I’m not sure there is anything more summery than this Cucumber Mango Salad. It perfectly marries sweet, sour, and spicy flavors with that whoosh of cucumber freshness, for a light and refreshing summer side dish. The salad holds up moderately well in the refrigerator, the flavors blending even further as the cucumber and mango marinate in the dressing. It’ll hold up for about three days in the refrigerator, if it’s not all eaten by then!
Originally posted 2-24-2011, updated 6-27-2019
What Kind of Cucumber Should I Use?
I’ve been partial to English cucumbers lately because they have little to no seeds and seem to have a more consistent freshness in my local grocery stores, although conventional cucumbers also work just fine and are often half the cost. If using conventional cucumbers, you may want to scoop out the seeds before slicing into half-rounds, unless the seeds aren’t an issue for you. :)
How Spicy is This Cucumber Mango Salad?
This Cucumber Mango Salad is not very spicy, IMHO, but taste buds do differ. You can control the spiciness of the salad by increasing or decreasing the amount of crushed red pepper used. If you are particularly sensitive to heat, you can leave the crushed red pepper out of the dressing and simply sprinkle some over each serving for those who want it (although it is more pronounced when allowed to marinate in the dressing).
Do I Have to Use Rice Vinegar?
I wouldn’t suggest substituting another vinegar variety. Rice vinegar has a distinctly mild and light flavor and the dressing is balanced to match this type of vinegar in particular. Rice vinegar is fairly easy to find in most major grocery stores in the U.S. and can either be found in the vinegar aisle or with the international ingredients.
Cucumber Mango Salad
- 1 mango ($0.59)
- 1 cucumber ($1.29)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar ($0.48)
- 2 Tbsp white sugar ($0.04)
- 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes ($0.02)
- Wash the cucumber well to remove wax or other residues. For a decorative look, peel alternating strips of the peel (see step by step photos below). Slice the cucumber into half-rounds.
- Cut the mango into slices by first cutting off both rounded “cheeks.” Score flesh of the mango into strips using a sharp paring knife. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin (see photos below). Cut the mango slices in half so that they are more similar in size to the cucumber slices.
- Next, prepare the dressing by combining the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add the sliced cucumber and mango to a large bowl, then pour the dressing over top. Stir to combine the ingredients and coat the cucumber and mango in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Stir well before serving each time to redistribute the dressing.
Step By Step Photos
To give my cucumbers a decorative look, I peel alternating strips before slicing. Slice one cucumber into half rounds. If you prefer to scoop out the seeds, first slice the cucumber lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then cut crosswise into half-rounds.
To slice the mango, first cut off the two side “cheeks” (the fleshy round sides). The pit in the middle is like a flattened oval.
This is what the mango looks like after I’ve cut off both cheeks.
Next, use a sharp paring knife to score the flesh into strips, taking care not to pierce the skin on the back. Then use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin. I also cut each slice in half to make them more similar in size to the cucumber pieces.
There is usually a bit more mango flesh attached to the narrow sides of the pit, so I slice those off, remove the skin, and cut the pieces to match the size of the other mango pieces.
Place the sliced cucumber and mango in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, simply combine 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp white sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the dressing appears clear.
Pour the dressing over the cucumber and mango in the bowl.
Stir the salad to combine the cucumber and mango, and coat everything in dressing.
Serve the salad immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Be sure to give the salad a quick stir each time before serving to redistribute the dressing.