This healthy Kale Mango Salad is a must-make recipe while mangoes are in season. It’s easy to make, comes together in 5 minutes, and makes for a great light side dish, lunch, or dinner (vegan, gluten-free).
About This Recipe
Kale Mango Salad is one of my favorite salads! Juicy fresh mangoes, superfood kale, and crunchy pecans, this combination is the bomb, and just screams, ‘health’.
To make this kale mango salad, fresh kale leaves are massaged until they are soft in texture, darker in color, and easy to eat. Massaging kale leaves breaks down the tough fibers making the leaves soft and flavorful.
Mango and kale salad come together in just 5 minutes and is loaded with fibers and protein. It is light on the stomach, sweet, tangy, crunchy, and nutty.
This detox salad is gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and whole 30. Serve it as a side dish with your meals or as a light lunch or dinner.
Ingredients & Variations
Mangoes – You can use any mangoes of your choice. I personally like to use Alphonso, as they are sweet and juicy. But any ripe, firm, juicy mango will work.
Kale – Kale is considered to be a superfood and is getting more popular day by day due to its nutrient levels. I used curly kale but you can use any variety of kale to make this salad.
Look for kale leaves that are bright green in color. Avoid leaves with yellow or brown spots. This discoloration means that the kale is not fresh, or was exposed to the sun for too long.
The kale should feel very sturdy, with nice tight curls or hefty, smooth leaves. The stalk and leaves should not feel loose or wilted.
Pecans – To add some crunch, I have added pecans. You can replace them with almonds or walnuts.
Cilantro – To add some more green freshness, add chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) or parsley leaves into this salad.
Dressing – To make the refreshing dressing, you will need extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
You can replace lemon juice and zest with orange juice and zest. You can replace maple syrup with honey if vegan is not your concern.
Variations – You can add some toasted coconut flakes to this salad as a garnish. It adds a nice taste and crunch to this salad along with pecans.
You can also add avocados, feta cheese, cooked quinoa, papaya, broccoli, spinach, blueberries, etc to experiment with this yummy salad and make it, even more filling and delicious.
You can also add pepitas, sunflower seeds, or any other seeds for a nice crunch.
To add some protein to this kale and mango salad, add some cooked shredded chicken or cooked shrimp. Vegetarian protein like edamame, chickpeas, tofu, etc also works great.
Health Benefits Of Kale
Kale which is a member of the cabbage family, and is also called a “Superfood ‘, is considered to be one of the most nutrient-dense food. It has many health benefits such as:
It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, copper, and magnesium. Imagine, one cup of kale is loaded with all these nutrients.
It is full of antioxidants, which are very beneficial for the overall growth of the body, and is an excellent source of vitamin C. It’s about 4.5 times richer than spinach.
It reduces cholesterol, which means less risk of heart disease.
There are many nutrients in kale, that also have cancer-fighting properties.
It is also a good source of minerals, which people generally lack and are deficient in, leading to different health problems. It can help prevent these.
Kale is also great to include in your daily diet, if you are on a weight loss journey, as it is very low in calories.
How To Make Kale Mango Salad
Start by preparing the kale leaves, mangoes, and pecan.
Wash kale leaves and discard the tough stem using a sharp paring knife. The most important thing to know about kale is that the stalk is nearly inedible. It is very bitter and fibrous and should be removed prior to cooking or using in a salad. To separate kale leaves from their stalks, cut along the edge of the stalk with the tip of the sharp paring knife, or tear the leaves away with your hands.
Chop the leaves roughly. We need approx 7 oz (200 g) of chopped leaves.
Next, cut the mangoes into cubes. We will need 2 large mangoes to get 10 oz (300 g) of chopped mangoes. Wash the mangoes and wipe them with a kitchen cloth. Peel the mangoes using a paring knife and cut the flesh from all the sides leaving the pit. Discard the pit and cut the flesh into cubes. Keep aside.
To toast the pecan, add ¼ cup of pecans to a pan and toast on low heat for 8-10 minutes until they are crunchy. Remove the pan from heat and let the pecans cool down. Chop them roughly and keep them aside.
Massage The Kale Leaves
Massaging kale leaves is important to make them soft and edible. Add the chopped kale leaves to a large bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and massage the kale using your hands for 1-2 minutes until the leaves get softer and darker in color.
Make The Salad Dressing
Stir together 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper in a small mixing bowl using a wire whisk.
Make The Salad
Pour the dressing over the kale leaves and toss well.
Add 10 oz mango cubes, ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans, and 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro to the bowl and toss well.
Herb Dressing – You can add some dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and fresh mint leaves to the above dressing to make it more flavorful.
Mustard Honey Dressing – This dressing has ingredients such as orange zest, orange juice, garlic, dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Garlic Lemon Mustard Dressing – This dressing is similar to the above one with little changes. This dressing has dijon mustard, garlic powder, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
Mango Dressing – This dressing has mango puree, honey, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. You can add in herbs like oregano, red chili flakes, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
I would not recommend using frozen mango in this salad. Frozen mangoes, when thawed turn mushy and won’t taste good in a salad. They are apt to use in pureed dressing, smoothies, or to use in desserts.
You can serve this mango kale salad on its own, for a light and healthy lunch or dinner. You can also serve it as a side dish with your brunch or barbeque meals.
I sometimes serve it as a side dish with my pasta, risotto, sandwich, burger, or even wraps.
Since the kale leaves are already wilted after massaging, they don’t wilt further. So they keep good in the refrigerator for several days.
To store this kale mango salad, mix the dressing with the kale and store it in the fridge for about 4-5 days in an airtight container. Before serving, add in fresh mangoes, pecans, and cilantro, toss and serve.
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Kale Mango Salad Recipe
For The Salad
- 8 ounces kale leaves (250 g)
- 10 ounces peeled and cubed mangoes (300 g)
- ¼ cup toasted and chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
For The Dressing
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus 1 teaspoon for massaging the kale)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Prepare The Kale Leaves
- Wash kale leaves and discard the tough stem using a sharp paring knife. The most important thing to know about kale is that the stalk is nearly inedible. It is very bitter and fibrous and should be removed prior to cooking or using in a salad.
- To separate kale leaves from their stalks, cut along the edge of the stalk with the tip of the sharp paring knife, or tear the leaves away with your hands.
- Chop the leaves roughly. We need approx 7 oz (200 g) of chopped leaves.
Massage The Kale Leaves
- Massaging the kale leaves is important to make them soft and edible. Add the chopped kale leaves to a large bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and massage the kale using your hands for 1-2 minutes until the leaves get softer and darker in color.
Make The Salad Dressing
- Stir together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl using a wire whisk.
Make The Salad
- Pour the dressing over the kale leaves and toss well.
- Add mango cubes, pecans, and cilantro to the bowl and toss well.
- Serve immediately.