Of Lent and Leftovers (Mango Avocado Salsa Recipe)

I was raised Byzantine Catholic. It is pretty much like being Roman Catholic, but not really.  I could explain further, but I really don’t intend to use my blog for theology lessons.  But for us, Lent starts on Monday, not Ash Wednesday.  We don’t even really acknowledge Ash Wednesday.  I remember the first time I saw someone with ashes on their head, I thought they had been cleaning their fireplace and then touched their forehead before they washed their hands.  Another difference is that on the first day of Lent and on Good Friday, we can’t have meat or dairy.  Growing up in a meat-and-carb-loving family who didn’t really like seafood or beans (or, in my case, fruits and vegetables), and knew absolutely nothing about vegan cooking, this was tough.  Basically we picked on Pop Tarts (yes, strangely most varieties of Pop Tarts are dairy-free), Campbell’s Tomato Soup, peanut butter, saltines, bananas, and lo mein all day.  Well, this was not very tasty, filling, or healthy.

Luckily in the past several years, I have learned to make and enjoy a wider variety of foods.  So now one of my go-to dishes for the first day of Lent and/or Good Friday is fish or shrimp tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa.  Actually this salsa makes a frequent appearance on our dinner table ever since I first saw the recipe I based it on two years ago.  I tweaked the ratios to how I like it, got rid of the raw onion, and replaced the jalapeno with chili powder and cumin, because I usually have these in my pantry, but don’t usually have a jalapeno lying around (and I am not a huge fan of chunks of raw jalapeno).  We LOVE it on fish, shrimp, black bean, or chicken tacos.

Tyler eating Mango Avocado Salsa

Clearly The Bug loves him some Mango Avocado Salsa

I used to make it with just half of a mango and half of an avocado, but The Bug absolutely devours it (well, he does pick around the tomatoes).  But when I use a whole avocado and mango, we do usually have some left over.  And I hate leftover food.  Well, actually, I hate throwing away week-old, uneaten leftover food.  So I have come up with a number of ways to “re-purpose” any salsa that is left.  Except for the salad, these are all some of The Bug’s favorites:

  • Scoop it up with Tostitos Scoops (I usually get the baked ones)
  • Put it in an omelet with cheese
  • Make a quesadilla with beans and/or cheese
  • Put it in a grilled cheese sandwich
  • Spoon some on top of a pile of  mashed black beans (my version of refried beans)
  • Scoop it on top of a salad with Cumin Lime Dressing, and maybe a little feta cheese (my cheaper, easier to find replacement for cotija cheese)
Fish Taco with Mango Avocado Salsa

Fish Taco

Mango Avocado Salsa on Black Beans

Black Beans

Mango Avocado Quesadilla


I am giving up wine this year.  It was that or ice cream, and I don’t feel like I can part with ice cream right now.  Are you giving up anything for Lent?

This post was shared with:

Pennywise Platter Thursday 2/23 blog carnival, on The Nourishing Gourmet

Traditional Tuesdays 2/28/12, on Whole New Mom

Hodge Podge Friday 3/2/12, on It’s a Hodge Podge Life

Mango Avocado Salsa
Adapted from Cooking Light


1 mango, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)Bowl of Mango Avocado Salsa

1 avocado, chopped (about 1 cup)

3/4 cup chopped tomatoes (I like to use grape tomatoes)

Juice of 1 lime

1-2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

A few grinds of pepper


1.  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  I like to squeeze the lime over it right after I cut the avocado to keep it from turning brown.

2.  If you have time, let it sit in the fridge for a little while to let the flavors blend before eating.

3.  Scoop onto your taco of choice.

4.  Enjoy!

Mango Avocado Salsa


Salad with Beets, Chickpeas, Cucumbers and Blue Cheese, eaten with a side of Mindfulness

(Feb, 22, 2012 – This post is linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday blog carnival)

The other day I happened to read two things that made me think about the way I eat.  The first was a New York Times piece about Mindful Eating, and then, while on my elliptical, I turned to this article in Self magazine about a woman who lost her sense of taste.  I claim to be a foodie, passionate about trying new foods and restaurants and recipes, savoring every delectable morsel, and describing in poetic detail how the delicate, yet complex balance of flavors dance upon my palate.  However, most of my meals are consumed in the presence of a toddler, so I am more mindful of him throwing rice and chicken on the floor, hurling his sippy cup at my head (or my wine glass), or taking off towards the den with fists full of yogurt.  What this leads to is shoveling down my food, barely tasting and enjoying it, not feeling physically full and/or emotionally satiated, and then eating something else that I truly wasn’t hungry for in the first place.  I would be devastated to actually lose my sense of taste, but I think I have taken it for granted lately.  This is definitely NOT mindful.

So this is my new mantra:


I put this post-it in my kitchen so that I can see it when I am making dinner, or eating with The Bug, or bringing dinner into the dining room.  A reminder to slow down and appreciate all of the sensations of food.  And life.  And people.  Because I don’t think I do that often enough.

So just before lunchtime, The Bug was happily watching Sesame Street, and I decided to look through my fridge and throw together a salad for myself.  I wanted something with a variety of tastes and textures.  Plus, I wanted to use up some odds and ends in my fridge, because one of my biggest pet peeves is throwing food away.  So this is the salad I came up with.  And I ate it.  Slowly.  MINDFULLY.  And put down my fork between each bite.  And appreciated the sweet versus salty versus tangy, crunchy versus creamy.  So good!

Salad with Beets Chickpeas Cucumbers and Blue Cheese

And then I ate handfuls of chocolate chips straight from the bag that night.  So much mindfulness.  Oh well, one step at a time…

Next time I may add a little chopped mint.  I didn’t have any, but I think it would add a great hit of freshness.  Oooh, and some walnuts, too, for crunch and omega-3’s.

Beet, Chickpea, Cucumber and Blue Cheese Salad (serves 1)

IngredientsSalad with Beets Chickpeas Cucumbers and Blue Cheese side

1 small roasted beet (about 1/2 cup), quartered and sliced

1/2 cup chickpeas (I had cooked a bunch in my crockpot, but canned would work fine, too)

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

2 T crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese

1-2 T vinaigrette dressing (I had made a balsamic vinaigrette the night before, but any homemade or bottled vinaigrette, or just some balsamic vinegar and olive oil will do)


Mix everything together in a bowl, then dump over the salad greens of your choice (I used mixed baby greens).


This recipe was shared with:

Shared with Fit & Fabulous Fridays #21, at Amee’s Savory Dish.

5-Ingredient Meals