Fresh Mango Salsa, With Roasted Red Pepper and Ginger

(Fun-and-easy-to-make, mango salsa with roasted red pepper and tomatillo, zested with ginger, makes a great accompaniment to grilled seafood or plain chips.
Originally published at,
July 22, 2010)

Mango salsa is an easy, fresh, colorful vitamin-C-packed dish for brunch, luncheon, or grill. Salsas of Aztec origin, similar to Indian chutneys, but usually not as sweet are made by mincing their ingredients finely and then shaking or tossing everything together. Typical salsas are made with tomatoes or tomatillos. For variety and flavor some cooks make salsa from fruits such as pineapple, orange, peach, kiwi, or mango.

Some recipes for salsa use only raw ingredients (which "pickle" in lime, lemon, or vinegar). This recipe uses roasted ingredients as well. You will need two bowls, one large enough to contain the contents of both bowls (a large clean jar with a lid would work well too, as you need to toss the ingredients together!).


Mangoes come from the same family as poison ivy and are natives of India. Just one has more than a day's supply of vitamin C, along with vitamins A, E, B6, potassium, plus traces of calcium and magnesium. Buy mangoes when fresh- and slightly-sweet smelling, still pretty firm, and just beginning to ripen. In a day or two a partially ripened mango will ripen at room temperature. The ripe mango should still smell fresh but sweeter and very fragant. The flesh should be firm but a bit softer.

Roasted red peppers add even more vitamin C to the salsa. Roasted tomatillos, members of the nightshade family and natives of Mexico, together with fresh ginger and celery hearts complement the flavor of mangoes and peppers. The ginger should be grated really finely: its flavor needs to meld with that of the mangoes in this recipe!

The capsaicin in the jalapeno and serrano peppers adds heat.  Capsaicin may also have health benefits.

Notes on the Recipe

Garlic is used without onions whereas onions are used in Eric Burkett's " Roasted Red Pepper and Mango Salsa " (August 20, 2010, Food Examiner), which inspires this version of mango salsa. In tomato salsas and other dishes, garlic and onions often work together. Some cooks however argue that garlic and onions from the same family are not complementary, that each gives a dish a particular flavor. In this mango salsa garlic alone adds its aroma to that of the ginger, lime, hot peppers, and cilantro.

Fresh Mango Salsa with Tomatillo, Roasted Red Pepper, and Ginger

  1. Grill or roast the tomatillos and peppers. First, brush the skins lightly with olive oil so that the skins are a bit shiney; place these on a grill rack or iron lid set over coals. The vegetables can also be covered with an iron lid while grilling. Make sure that they do not burn ( though a little charring is o.k.). The vegetables are properly grilled when the skins become soft and somewhat wrinkled. If you roast the mango, first slice the skin off, and save juice from the skin in a large bowl; then place the mango on an iron lid set over the coals and squeeze lime over it; turn it when it becomes golden.
  2. While the other vegetables are grilling, peel the mango and squeeze the juices from the skin into a large bowl the skin is loaded with antioxidants and flavor that you don't want to discard, and then place the mango into the bowl too.
  3. Now cut the mango's flesh right off from its pit and into the bowl chop it into 1/4" to 1/2" cubes.
  4. Squeeze the juice from the quarter lime over the mango to keep it fresh. Reserve the remaining lime juice.
  5. Mince the roasted skin of the tomatillo into the mango-lime mixture with the tomatillo (it's delicious)
  6. Remove the pit and seeds of the roasted red pepper, sliced the pepper into strips, skin and mince it, and add it to the mango mixture too.
  7. Mince the jalapeno and serrano pepper and add these, along with the celery.
  8. Combine the basil, cilantro, garlic, ginger, remaining lime juice, and oil in a second bowl or in a large clean jar.
  9. Add these to the mango mixture in the large bowl. Stir a little, cover, toss, stir a little more, cover, toss till well mixed.
  10. Add additional lime juice (the rest of the second lime) and roasted jalapeno pepper (the rest of the pepper) to taste.
This recipe makes enough for two-to-four. To feed a larger crowd, double or triple the ingredients (use two mangoes, etc.). With lime and garlic in it, the salsa does not really need salt, but you can add a pinch if you prefer. Then serve the salsa with grilled or steamed shrimp (from the Gulf), grilled chicken, or other grilled seafood.


Alternately you can serve it with just old-fashioned chips. To make low-fat, low-salt, toasted corn tortillas, place tortillas (if you like, lightly brushed with oil) on a grill or stovetop grill over a moderate or low flame. The tortillas will get some stripes from the grill, but don't let them burn. When golden brown, turn them and lightly brown the other side. Toast some pita bread instead of the tortillas, and this salsa will make a nice companion to curried lentils.