Summer has ended here in NZ and while I’m always eager to welcome cooler weather (winter is my thing), I’m also sad to say goodbye to summer produce and refreshing salads.
My diet has been carb and sugar-filled lately (a side effect of recipe testing), so I’ve been desperate to make a healthy salad. While inspiration for my recipes generally comes from friends, family, random items I pick up at the supermarket, and odd ideas from my food-obsessed brain, this Mango Mexi Salad was prompted by a picture I saw in ‘Mexican Everyday’ by Rick Bayless.
Rick’s Avocado-Mango Salad looked so scrumptious, and I loved the idea of combining the two colourful ingredients. Topped with blue cheese dressing and bacon, Rick’s salad appears to be more of a starter than a main, and I wanted something a little heartier, not to mention vegan-friendly.
Enter red quinoa—my favourite out of all the quinoa varieties. It’s easy to cook and, unlike white quinoa, doesn’t stick together. Red quinoa is super protein rich PLUS includes all of the nine essential amino acids, making it the perfect addition to this filling dish.
I’ve been obsessed with everything chipotle lately, and since I had some vegan mayo handy, I decided to combine them to make a delicious dressing. The garlic and apple cider vinegar really add to the dressing’s flavour (if I could add garlic to absolutely everything I would.)
I had originally intended to add some leftover tempeh bacon to this dish, but then I remembered my friend Kayla raving about coconut bacon just days ago. I decided to give it a try and am so glad I did! The coconut pieces yielded a crunchy texture, and the flavours were to die for. Since I wanted this dish to be filling and fully satisfying, I used a good cup of coconut flakes—plenty to top two plates of salad.
So get cooking hungry piggies and be sure to share the results on Insta with the hashtag #thehungrypiggy. Feel free to add your own flair to the dish too! Black beans would be great to bulk it up, and a touch of coriander for flavour could be just the thing to take it to the next level.
Mango Mexi Salad
- Baby cos lettuce (about 12 leaves)
- 1/2 cup red quinoa (cooked and fluffed with a fork)
- 1 fresh mango (cubed) 1/2 avocado (sliced)
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
- Salt and black pepper to taste
VEGAN CHIPOTLE MAYO DRESSING
- 1/4 cup vegan mayo
- 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce and 1 chipotle chile
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- To make the coconut bacon, preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Mix the liquid aminos and liquid smoke in a bowl. Add the coconut flakes and toss to coat completely. Lay the coated coconut flakes on large baking tray lined with baking paper. Be sure to separate the flakes completely. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (I used about 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ of black pepper). Bake for 10 minutes (make sure to turn the flakes about halfway through for even baking.)
- To make the chipotle mayo, add ingredients to a blender/magic bullet and combine. Set aside in the fridge until needed. To cook the quinoa, add ½ cup to a small pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer then turn down the heat. Cover the pot and leave to cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Once cooked, remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
- To assemble the salads, place lettuce on two large plates (about 6 leaves each). Divide quinoa evenly and sprinkle over lettuce. Divide mango evenly and add to plates. Sprinkle cooked coconut bacon over salad before adding avocado slices on top. Pour desired amount of chipotle mayo over each salad and serve immediately.