This mango vinaigrette has just a few ingredients but adds a sweet and tart tropical vibe to any salad. It mixes up in just a few minutes with a blender or food processor. Use frozen or fresh mango for this recipe.
Be sure to check out more of my vinaigrettes and salad dressings including my incredibly easy 7-minute raspberry vinaigrette that mixes in the blender, my quick and easy strawberry vinaigrette recipe and my easy Thai inspired vinaigrette.
What is a Vinaigrette?
A vinaigrette is simply an oil and vinegar mixture that can be flavored in many different ways. The general rule of thumb is three parts oil to one part vinegar. So, for example, if you start with 1 Tbsp of vinegar, you would use 3 Tbsps oil. This is really just a starting point. If you prefer your vinaigrette more sour, you might go with 1 Tbsp vinegar and 2 Tbsp oil. The great thing about it is that you can make a vinaigrette according to YOUR flavor preferences.
Mango – Frozen mango chunks will make this dressing SUPER easy. Measure while the chunks are still frozen, then thaw before using. Fresh mango will take a few minutes to prep but it’s well worth the trouble.
Oil – Normally I use extra virgin olive oil in my vinaigrettes, but for this one I prefer a neutral flavored oil. Light olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower, canola or any neutral vegetable oil will work in this recipe.
Lime juice – Lime is an amazing flavor partner to mango and will act as some of the sour element in this vinaigrette. Use fresh squeezed lime juice.
Vinegar – With lime juice in the mix, just a little vinegar is needed. I like white balsamic with the mango, but apple cider, champagne or white wine vinegar can be used too. As a gluten-free chef I like to address the topic of gluten in vinegar. I answer the question “Is balsamic vinegar gluten-free?” in my post on foods with gluten.
Sweetener – I like using a liquid sweetener in vinaigrettes because they incorporate easily. Agave is my go-to but maple syrup and honey will work also. Since mangoes are not all the same level of sweet, I have included just 2 tsps sweetener. Taste a piece of mango before starting. If it is super sweet, you may want to start with just 1 tsp sweetener. If it’s not sweet, start with the full 2 tsps and expect that you might add more after tasting the blended mixture.
Coconut water – Since whole mango is used, the dressing gets very thick. Unsweetened coconut water (without pulp) helps to bring it to a more dressing consistency and adds to the yummy tropical flavors. Coconut water with pulp is too thick and will not help with the consistency. So, If you don’t have pulp-free coconut water, plain water will work too.
Vinaigrettes are a combination of sweet, sour, bitter (sometimes) and salt leaning a bit more towards the sour. The mango and agave (or other sweetener) are the sweet elements. Vinegar and lime juice are clearly the sour element. And of course we add salt to bring it all together.
Make the dressing as is in the recipe card below. Then taste. The sweetness of the mango you use will vary, so making adjustments to the flavors is expected. And remember there is no exact right balance of flavors. Everyone’s flavor preferences are different, so adjust until YOU like it. Here’s how to do it:
- Too sour? Add a little more sweetener and oil, one tablespoon at a time.
- Too sweet? Add a couple of pinches of salt or a little vinegar.
- Is it missing something that you can’t quite describe? Add a couple of pinches of salt. Salt will bring out all the other flavors.
- Too salty? Add a teaspoon or 2 of sweetener and a tablespoon of oil.
- Blah? Add a teaspoon of vinegar or sweetener, a couple of pinches of salt or a pinch of red chili flakes. All of these ingredients are flavor enhancers and should do the trick.
The key is, to add just a little bit at a time, stir and taste again. It is always easy to add a little more but impossible to take out!
Salads with Mango Vinaigrette
This mango vinaigrette is the perfect flavor balance to more bitter greens like kale or peppery arugula. Here are a few suggestions:
Tropical Pineapple Arugula Salad – 4 Cups of arugula, 1 cup of diced pineapple, 1/2 c chopped macadamia nuts, fresh mint leaves.
Kale Strawberry Salad – 4 cups of chopped kale (stems removed) 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/4 c shredded red cabbage, 1/4 c slivered, toasted almonds.
Easy Mango Vinaigrette
- ¾ c roughly chopped mango fresh or frozen
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut water (without pulp) or plain water
- 6 Tbsp avocado, sunflower, canola or light olive oil
- 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar apple cider, white wine or champagne vinegar will work too
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsps agave, maple syrup or honey sugar can work too
- ¼-½ tsp salt
- 2 pinches red chili flakes optional – but this small amount will not make it spicy
- Place the mango and coconut water in the blender or food processor. Run for at least one minute or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Mango has fine stringy fibers that are best removed for a smooth creamy dressing. Depending on your blender, the mixture may be smooth enough.After blending the mango and coconut water, taste. If it seems smooth then go on to step #4. If it is stringy, run the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Press it through using a spoon or rubber/silicone spatula. Continue until you are left with mostly fibrous solids.
- Return the strained mixture back to the blender/food processor.
- Add ¼ tsp of the salt, the remaining ingredients and blend for 10 seconds.
- Taste. To make it more flavorful add salt, teaspoon of sweetener or a teaspoon of vinegar. Too sweet? Add a small amount of salt or vinegar. Too sour? Add a teaspoon or two of sweetener and a tablespoon of oil.
- Store this vinaigrette in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for at least one week, If it is too thick after refrigerating, heat it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or let sit at room temperature.