Mango in a pesto pasta salad? Yes. It works (at least for my tastebuds!) This one came from the fact my box of mangoes were running out of time, and I was working on my basil pesto recipe. Tons of pasta in the cupboard. So I thought "why not" and put it all together with a shrug. My husband was not optimistic and looked at the bowl with some side-eye action. But guess what? He ended up loving it and went back for seconds.
So give this one a try, and see what you think. The pesto does not contain any oil, and as a result has fewer calories than a standard pesto. If you like spicy, throw some crushed red pepper flakes or a bit of your favorite chili powder on top. We were too hungry and rushed to do this for the pictures, but it worked really well on the leftovers.
Mango and Pesto Pasta Salad
- 3-4 cups cooked pasta
- 1/3 cup pesto Oil Free Basil Pesto recipe
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup ripe mango about 1 small mango, cubed
- seasoning to taste Salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, drizzle of lime juice
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Any kind of pasta will work well for this recipe, either traditional or bean or pea based pastas work well. Drain and rinse well when cooking is complete.
- Toss the pasta with the mango and pesto in a large bowl, then transfer to individual serving bowls.
- Garnish with chopped basil if desired, and season to taste. Red chili flakes and black pepper are recommended.
Alterations and additions and other notes
The pasta we used for this one was a standard whole wheat pasta. I have made pesto salads with all types of pasta, from bean to legume. My favorite so far is chickpea pasta.
The mango we used was an Ataulfo mango, which goes by a few different names. Learn more about the mango here. I love these mangoes because they are a bit tangier, and are less stringy. They cube up perfectly for salads, desserts, or just eating plain.
I think the best addition to this pasta salad would be some form of vegetable, and the first two I would go for is a leafy green like arugula or crisp English Peas. A chiffonade of basil on top would also be lovely.