Cuban Mango Avocado Salad

Mango Avocado Salad

Summer is a celebration of all that is tropical and good in this world. Mangoes, lychees, avocado, mamey, anones, and star fruit galore- this is what my summer is made of. Summer in South Florida is filled with ripe mangoes and everyone you know either has a mango tree or a friend or relative with a mango tree.

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The air around homes with mango trees is sweet with ripe and rotting fruit baking in the hot Florida sun as many don’t pick or enjoy the fresh mangoes fast enough and they fall to the ground fermenting. When I lived in Coral Gables I would walk my dog Chloe and mangoes would literally fall at my feet from neighboring trees. Coral Gables is a tropical paradise with limestone houses, shady banyan canopies and palm lined streets. In the summer the tree lines are often dotted with red ripe mangoes and bright lychees ready to fall at a moment’s notice. You might even catch a Macaw on the branches or a tall white Egret on your street corner. This recipe is the cousin of the classic Cuban avocado salad with the addition of fruit. Cuban mango avocado salad is a simple summer recipe that uses the freshest of seasonal ingredients and lets the ripe fruit shine.

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The scent of ripe mango will always remind me of South Florida summers and riding home with Publix bags filled with this tropical delicacy from family and friends fortunate enough to have a mango tree of their own! This summer Cuban mango and avocado salad is perfect for grills, picnics, large parties, and quick and easy meals.

Mango Avocado Salad

Cuban Mango Avocado Salad

  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 ripe mango diced
  • Pickled red onions
  • 4-6 small heirloom tomatoes quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pickling juices

Marinated Red Onions

  • 1 small red onion  sliced
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 5-7 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Enough water to cover the red onion

Soak the sliced red onions in cold ice water. Soak for 20 minutes and then drain. The thin film on the red onion will naturally separate and becomes easy to peel right off like in the picture below. Next add the red wine vinegar, sugar, and juniper berries (optional), and make sure to top with water to cover. Let the red onions marinate for at least 30 minutes covered in the fridge.

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Dice the mango and quarter the tomatoes. Add diced avocado* and top the salad with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the marinated red onions to your taste. Drizzle the mango avocado salad with the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Gently mix and enjoy! Try this recipe with roasted chicken, anything off the grill, fresh fish, really anything you like and make sure to enjoy the summer produce while it lasts.

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**Note: I used Haas avocados in this recipe, but the crisper watery Florida avocado is my favorite here. Sadly I could not find them in New York, so the creamy Haas will have to suffice.

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Broccoli Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

crunchy-broccoli-salad

Broccoli salad with raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds in yogurt vinaigrette feels like an Indian summer dish. In NYC the buzz has been that summer is over. Yet the last few days have felt a surge of warmth again, and it feels like I’m holding onto the last humid hints of summertime. I have learned that cooking in a tiny NYC kitchen requires diligence and planning. When I used to blog in Miami I bought ingredients on a whim and had ample storage space for them too. Now when I cook I aim to use up all of the ingredients purchased before I venture out to buy more and more.

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When broccoli is raw it can be bold like a radish- very crisp and with a slight bitter tang to its tiny floral cruciferous heads. For me the smell of cooking broccoli is slightly sulfuric and almost garlicky. Since I am ever so lazy and despise doing dishes I decided to make a one bowl salad- which means I’d be eating the broccoli raw- no extra pots for me to wash. After making a few of my favorite recipes I had some odd ingredients waiting to be tossed together to make this healthy and crunchy broccoli salad.

fresh-lemon fresh-scallion

I wanted a no-fuss recipe so I chopped the broccoli head up into little green florets that resembled a broken bouquet on my cutting board. The tangy yogurt vinaigrette, sweet raisins, and salty pumpkin seeds softened the sharp vegetable-like quality of the broccoli as it marinated in the fridge and became tender. This broccoli salad is a perfect summertime ‘last hurrah’ side dish or picnic salad. As they’ve been saying, winter is coming, and fall dishes await, but for now I’ll enjoy these last few days of a New York summer.

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Broccoli Salad with Pumpkin Seeds in Yogurt Vinaigrette

  • 4 oz. low fat green yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh tarragon
  • ½ large shallot diced
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 head broccoli large stalked removed
  • ½ cup toasted and salted pumpkin seeds

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients to make the tangy yogurt dressing. Add the chopped fresh tarragon, stalks removed, and the finely diced shallot. Whisk the ingredients together again and add the raisins. Allow the raisins to plump up in the dressing while you chop the broccoli.

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Remove the large stalk and discard. Cut off the broccoli florets from their stalks and set aside. Cube the remaining broccoli stalks and toss in the bowl with the dressing. Cut the broccoli florets down to small bite size pieces. Add the rest of the broccoli into the salad dressing and stir well. Place in a container with a fitted lid or seal securely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

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Allow the crunchy broccoli salad to marinate in the dressing and soak up all of the delicious flavors for at least 2 hours before serving chilled or at room temperature. The broccoli will soften and become more flavorful. This salad serves around 4 and would be perfect for a fall picnic or light lunch side dish.

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