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Chayote Mango Salad with Avocado

October 31, 2012

Today I’m delighted to contribute a dish to the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Thanks to Annie of An Unrefined Vegan and Somer of Vedged Out for organizing this vegan feast, featuring 105 different bloggers in 14 countries!

If you’d like to join the party, you can follow the links backward (through the breads, drinks, and appetizers), or onward (through the rest of the salads, as well as the side dishes, soups, main dishes, and desserts). Look for the forward and backward links at the bottom of this post, or– if you like things in their proper order– start at the beginning.

(If this is your first time visiting Spontaneous Tomato, welcome! I love to eat— and cook– and travel. I try to share recipes from all over the world, and for many different diets. Check out the vegan recipes section of my recipe index, and if you like what you see, you can subscribe via RSS or follow Spontaneous Tomato on Facebook or Pinterest.)

Now, on to the recipe! My girlfriend works in an ophthalmologist’s office, and occasionally their patients bring in edible gifts to share with the staff. (This gets especially out of hand around the holidays, when patients bring in everything from candy bars and boxes of chocolate to tins of popcorn and homemade gingersnap cookies.) Sometimes, though, the gifts are full of local goodness, like homemade apricot jam, homegrown avocados, or most recently: chayote squash.

Make that six chayote squash. On my kitchen counter. At once.

I had never cooked with chayote squash before– and technically, I still haven’t, since I just keep using them to make this raw salad!– but I knew they could be eaten raw, if first marinated in lemon or lime juice. I thought that would be the perfect way to use the first chayote of the bunch: to toss it raw into a salad, and to get to know what it tastes like before possibly cooking up some of the other ones…

Before you dive in with your vegetable peeler, though, there’s something you should know: the chayote squash will be slimy when you peel it. And I mean slimy! You might even want to wear gloves– especially if the squash’s prickles are sharp. Don’t worry about the slimy texture, though; we’re going to soak it in a little fresh lime juice and that will magically crisp it up and bring out a little flavor along the way.

Speaking of flavor, what does a chayote taste like? Not much. it’s like a firmer, less watery, and more crispy cucumber. I think the texture and color are the most inviting, while the flavor is very neutral, but that’s why we dress it up with lime juice and chile and nestle it with sliced sweet mango and creamy avocado.

When I first stared down those six chayotes on my countertop, I considered simmering them in a soup, or perhaps roasting them, but I worried their flavor would be overwhelmed by the broth or the marinade… Little did I know, there was no need to worry, since it turns out: 1) chayotes have no real flavor to speak of anyway, and 2) this salad was so good that I’ve made it three times now!

It makes for a lovely chayote squash showcase: a crunchy, bright mix with the perfect balance of sweet and sour. (It’s not even really that spicy, believe it or not.)

It’s a refreshing and addictive salad that I’ve fallen head over heels for, so I’m happy to share it with you as you eat your way through the 104 other dishes of the Virtual Vegan Potluck. Enjoy!

p.s. If you have a favorite recipe that uses chayote, I’d love to hear about it!

Print this recipe.


Chayote Mango Salad with Avocado

(Serves 4 as a side salad; I would recommend doubling this for non-virtual potlucks)

~ 1-2 small chayotes
~ ½-1 fresh mango (a barely-ripened mango will work better here than a juicy one)
~ 1 ripe avocado
~ juice of ½-1 lime (to taste)
~ pinch of salt (to taste)
~ several generous dashes of chili powder (to taste)
~ chopped fresh cilantro to garnish (can’t believe I haven’t actually tried this yet)

How to make it:

1. Peel, then halve the chayote. Remove the white seed-like center, then slice it into long thin matchsticks, or wide thin strips that you then cut in half.

2. Transfer the chayote strips to a medium bowl and add the lime juice and salt. Stir to coat it well, and let the chayote soak in the lime juice for 5-10 minutes, or while you chop the mango and the avocado.

3. Peel and slice the mango. Add it to the chayote along with the chili powder, and stir to coat well. (Trust me when I say “several generous dashes” of chili powder! If you still don’t trust me, then I suppose you could add it gradually, to taste.)

4. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary, then dice the avocado into large cubes or wedges and gently toss them into the mix. Serve right away as a salad or side dish. (You can also make this a few hours ahead and keep it in the fridge, but I’d recommend waiting to add the avocado until right before you serve it.)

Print this recipe!

Your Virtual Vegan Potluck navigation buttons:
(A vegan feast awaits!)

Related recipe posts:
> Mango Coconut Popsicles with a hint of Lime (Vegan)
> Mango Lassi Muffins
> Lentil Green Bean Salad with Avocado and Vinaigrette Dressing (Vegan)

73 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2012 10:32 pm

    This looks great!!!

  2. October 31, 2012 11:32 pm

    looks so nice and summery! I have never heard of that type of squash before! I am intrigued..

    • October 31, 2012 11:37 pm

      Thanks! I know… you really don’t see them around much. I had heard of chayotes before, but I couldn’t have told you what they looked like until they showed up in my kitchen. I think they’re used in cooked dishes much more often, but they have such a great crunchy cucumber-like texture when they’re raw!

  3. October 31, 2012 11:42 pm

    Looks so simple and delicious, perfect Allison! Love VVP!

    • November 1, 2012 8:24 am

      Thanks, Brandi! I do too; I’m excited to see all the other VVP posts… it might take me through the weekend to do it though. :)

  4. November 1, 2012 12:33 am

    I love this easy yet very well flavoured salad! Yummy! :) xxx

  5. November 1, 2012 12:52 am

    liking the flavours!

    • November 1, 2012 8:23 am

      Thanks! Lime and chili powder make for a pretty awesome combination.

  6. November 1, 2012 3:56 am

    I’ve never seen a chayote squash before but it looks tasty! I love mango in salads mm :)

    • November 1, 2012 8:22 am

      The chayote doesn’t have that much flavor itself, but it has a refreshing crunchy texture, and some foods are just more about texture than flavor… (especially if you can tuck them into a flavorful salad like this one).

  7. November 1, 2012 7:02 am

    How fun! I love trying out new fruits and vegetables, and chayote is a new one for me! It sounds wonderful soaked in lime juice; plus, mango & avocado make everything better!

    • November 1, 2012 8:16 am

      I agree! I pretty much like adding avocado to everything. When I can add mango too… even better!

  8. November 1, 2012 7:49 am

    Down here in the south we call them Mirliton (mer-le-tahn) and frequently stuff them with shrimp & crab and top them with buttered breadcrumbs (or chop them up with the stuffing ingredients and make it all into a casserole). They also go by the name vegetable pear, and the varieties we see down here tend to have lighter green skins and no prickles.

    I never knew you could eat them raw!

    • November 1, 2012 8:17 am

      Wow, I’ve never heard of Mirliton, though I had heard “vegetable pear”– I just didn’t know that referred to chayote. They sound delicious prepared that way, too… and yes, they’re awesome raw; you should try it! :)

  9. November 1, 2012 7:54 am

    Oh wow – I’ve heard of chayote, but have never tried one before! Very cool salad. Thank you SO much for participating in the Potluck!

    • November 1, 2012 8:18 am

      Thank YOU so much for organizing! I’ve been excited to participate ever since I stumbled upon the last VVP back in May.

  10. November 1, 2012 8:56 am

    I’m gonna keep my eyes open for chayote, that looks so refreshing.

    • November 2, 2012 11:39 am

      It really is! I’m sure I’d even enjoy just plain chayote with lime juice as a snack, but it’s better all dressed up like this, when it can play the role of the crunch among more flavorful ingredients.

  11. Food Stories permalink
    November 1, 2012 9:21 am

    Just making my way through the VVP & wanted to say hey :-)

    • November 2, 2012 11:40 am

      Hi, and welcome– hope you’re enjoying the VVP! :) I still need to make my way all the way through the posts, too… I’ve probably only looked at a third of them so far.

  12. November 1, 2012 9:30 am


  13. November 1, 2012 10:28 am

    Very cool! I have never even HEARD of this thing!

    • November 2, 2012 11:43 am

      I know, you don’t see chayote around very often… and I definitely couldn’t have even told you what one looked like until my girlfriend brought these home, but now I know they’re really good! (I still have some left, and haven’t even tried cooking any of them yet… waiting for further inspiration to strike!)

  14. A Tablespoon of Liz permalink
    November 1, 2012 2:38 pm

    This look so good, I love putting fruit in salads! I’ve never heard of chayote squash before, but it looks interesting. I’ll have to keep my eye out for it.

    • November 2, 2012 11:26 am

      I do, too! Even in salads that have lots of greens, I like adding strawberries, peaches, or pears instead of tomatoes. (I actually have recipe posts up for two different strawberry salads…)
      Not-quite-ripe mangoes, like in this recipe, work really well too!

  15. November 1, 2012 4:52 pm

    I would have never thought to add avocado to this, but it looks amazing!

    • November 2, 2012 11:27 am

      Avocado makes everything better! ;) Actually, I think it would have been prettier if I’d added some long, thin wedges of avocado, instead of dicing it into cubes… but it still tasted great.

  16. November 1, 2012 6:04 pm

    Chayote is a new vegetable for me. Thank you for the introduction. I’ll keep my eye out for them at the super market next time. Blogging educates us in so many levels. :)

    • November 2, 2012 11:28 am

      Oh I agree! I’ve learned of so many different new dishes and cooking techniques by reading other people’s blogs… it’s always fun to stumble across an entirely new ingredient, too!

  17. November 1, 2012 6:08 pm

    What an amazing dish! Colorful, healthy and so unique.
    Love it!

    • November 2, 2012 11:29 am

      Thanks! Yes, I was going for the unique aspect as part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck, since I certainly didn’t opt for anything complex or impressive. This is so simple, it barely requires a recipe, but it’s a dish I really love!

  18. November 1, 2012 6:58 pm

    I’ll have to keep an eye out for chayote so I can make this pretty, healthy salad. It’s amazing how a few ingredients can transform into something so good!

    • November 2, 2012 11:32 am

      I agree, you can do so much with just a few simple, fresh ingredients. Hope you can find some chayotes soon!

  19. November 1, 2012 6:59 pm

    So I’m thinking what on earth is chayote? Then I saw the pic. We call them chokoes down here in Australia. What an awesome flavour combo, and it’s mango season here so I am making this one for sure!

    Thank you :D xx

    • November 2, 2012 11:34 am

      Yay, I’m glad you’ll be making it, and during mango season! :) I’m glad to learn another name for chayote– I’d never heard of “chokoes” before… so thank you!

  20. November 1, 2012 7:24 pm

    Love the idea of a virtual potluck!

    • November 2, 2012 11:35 am

      Yes, it’s a lovely idea– and I felt lucky to be able to participate. I think Annie (of the blog An Unrefined Vegan) is the one who created the potluck originally.

  21. November 2, 2012 7:30 am

    That sounds like a super refreshing salad! I’ve never had chayote before and I appreciate your description so that I know what it’s like! :)

    • November 2, 2012 11:36 am

      Thanks, Somer! Yes, that seems to be everyone’s general reaction to chayote… I hope you get a chance to try some soon! :)

  22. November 2, 2012 8:41 am

    Yum Allison! This looks so delicious! Perfect for a pick me up – just beautiful!

  23. November 2, 2012 9:34 am

    This looks so refreshing! And such a simple recipe :)

    • November 2, 2012 11:44 am

      Thanks! It really is refreshing– such a good balance of crunchy/juicy, and of sour/sweet. :)

  24. November 2, 2012 11:34 am

    This sounds like a really good salad. I have never tried chayote before but I’m totally game! Sorry I’ve been MIA Allison. Been busy at work and life in general. I have a minute to breathe, so I thought I’de stop by and say hello! Hello!

    • November 2, 2012 11:37 am

      Hi, Sarah! Thanks for stopping by! I’m so bad at keeping up with non-wordpress blogs; I feel bad I’ve been MIA on your blog too… I’ll try to catch up and see what’s new there soon :)

  25. Richgail Enriquez permalink
    November 2, 2012 12:51 pm

    I love chayote! Never thought of mixing it with avocado and mango but now it makes sense :) 3 of my fave things, yum!

    • November 2, 2012 4:13 pm

      Cool! I hope you get a chance to try it like this… :)

      What are your favorite ways to eat chayote?? I still have some left in my kitchen, and I’m looking for more recipe ideas!

  26. frieddandelions permalink
    November 2, 2012 3:52 pm

    This looks great! I’m used to roasting chayote (yum!) but I’ve never tried it raw. I will definitely add this to my list of things to try!

    • November 2, 2012 4:16 pm

      Awesome! They’re so good raw– I was planning to eat them all this way… though hm, maybe I should try roasting the last ones… that sounds good, too.

      When you roast them, do you just toss them in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper first? Or do you have some other trick to it?

  27. November 2, 2012 6:02 pm

    Mango and avocado sound like they’d be AMAZING together!

    • November 3, 2012 10:56 am

      They are! And you make a good point, Barb– I guess this Chayote Salad would be just as good without the chayote! ;)

  28. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    November 3, 2012 8:53 pm

    I’ve never tried chayote before and I don’t think I’ve seen it either. I love raw salad but challenging part for me is how to season each salad. Lime, salt, chili pepper – this sounds easy and I’d like to give it a try!

    • November 6, 2012 5:01 pm

      Yep, I had never seen chayote before either. The seasoning was easy to come up with once I had the idea to add mango, since mango and chili is such an awesome combination!

  29. November 3, 2012 10:04 pm

    MUST.FIND.CHAYOTE! This looks awesome!

  30. November 5, 2012 12:21 am

    Oooooh, so fresh and delicious!

    • November 6, 2012 5:03 pm

      :) Yep, it’s a super refreshing salad– I’ve really been enjoying it!

  31. spinachrevolution permalink
    November 7, 2012 7:53 am

    Very interesting. I have never even heard or seen a chayote squash before. New ingredient to try find…
    Thank you for the recipe.

    • November 7, 2012 9:07 am

      You’re welcome, hope you get a chance to try some chayote soon! :)

  32. November 7, 2012 2:37 pm

    Wow, what a refreshing and delicious salad! I’ve never tried chayote before and I’m curious, I’ll look for it at the market. Thanks! :)

    • November 8, 2012 9:17 am

      You’re welcome! I hope it’s not too hard to find chayote at the market! Depending on where you live, farmer’s markets might be a better bet…

  33. November 8, 2012 1:45 am

    Mouth is watering…!

  34. Laurel permalink
    August 21, 2015 5:03 pm

    I love the combination of chayote & mango cut in matchsticks with finely diced hot pepper, with a lemon & EVOO dressing…so refreshing & cool! just made it tonight! I find the chayote here in Canada at the Asian grocery stores although more of our regular stores are now carrying them. my Filipino coworker uses them regularly in her cooking as a squash cooked into her dishes.


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