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This Simple Arugula Salad is Bursting with Freshness, Perfect for a Summer Side Dish
During a hot summer day, it’s difficult to decide between a refreshing fruit salad or a healthy green salad.
So, why not have both?
This arugula, mango, and avocado salad is the best of both worlds.
The name says it all. This easy vegan salad is packed with healthy arugula, juicy mango, and creamy avocado. Then it’s topped with an incredibly simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
This arugula salad is perfect as a healthy side dish or a light lunch on it’s own. Any time you need to feel refreshed, just toss this salad together.
Healthy mango and avocado will leave you feeling full during your active day.
I love eating this dish for lunch after an active morning hiking or running. The combination of fruits and green vegetables is energizing.
This arugula salad is also great as a brunch dish. Next to eggs, bacon, pancakes, and other heavy brunch ingredients, this salad really brightens up the meal.
Add a blast of color to your next meal with this easy and healthy cabbage salad with apples!
Health Benefits of this Arugula Salad
This salad is jam packed with healthy ingredients. Mighty cabbage, fruity apples, pungent scallions, nutty seeds, and a healthy vinaigrette offer a variety of nutrients that will keep you feeling your best. Here are some highlights about the health benefits of each:
According to WebMD, raw arugula is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that may reduce inflammation, fight bacteria, lower cholesterol, and contribute to bone health. There is also a very good reason for their bitter taste: they contain natural substances called glucosinolates. These help defend against certain types of cancers.
Mangoes are rich in many vitamins and minerals. According to Medical News Today, they are off the charts in vitamins C, B6, and folate. They may lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, decrease age relate degeneration, and support skin and hair health.
Avocados are a health and fitness friendly fruit. According to Cedars-Sinai Academic Medical Center, avocados are packed with fiber, healthy fats, and a long list of nutrients like Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, and K.
Plus, avocados make you feel full.
Olive Oil (from vinaigrette)
Opt for extra virgin. Extra virgin olive oil is high in healthy fats, contains antioxidants, reduces inflammation, and even helps protect against strokes and heart disease. Read more about each of these benefits here on Healthline.
How Long Does this Arugula Salad Keep?
After dressing the salad, it will only last for 1 day or so covered in the refrigerator.
It is best to prepare the ingredients separately, then assemble when ready to eat. It will keep for 3-4 days this way.
To keep longer, prepare the balsamic vinaigrette and store in a jar. The dressing will last up to a month. Prepare and store the arugula and mango separately. When ready to serve, dress the salad and add the avocado according to the recipe.
Storing this Arugula Salad
To store the arugula and mango ingredients separately, these plastic deli containers are great. I use them for storing leftovers and other meal prep ingredients. They’re what the restaurants use and super cheap.
I also use these OXO glass containers for storage of completed dishes. You can store, cover, reheat (if needed), and serve all in one container.
For the balsamic vinaigrette, the classic mason jar is a foolproof option. You can make and store with just one item because there are measurements on the side of the jar.
What Type of Mango Should I Use?
Depending on your grocery store, you may see more than one type of mango. Generally, grocery stores do not list mangoes by their varietal name below. You may just see a “red” or “yellow” mango.
Here are a few of the most common ones you’ll see.
Tommy Atkins – The most common variety available. Tommy Atkins mangoes are large and fibrous. When ripe, they have blotches of green and red. Most likely, if you see a mango labeled “red mango”, it is a Tommy Atkins.
Ataulfo – Small, yellow mango with a buttery texture. Has almost no stringy fibers, so it is easy to cut and eat. This was purchased for this recipe and labeled as a “yellow mango” at the grocery store.
Keitt – One of the largest mangoes available. It weighs between 1.5 – 3 pounds and is green with some red.
Kent – Another large mango variety. It has a low amount of fiber and a small pit.
If you want to learn more about the common types of mangos, check out this article from Berkeley Wellness.
How to Cut a Mango
You may be wondering how to slice a mango so that you have neat cubes. Well, there is a process for cutting up a mango. See the steps below.
Step 1: Slicing
A mango isn’t a sphere, it is an oval. So, looking at it standing up, there are two long sides and two short sides. It also has a pit in the middle that you need to work around.
Cut through the stood up mango about 1/2” off center along its long side. Repeat on the other side. You should have 3 pieces like in the picture below
Step 2: Rounded Ends
Take the the two pieces that have the rounded backside. Score the mango flesh so that your knife just cuts through to the skin. Perform this in a grid-like pattern.
Once your mango piece has the scored grid, push the skin outwards so that the mango pieces are sticking out (see the top piece in the below picture). You can then pick these pieces off with your fingers or cut with a knife. Repeat for the other rounded side.
Step 3: Middle Core Piece
There is still edible flesh on each side of the pit that you can slice off. Follow the pit to slice off a piece on each side like the middle piece in the picture below. Remove the skin by slicing along it. This will leave you with a long piece of flesh that you can cut into smaller pieces.
For more instruction on how to cut a mango, here is a great instructional video.
How-to Buy The Ingredients
Here how to buy the main ingredients:
Arugula – Buying arugula in a bag makes for easy salad assembly and guaranteed freshness. If buying fresh, look for bright green leaves that are not shriveled. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Mango – Ripe mangoes will be a bit soft. They will give a little when squeezed, indicating that their flesh if juicy.
Avocado – Ripe avocados are slightly soft, but not mushy. When you press or squeeze on it, it should give a little bit.
For the Dressing:
Olive Oil – Extra virgin is best. This oil from California Olive Ranch offers the best price, taste, and availability combination. It is what I use every day. Variations to This Salad
Balsamic Vinegar – Use an un-aged balsamic vinegar like this one.
Dijon Mustard (optional) – When choosing a mustard, look for one with added no sugar, preferably organic. The ingredient list should be short and sweet. High quality, minimally processed mustard like this one should just be some type of vinegar, water, mustard seeds, salt, and spice(s). You can substitute whole grain for Dijon mustard in this recipe.
Salad Assembly Tips
Dress Arugula and Mango First
Before adding the avocado, dress and toss the arugula and mango. Then, add in the avocado and give it a gentle toss. You don’t want to mash up the avocado
Season With Salt Just Before Serving
This salad needs a pinch or two of salt to bring out all the flavors. Do this just before serving. The salt will remove moisture from the ingredients and the arugula will soften.
Prep and Store Ingredients Separately for Quick and Easy Assembly
Salads with light greens like arugula don’t keep well after dressing. You can still meal prep this though.
Make the balsamic vinaigrette and store in a jar. Buy bagged baby arugula so it is already stored for you. Cut up the mango and store in a container in the refrigerator. Don’t cut up the avocado until ready to use because it will discolor.
When ready to serve, just assembly per the recipe.
Use 1 or 2 Mangoes Depending On Their Size
I used two small yellow (Ataulfo) mangoes for this recipe. One mango would work for larger mango varieties like the common Tommy Atkins.
Experimenting is one of the most fun parts of cooking! There are an infinite number of possibilities with this salad. Here are a few ideas:
Replace mango with a melon – Cantelope, watermelon, or other type of melon would be a great substitution in place of mango.
Add fresh mint – Mint and fruit is a delicious combination. Add a few sliced mint leaves to this salad for some extra flavor.
Replace arugula with kale or watercress – Bitter greens pair great with the sweetness of fruit and the creaminess of avocado. Replace arugula with another type of bitter green like kale or watercress.
Want to Make This Healthy Salad More Filling?
To make this salad a more filling meal, add one or multiple of the following:
Beets – I thought about adding beets to this salad recipe, but ended up not doing so. But, that doesn’t mean your can’t. Add one or two beets from this oven roasted beets recipe.
Chicken – Top the salad with some of this Buttermilk Marinated Roast Chicken for a low carb, protein packed meal.
Beans – Add a can of drained and rinsed white bean such as chickpeas or cannellini. Or cook with dried beans and add 1.5 cups of cooked beans.
Canned or Smoked Fish – Adding canned or smoked fish to a dish is my biggest cheat move for making a meal out of a dish. Set out a tin of sardines, mackerel, trout, salmon, or other fish for a meal packed with protein and healthy fats.
Don’t Have Any Balsamic Vinegar? Try One of These Dressings Instead.
Here are a few other dressings that would be great for making this salad:
Want More Veggie Salad Recipes? Check These Out.
Sometimes, you just need a healthy vegetable salad. A light dish that resets your appetite.
Check these simple salad recipes:
Arugula, Mango, and Avocado Salad
- 5 cups baby arugula (about half a bag or 2.5 oz.)
- 2 small mangoes or 1 large, sliced into 1/2” pieces (see the “How to Cut a Mango” section for directions)
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 avocado, sliced into 1/2” pieces
- kosher salt
- Add arugula, mango, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing to a large bowl. Toss to combine.
- Add avocado and a pinch of salt. Gently toss to combine. You don’t want to mash the avocado. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Ready to Cut Some Mango?
I can’t decide which ingredient in this salad is the best. Avocado, mango, or arugula.
But, I have decided what the best bite is. It’s one that contains all three of them.
If you want to prep this salad in advanced and bring it for lunch, you’ll need have the right container. The key is to keep your salad dressing separate from the salad components.