Texas Living

Mango fiesta pasta salad recipe

By Gina Franklin 6.17.13

You know what they say about the weather in Texas, “Chilly today, hot tamale.” If you have experienced summer in Texas, then you know Texans prefer outdoor grilling and minimal stovetop recipes rather than heating up the kitchen.

Pasta salads are great for a side dish at dinner or a cool refreshing lunch on those super-hot, Texas summer days. Although there are limitless combinations of ingredients, my most requested pasta salad is my Mango Fiesta Pasta Salad.  This is an extremely easy recipe made from fresh ingredients, so dig in!

Mango vinaigrette

I make the vinaigrette first, so it chills while I am making the rest of the salad.

Vinaigrette ingredients

  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. molasses

The first step is preparing the mangos. Mangos have a large pit in the middle, so you need to first slice along the flatter, wider side of the mango in order to get as much flesh as possible.

Next, take a paring knife and slice along the length of the mango and then across the width.  Then, take your thumbs and push the fruit out so that you can see the cross sections of the cuts.  Then all you have to do is run your knife along the skin to have perfect little mango cubes.

Anytime a recipe calls for juice, in my opinion, you should use fresh juice. For this recipe, you only need 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and one-third cup of orange juice, so one small lemon and one large orange should get that job done.

Juicing isn’t as hard as it sounds; a measuring cup with a small strainer and a bamboo juicer makes quick work of this task and you’ll be rewarded with better flavor.

Puree vinaigrette ingredients until the consistency is to your liking. (If you want a sweeter vinaigrette, add more molasses.) Chill it in an airtight container while preparing pasta

Mango fiesta pasta salad recipe

As I said before, this is my most requested pasta salad.  It is a perfect combination of cold, sweet, and spicy. I always try to make it the night before, so that it will be extra cold at lunch. One of the best things about this recipe is that it makes a huge amount, perfect for a party or plenty of leftovers.

Pasta salad ingredients

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
  • 10 cups water
  • 12 oz. bag veggie spiral pasta
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup black olives, chopped
  • 2 cups mango, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups mango vinaigrette

Cook the pasta in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-duty pan with a heavy bottom. Pour a ¼ cup of kosher salt in the pan. Add 14.5 oz. of chicken stock and 10 cups of water. Bring to a roiling boil. Add the pasta and follow the directions on the package to reach al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, chop the peppers, onion, olives, mango, and cilantro. Once you have it all ready, set it to the side, and try not to snack on too much. I find it hard to stay out of the mango and the olives!

Once The Pasta Is Done…

When the pasta is al dente, drain the noodles, but don’t rinse the pasta, which removes the flavor. Pour into a bowl, drizzle several teaspoons of olive oil, and toss to coat the pasta, adding chopped ingredients.

Finally, add your chilled vinaigrette and stir. Chill the entire salad for at least two to four hours.

It looks, and tastes, like summer in a bowl. The beautiful colors and all the wonderful flavors will make this dish a regular at your house, too. Don’t be afraid to experiment:

  • Adding diced ham
  • If you are vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth
  • Have fun and enjoy!