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Easy Cool Dinner or Side: Mango Fiesta Salad

When it's hot out and you don't feel like cooking or when you need something special to go with tacos or a Southwestern dinner, how about Mango Fiesta Salad? The salad is easy to put together, inexpensive, and keeps well in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve it. It's also loaded with fresh vegetables, a nutritious avocado, protein-rich black beans, and a sweet, juicy mango. I add Colby-Monterey Jack cheese for an extra protein and calcium boost as well as flavor. The salad is fine served "as is," but you also could top it with cooked chicken (or other meat or fish--shrimp would be good) and serve it atop salad greens for a more substantial meal.

Mango Fiesta Salad

Mango Fiesta Salad -- Serves 6+

1/4 cup of lime juice and the zest of a lime (or use lemon, if you don't have any limes)

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 cup of chopped green onions

1/2 cup of carrot shreds

1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper (red, orange, yellow, or a combination)

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

1 large mango, chopped (preferably an Atulfo or "champagne"--the yellow/orange ones)

1 15-16-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained

2 good handfuls of cilantro, chopped or torn (about a cup--or use parsley, if you don't like cilantro)

1/2 - 1 cup of shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice and zest, oil, salt, lemon-pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Add the remaining ingredients and mix them gently with the dressing until everything is combined and coated with the dressing. Serve the salad "as is," atop salad greens, and/or topped with the meat of your choice.

Main Dish Mango Fiesta Salad

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