How many dishes do you have in your arsenal that are nutritious, delicious, and can please a wide variety of guests? And ones that you can make ahead? In my world, the answer is "never enough!" Whatever your situation is, you can add this Black Bean, Mango and Avocado salad with coconut-lime vinaigrette to the list. Black beans, mango, and avocado come together for a cold, no-cook salad that is easily transportable and whose leftovers store well. I think my favorite part of the entire dish is the vinaigrette, which contains a coconut white balsamic. When paired with freshly squeezed lime juice and a high-quality extra virgin olive oil, really brightens the whole dish up. It's fairly versatile in terms of ingredients, too.
The dish is fairly versatile. I wouldn't omit the core ingredients by any means, but some things are swappable. I used an Ataulfo mango, which are typically more flavorful, less pulpy and have a smaller pit than other types, but you can use any mango. And any bell pepper will do—I happened to use yellow but red or orange would have worked, too. Think about the balance of colors in the entire dish. You can use any color grape or cherry tomato; I happened to have red in the house (from the Easton Public Market Farmstand), but as the summer progresses, I can see making this with different colored heirlooms to really change things up.
Black Bean, Avocado and Mango Salad with Coconut-Lime Vinaigrette
For the salad:
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 mango (I used an organic Ataulfo) peeled and chopped
- 1 bell pepper any color, chopped
- 3 spring red onions, thinly sliced (or scallions)
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 avocado, diced small
For the vinaigrette
- 2 T. coconut white balsamic vinegar (or champagne or white wine vinegar, depending on what you have)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl. If you are making this ahead of time and refrigerating it, or taking it to someone's house for a gathering, wait until serving before you add the avocado to prevent it from getting too mushy and oxidized.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the oil and vinegar and add the cilantro. (Alternately, you can make the dressing in a food processor and the cilantro will be more finely chopped.) Add the dressing to the salad, including the avocado, toss gently and serve.