Make Ahead

Quinoa & Mango Salad With Lemony-Ginger Dressing

May 10, 2012
10 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves Serves 4-6 as a main course, 6-8 as a starter
Author Notes

This salad has its roots in a salsa. Trader Joe's used to carry a mango-black bean salsa that I thought was the best on the planet; I used to eat it right from the jar. They stopped making it for a while, and that's when I began improvising and making it myself. At one point it hit me: Can't I make this a meal? So here we are. I've added other things I can't do without, like onions and avocado. You can certainly omit roasting the onions, but try it at least once with them roasted – the flavor really adds to this dish. The sweetness of the onions and mango plays well with the dressing.

In the summer I switch it up a little and grill the components (onion, mango and avocado), and sometimes add grilled corn.

I'm not a huge fan of heat in my dishes, so I don't call for any here, but spicy-fans may want to throw in a little minced jalapeno or chile pepper.

Test Kitchen Notes

Love at first bite! jennybgood layers her flavors and textures in such a way that each bite of her salad is a bit different, and all are exquisite. I love that she gives the cook a choice of different quinoas to use (I had red and white, so I blended them), as well as different greens (I used a mixture of mesclun and red cabbage). The black beans and mangoes are heavenly together, and his suggestion to squeeze the mango pits to extract their juice is sheer genius. The combination of sweet mango with her lemony-ginger dressing is divine. The crisp, deeply-flavored onions and the creamy, tender avocado wrap everything together like the gift that this salad is. —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • Quinoa and Mango Salad
  • 1 cup regular, red or black quinoa, rinsed well in a strainer
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 mangoes
  • 1 large red onion, halved stem to root and slivered
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups micro greens (I used a rainbow blend package from Whole Foods herb section: mizuna, curly cress, red and yellow beet, arugula, cabbage) – if not available, mesclun, spring or baby greens are fine, rinsed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 avocados, halved, pitted and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lemony-Ginger Dressing
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the quinoa: In a saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until most or all of the water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. The little "tails" should pop free from the grain and it should still be pretty chewy. If any liquid remains, strain the quinoa. I usually add it to a strainer either way and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process, then continue to fluff it every so often as I'm preparing the other ingredients.
  3. Toss onion slivers with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes. Resist stirring until they begin to brown, then stir occasionally; not too much or they will not brown as nicely. Remove when they are soft and nicely colored. Let cool.
  4. Pit and dice mangoes. Try to squeeze out some of the juices from the fibrous part surrounding the pit before discarding it – there's often a lot of juice in that section. Add it to the diced mangoes
  5. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice. Whisk in the ginger and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Assemble the salad: Mix the quinoa, mango (and juices), black beans, and cilantro together. Spread the micro greens on a large plate and layer the quinoa mixture over the greens. Top with the roasted onions and the avocado slices. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MessyBaker
  • Plants-Rule
  • Cheryl
  • Melanie Jane
    Melanie Jane
  • Transcendancing

53 Reviews

MessyBaker June 15, 2022
Even tho I didn´t follow the recipe to a T, (missed like 2 ingredients & omitted couple steps), this salad was outstandingly delicious. I belive this salad is enjoyed more by those who like simple flavors put together for a slightly sweet, smoky, creamy, nutty and refreshing dish.
NXL July 27, 2019
This recipe is fantastic. I was worried it would be bland, but the creamy black beans and avocado plus that little bit of ginger in the dressing made a great combo.
Suzy Q. July 22, 2019
Thank you for this recipe. I love mangos and will try it this week. Only one thing...I'm not much of a quinoa fan and try to stay away from rice... ideas? Thank you all for,your reviews they're very helpful.
Plants-Rule May 30, 2019
Love this recipe! Thanks for sharing!
Plants-Rule May 30, 2019
Love this recipe! Added a teaspoon of fresh turmeric to the dressing and swapped out the olive oil for tahini for an oil-free option. Love mangos and black beans!
Cheryl June 26, 2017
Great lunch! (or dinner). I would add an additional mango next time and use lime juice instead of lemon (or 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon). I added much more ginger--about a tablespoon. My friend just loved this.
jenniebgood June 27, 2017
Glad you liked it, and loved your ideas as well!
Cheryl March 21, 2019
This time I added the extra mango and used lime + more ginger. I liked it! Next time, some minced jalapeno (minus seeds and membrane) and possibly some red or green pepper for crunch.
Cheryl March 24, 2019
Added in jalapeno and green pepper. Loved it!
Melanie J. September 13, 2016
This is super! Been *trying to be good about prepping lunch stuff before the beginning of the week so I threw this together Sunday afternoon. Made some alterations; being a dummy I forgot to buy beans so there's that, then I DID buy basil (I was sure I read it on there somewhere), I also minced a jalapeño
and added it to the mango. Since I'm packing this for my work lunch everyday I keep everything mostly separate. In the morning I just add the quinoa, mango & jalapeño mixture, and the onions (I also throw in some black sesame seeds) to one of my bento box containers then I fill the other container with my greens. I also quadrupled the dressing b/c the initial recipe didn't seem like it was quite enough to stretch out over 4-5 lunches plus, hey-more dressing! I was also out of OO so I subbed with coconut oil, this is not really notable other than the oil keeps solidifying and I have to zap my dressing bottle in the microwave for like 10 seconds to get it fluid again. At lunch time I just grab a plate from the office kitchen then plop the greens & herbs on the bottom and top with the quinoa/fruit mixture along with the avocado and dressing and voila! Healthy and delicious!

One additional note, while being super healthy and delicious, I did not feel like this was the fastest thing to throw together, just fyi.
macfadden July 30, 2016
This was great. I did toss everything together at the end rather than making layers as suggested, because I thought this might distribute the dressing better, but made no substitutions. Tasty stuff!
Transcendancing January 15, 2016
Really enjoyed this! I had to swap out black beans for chickpeas but it worked really well. Also added a small chilli to the dressing which was a nice zing. Mangoes are in season here at the moment so this felt so decadent, and yet light and healthy!
Hannah M. December 5, 2015
Delicious! Made it with lambs lettuce, persimmons, pickled spring onion, and with lemongrass and ginger in the dressing. Also left out the beans. Is it still the same salad? Probably not. Is it still delicious? ABSOLUTELY :)
Sierra S. August 3, 2015
So delicious!! I subbed microgreens with ribbons of kale for an extra health boost! Really wonderful flavors!
Skiingstella July 7, 2015
Really tasty...thanks!
jenniebgood July 7, 2015
Glad you like it -thank you!
boulangere July 6, 2015
So glad to see this lovely salad featured.
jenniebgood July 7, 2015
Thanks Cynthia!
josette D. July 6, 2015
Thank you so God bless you
jenniebgood July 7, 2015
Thanks Josette!
Kaede S. July 13, 2014
We made this recently and we thought it was lovely. We couldn't find good mangoes and substituted nectarines. It was perfect and when assembled,it looked beautiful!
Towles March 27, 2014
This was so delicious. I served roasted salmon on the side and there were no leftovers! Yum!
jenniebgood March 30, 2014
Love the idea of salmon as well -thanks Towles!
Kelly D. December 13, 2013
Made this for dinner last night. Fantastic! Love the bold flavors and colors. Makes a beautiful plate and tastes so wholesome! Definitely making this again. Thanks for the recipe!
jenniebgood March 19, 2014
Thanks so much Kelly - glad you liked it!
Kay M. July 23, 2013
Just learned of greatness of mango...loved it, and am very anxious to prepare this!!
jenniebgood March 19, 2014
Thanks Kay - let me know if you like it - Jenn
Vstarr71 July 9, 2013
Yum! Had this as a light dinner last night! Topped it with a few large shrimp! Perfect summer dinner! Thank you:))
Aura July 25, 2013
With shrimp..... That's a good idea. Will try it next.
jenniebgood March 19, 2014
Vstarr71 and Aura - I love the idea of shrimp - it sounds perfect for a summer meal!
SuzanneRobin July 8, 2013
So delicious! Given the 90+ degree heat in NYC this week, I decided to add a few tablespoons of finely diced raw red onion to spare my apartment the heat of my oven! So summery, healthy, and yummy!
jenniebgood July 9, 2013
Thank you SuzanneRobin - I'm so glad you liked it!