mango!
arielleclementine May 27, 2012
thanks jenniebgood! it is a simple salad, but a nice combo, i think!
Devangi R. May 10, 2012
Anise and mango go so well together....seriously...and that too fresh..what a lovely salad to make..
Devangi R. May 23, 2012
Ok I have to tell you this..the day you posted this , I really wanted to have it. And, I had it yesterday and it was fabulous! I am so happy to have another salad in my recipe box. Loved it..Henry is so lucky! Thanks for the recipe.Next time I will grill the fennel just a little bit.
arielleclementine May 23, 2012
oh wow! thanks so much PistachioDoughnut!! i'm so happy you liked it and love the idea of grilling the fennel! :) on a related note, i read about your delicious sounding mango mousse on Documenting our Dinner ( and plan to try it as soon as humanly possible!
hardlikearmour May 9, 2012
Great combo of flavors! I think anise and mango work quite well together.
arielleclementine May 10, 2012
thanks HLA! i hadn't tried the combo before, but agree!
aargersi May 9, 2012
Yum Arielle! I know what you are bringing over next time!
arielleclementine May 10, 2012
thanks Abbie!!
gingerroot May 9, 2012
This sounds delicious. I love mango and fennel but have never put them together. I look forward to trying this ac!
arielleclementine May 10, 2012
thanks gingerroot! i'm a recent convert to fennel and anise flavors- i hated it growing up, but have really started to like it of late!
hey thanks, Bevi!
Bevi May 8, 2012
Yum - I could eat a bowl of this!