It took some time for mango salsa to grow on me because in the past I just didn’t enjoy the cloyingly sweet flavor that often accompanies many fruit salsas. What turned me around on the whole thing was trying a store-bought mango pineapple salsa that had a really spicy kick to it. There was just something about the heat from the spice that helped to tame the sweetness and essentially create a balanced combination of ingredients. The addition of the pineapple also helped add some tart flavor and to change up the texture of the fruit mix.
This recipe takes the usual sweet fruit ingredients and attempts to balance them with some spice from red onions and chili peppers. I was really pleased with the result because the salsa is sweet, but it doesn’t taste like you’re eating fruit salad. If you give this recipe a try, I would highly recommend messing around with the spice level to change up the flavors and find what works for you. In the ingredients I recommend one jalapeno for a mild heat (and it really is very mild) or a habanero instead for some extra kick. Lastly, I suggest trying the salsa on all kinds of foods such as grilled white fish, chicken, or pork for some truly tropical or Caribbean flavors!
Makes about 1.5 cups of mango pineapple salsa with 4 calories per teaspoon.
- 1 almost ripe mango, chopped (about 135 calories)
Note: You want a firm mango, but not a sour green one.
- 1/2 a small, fresh, peeled, and cored pineapple or about 10 oz. by weight, chopped (roughly 142 calories)
- 1/8 of a red onion, diced (about 5 calories)
- 1 jalapeno or 1 habanero pepper finely diced depending on the heat level you prefer (4 calories)
- 1 lime squeezed for juice, or 2 tablespoons (about 10 calories)
- 2 tablespoons of cilantro, diced and loosely packed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Optional: additional pinch of cayenne pepper to add more heat.
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Tablespoon and teaspoon measurements
- Large bowl
- Peel and chop the mango into small pieces about 1/4 of an inch in size. Don’t do what I did and just start to cut the mango before peeling it or you’ll end up with a lot more work to do. Instead, peel the mango first using a sharp knife and then cut it. Check out this nifty video from Allrecipes that shows you how to properly peel and cut a mango (but don’t toss out those skins until you’ve eaten any leftover fruit attached to them as a pre-salsa making snack!).
- Remove the chopped mango to a large bowl.
- Next, cut the 10 oz. of pineapple (about 1/2 a medium sized fresh pineapple – not from a can!) into small cubes the same size as your mango cubes. If you’re using a fresh pineapple with the skin on, then here is another video you can reference for how to properly cut one up! After you watch the video, you’ll see why I just bought some already peeled pineapple!
- Peel, core, and finely dice 1/8 of a red onion. If you have a very small red onion, then go ahead and cut 1/4 of it. You don’t want too much onion, but there should be just enough so its visible in the salsa.
- Finely dice an entire jalapeno into the salsa after removing the seeds. This gives the salsa a very mild heat. If you leave the seeds in, you’ll get a lot more heat, but you’ll also have seeds in the salsa. The alternative if you want the salsa spicier is to use more jalapeno, or even a habanero pepper instead. You can also just add a pinch of cayenne pepper to get the desired heat. Personally, I think this salsa needs some heat to cut through a lot of the sweetness, so I recommend a habanero pepper to the brave.
- Dice about two loosely packed tablespoons of cilantro into the salsa as well. If you don’t like cilantro, that’s too bad for you, but you can skip this step.
- Squeeze the juice from one medium to small lime into the salsa (about 2 tablespoons).
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Mix all of the ingredients together, cover the bowl, and let it sit in the fridge for an hour before serving just to let the ingredients all meld together.
- Serve with chips or as a food topping over grilled white fish like mahi mahi, cod, or tilapia!