Disclaimer: I am working in collaboration with Wild Hive and the National Mango Board, however all opinions, experiences and enjoyment of mangos are completely my own!
The weather is heating up and that means salad days are here! Rather than sticking to the old lettuce-based salad classic, I’ve been experimenting with grain-based salads that include a combo of both fruits and vegetables. Lately, I’ve noticed more and more of these grain and garden salad combinations offered at restaurants and they are not only delicious, they offer so much more nutrition and fiber than typical lettuce salads. As much as I love a mix of crisp iceberg (yes, iceberg, and mean it!) and romaine lettuces with some diced tomato and celery, I have gained a strong preference for entrée salads that are basically a chilled version of a one-pot meal! They deliver satisfying protein and mix of healthy carbohydrates and some good-for-me fats.
After experimenting with a few different recipes, I came up with my Mango Farro Salad with a homemade roasted tomatillo dressing. This dish is full of color, full of flavor and full of nutrition that makes for a tasty one-bowl dinner (and an even better leftover lunch the following day!). Ingredients include the high protein, high fiber ancient grain, farro, vitamin C rich red pepper, chile and tomatillos, and toasted pepitas that contain zinc, which helps with wound healing. Roasting the tomatillos along with onion, garlic and chile brings out a mild sweetness in the vegetables and the mix of earthy, dry seasonings adds a fantastic flavor to the farro, raw vegetable and fruit.
The sweetest superfood featured in this salad is mango! Not only does mango supply a generous amount of immune boosting vitamins A (35% Recommended Daily Value) and C (100% Daily Value), one cup also provides 12% of our daily fiber needs. I was impressed to discover that in 2016, four different studies presented at the Experimental Biology Conference suggested that eating mango has potential protective health benefits including combating adverse effects associated with high fat diets and obesity, hindering the growth of fat cells, slowing the progression of breast cancer tumors and improving regularity and decreasing inflammation associated with constipation. At this year’s conference, reports of human studies associating mango consumption and its potential health benefits with respect to improved blood pressure, blood sugar control, and gut health show promise in this food’s ability to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders and chronic inflammation. Although more human studies are needed, there is a growing body of scientific evidence showing us that mangos are a powerhouse food that our health can certainly benefit from!
Whether you eat mangos by themselves or in combination with other nutritionally dense foods (like in this amazing salad!), enjoy every single bite!
*Additional nutrition research resources can be found on this page of the National Mango Board website.
Mango Farro Salad with Tomatillo Dressing
Recipe by: Christy Wilson, RD
Servings: 6, 1 cup servings
Total time: about 40 minutes
- 1 cup farro
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cup fresh mango (1-2 mangos), diced *
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- ¼ cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), toasted
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- Juice from ½ key lime
For tomatillo dressing:
- 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, cleaned and halved
- 3/4 cup sweet onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon (about 2 cloves) garlic, diced
- 1 Anaheim chile, deveined, seeded and diced
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chile powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven 450°F.
- To prepare farro, place it in a fine meshed strainer and rinse with cool water until water runs clear. Add farro and 2 cups water to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Once water is boiling, reduce heat and stir. Cover and simmer farro for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
- While farro is cooking, prepare dressing ingredients to roast. Place tomatillos, onion, garlic chile in a medium bowl. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper then add oil and mix all ingredients until combined. Add seasoned vegetables to a parchment lined sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes.
- Once vegetables are roasted, carefully transfer them to a blender along with cilantro, lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, chile powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Blend to a smooth consistency. Set aside.
- To a large bowl, add cooked farro, mango, cucumber, red pepper, avocado, pepitas, cilantro and desired amount of prepared tomatillo dressing (I added 1/4 cup). Gently mix until all ingredients are combined. Squeeze fresh lime juice over entire salad and garnish with extra cilantro, if desired.
*See below for instructions on how to dice a mango like a pro!
Nutrition facts per serving 1 cup of salad (with added 1/4 cup dressing to entire salad)
Calories: 280; Total fat: 6 grams, Saturated Fat: 1 gram, Trans fat: 0; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 30 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 32 grams, Dietary fiber: 5 grams, Total sugars: 7 grams (includes 0 added sugars); Protein: 7 grams; Calcium: 68 mg; Iron: 4 mg; Potassium: 591 mg
How To Dice a Mango lIke a pro!
- Stand mango on cutting board, stem end down. Place knife about ¼ inch from the center and cut down through the mango. Flip it around and repeat the cut on the other side. What is left in the center is mostly the mango seed.
- Cut parallel slices into the flesh of the mango, being careful not to cut through the skin. Turn it and cut slice flesh in another set of parallel slices, making a checkerboard pattern. (See photo.)
- Scoop the mango slices out of the skin using a large spoon. You can also flip the diced mango pieces “inside out” of the skin and scoop with a spoon or slice pieces out with a knife that way, too!
For detailed instructions & more, visit National Mango Board website.