This Mango Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Dressing and roasted pumpkin seeds is the perfect mix of sweet, savory, and spicy. If you've never tried mango in a salad, you have to give this one a try! It has no lettuce so it's the perfect salad for meal prep!
Why This Recipe Works
- Fruit in salads - If you're not used to adding fruits to your salads, I highly recommend giving it a try! It may sound weird but the little hint of sweetness works great in salads, and I'm sure you'll love it! If you're looking to try more similar salads, give this Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad a try too!
- Full of flavor - This salad is really packed with flavor and they all work beautifully together. There's spicy chipotle and jalapeno, sweet mango, crunchy peppers, creamy avocado, salty feta and so much more!
- Protein-rich - Both quinoa and black beans are packed with protein. The salad makes about 6 servings and one has around 17 grams of protein! This makes the salad really filling, yet still light and healthy. Add some salmon, chicken, or tofu for even more protein!
- Meal prep - This salad has no greens, aside from fresh cilantro, which means it won't wilt down! This makes it perfect for meal prep because it keeps in the fridge really well.
- Quinoa - I like using white quinoa because that's the one I usually have on hand but white, red, or black quinoa all work great here. Make sure to wash it properly before cooking.
- Black beans - You can use canned beans or dried beans and cook them yourself but I usually go with canned. It's easy and makes this salad come together really quickly.
- Mango - I recommend using Ataloufo mangos whenever possible. They're sweet and have a very smooth texture which is perfect for this salad. The sweetness balances out the spiciness of the chipotle dressing and the saltiness of the feta.
- Bell peppers - Bell peppers add a nice crunch to the salad and nice color. You could also use cucumber instead if you don't have peppers.
- Cherry tomatoes - I prefer cherry tomatoes over any other ones because they keep their shape after tossing with the rest of the ingredients and won't release as much water.
- Red onion - Red onion adds a ton of flavor and crunch. You can also use white onion or shallots if you don't have red onion.
- Avocado - Avocado adds creaminess and extra healthy fats to the salad which makes it more filling. If you don't have any or don't like avocado, you can omit it.
- Fresh cilantro - Fresh cilantro adds a ton of flavor to this salad but if you don't like it, parsley, chives, or spring onion would work just as well. Dried cilantro can be used when in a pinch but won't have as much flavor as fresh.
- Jalapeno - You can add as much or as little as you like. Remove the seeds if you don't like too much heat.
- Feta cheese - Feta adds saltiness to the salad which goes great with the sweet mango and all the other flavors. It also mellows down the chipotle dressing. If you want to keep the salad vegan, skip it, or use vegan feta cheese.
- Chipotle dressing - Made with extra virgin olive oil, freshly-squeezed lime juice, honey, dijon mustard, and chipotle powder. It goes perfectly with the mango and takes the salad from great to amazing!
- Roasted pumpkin seeds - I highly recommend making your own! All you need are raw pumpkin seeds, avocado oil (or other cooking oil), sea salt, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
Variations and Substitutions
- Chipotle in adobo sauce - I used chipotle powder in the dressing to keep things simple but if you want even more flavor, use chipotle in adobo sauce instead and blend your dressing in a food processor.
- Greens - This salad has no lettuce but you can always add some greens for more nutrients. Romaine lettuce, kale, baby kale, or baby spinach are all great options.
- Other grains - If you don't have or don't like quinoa, you can use couscous. I highly recommend quinoa though, it goes the best with the rest of the ingredients! Quinoa is not actually a grain, quinoa is a seed! This makes it paleo and a great option when you're trying to avoid grains.
Start by making the dressing and roasting your pumpkin seeds.
Dressing: In a jar mix together extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, honey, dijon mustard, chipotle powder, cumin powder, sea salt, and pepper. Whisk everything together until smooth and set aside.
Pumpkin seeds: Preheat your oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mix together raw pumpkin seeds, avocado oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and sea salt. Stir until the seeds are well coated and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden and fragrant. Allow them to cool while you prep the rest of the salad.
Quinoa: Before cooking the quinoa, make sure you thoroughly wash it to prevent it from being bitter after cooking. I measure the dry quinoa first, add it to a mesh strainer and rinse.
Cook the quinoa in a medium pot with double the amount of water (1 cup dry quinoa and 2 cups water) covered or partially covered for 12-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it rest covered for 10 minutes while you prep the rest of the vegetables. You can then transfer it to a large plate to help it cool so it's not too hot when you're mixing it into the salad.
Veggies: Chop the mango, rinse the black beans, cut your cherry tomatoes in half, and chop the red onion, avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add everything to a large bowl along with crumbled feta and the chipotle dressing. Toss everything together until well mixed.
Season with more salt and pepper or add more lime juice to taste. Enjoy!
Serving and Storing
Serving: Serve the salad right away or keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. Top with more avocado, fresh cilantro, and a sprinkle of chipotle powder.
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you skip the feta, the salad will keep for up to 5 days. The roasted pumpkin seeds are best stored separately from the salad. They'll lose their crispiness after a while when mixed into the salad, though they'll still be delicious.
Yes, absolutely! Use maple syrup instead of honey in the dressing and add vegan feta instead of regular or skip it. You can add roasted tofu too for more protein.
No, dijon is the best option here. Regular mustard would change the flavor too much. If you're out of dijon, add more lime juice.
Quinoa really is the best option here. It goes really well with the mango and becomes really flavorful with the dressing. If you don't have any, you could use couscous.
More Summer Salads With No Lettuce
Big greens salads are great but sometimes you just want a salad you can store without worrying about it wilting down. No-lettuce salads are perfect for meal prep and the four below are some of my favorites! To see all the latest salad recipes, head over to the Salads category.
This salad is the perfect mix of sweet, savory, and spicy. This salad has no lettuce which means it keeps really well and makes it perfect for meal prep!
Roasted pumpkin seeds:
- ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp avocado oil (or other cooking oil)
- ¼-½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 limes, juiced (¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ chipotle powder (or more depending on heat preference)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2-3 mangos, diced (depends on the size, I used 3 small ataulfo mangos and got 1 ½ cup diced)
- 2 bell peppers, seeds removed and diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small red onion finely chopped (½ cup)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds removed or left in for more heat)
- ½-1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Roasted pumpkin seeds:
- Preheat your oven to 350F(175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix pumpkin seeds with avocado oil. Add sea salt, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Mix again.
- Spread on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk everything together in a small bowl or a cup. Set aside.
- To cook the quinoa, thoroughly wash it under running water. This prevents it from being bitter.
- Add it to a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until there’s no water left and the quinoa is soft. Fluff with a fork, cover again and let rest for 10 minutes while you prep the vegetables.
- Add the quinoa to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the black beans, feta, diced mango, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro. Whisk the dressing again to make sure it hasn’t separated and pour over the salad.
- Toss everything together well and serve sprinkled with the roasted pumpkin seeds.
Storing: Store in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container. I stored the salad mixed with the dressing and it did well. It will release some water but there are no greens that would wilt so it can be stored dressed without a problem.
Keywords: mango quinoa salad, chipotle dressing, mango salad