Mango Salad

‘Tis the season when mangoes are starting to crop up everywhere and I couldn’t be happier! Ataulfo mangoes captured my heart years ago, and I look forward to their return every year. I can eat one every day, if given the opportunity. You too?

Mango Salad

Mango Salad



I developed this Mango Salad because I love mango salsa, and really wanted to just eat it with a fork. You know what I mean? That’s the situation here, and it’s incredibly satisfying. Feel free to eat this with a spoon, a fork, with chips, in a lettuce wrap, on avocado toast, whatever. The recipe is versatile. If you give this recipe a try, tag me @lalalunchbox.

Mango Salad ingredients

Mango Salad ingredients


6 cups champagne/Ataulfo mangoes cut into 1 inch cubes (from 8 mangoes)
1 cup diced red onions
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon flake salt
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Chop the mangoes and place them into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add the chopped red onions and lime juice. Let that sit for at least 5 minutes so that the acid from the lime juice mellows the bite of the onion slightly. While that sits, add the chopped parsley and chopped cilantro to the mango, as well as the chopped jalapeño, if using. Combine thoroughly. Incorporate the lime-onions. Add salt, lime zest and cracked pepper and combine again. Eat immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The longer this sits, the more intense the flavors will become.

Kids and Salad

I've seen and heard of kids eating all kinds of salads. I see it with some of my friends' kids, and on Pinterest that kids eat all kinds of raw veggies and salads for both lunch and dinner. It hasn't been our experience here. While my kids do eat vegetables, they're usually cooked in some way (with the exception of carrots and celery). 

arugula salad with endive and parmesan

So last week when my older daughter (9 years old) had a sleepover with my niece, I was shocked to get a text that she had devoured the salad my sister made for dinner that night. "Must have that recipe," I texted back. And boom! Just like that, a new chapter has begun chez moi. I went out the next day and bought the ingredients: arugula, endive, parmesan and lemon and served it at a dinner party where it was gobbled up by four out of the five kids, and by all of the adults. The salad itself is nothing earth shattering. We're not recreating the wheel here. But it is enormously comforting to see that if you keep offering new foods, that one day kids will be comfortable enough to give it a go. 

My daughter even requested it for lunch today. A first! She says she loves the spicy arugula and the mild endive mixed together. And she's a huge parmesan cheese fan. Plus, most things taste amazing with olive oil and lemon. 

lunch with salad!

Do your kids eat salad? If so, what kind? 

Arugula Salad with Endive and Parmesan

8 oz baby arugula 
1 endive, sliced
4 oz Parmesan, sliced with a cheese plain
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil to taste

Toss all salad ingredients together. Drizzle olive oil and squeeze lemon juice on top. Combine everything and eat immediately. 

The Thing About Comfort Food

When you think of comfort food, what comes to mind? My mom always says it's her mom's fried chicken wings or a baked potato.  And sure, while fried chicken wings are comforting in their decadence and deliciousness, they are not the first thing that I yearn for. As for baked potatoes, I realize this sounds crazy to some, but they never appealed to me. It's easy to find goodness in a great array of foods that are labeled "comfort foods" (like chocolate chip cookies, big juicy burgers, chicken soup or cheesy pastas). But what is it about comfort foods that make them so comforting anyway? What exactly are we looking for in comfort food? 

roast chicken and sweet potato

I've spent a fair amount of time these past few weeks helping a loved one who just had major surgery. Last week, I made dinner for her kids while she was in the hospital and yesterday I brought groceries to cook in her kitchen for her family. Both times, I relied on my own definition of comfort food: simple roast chicken (dark meat only). For me, roast chicken is a return to home. To reliably delicious family dinners where I sat around a formica table for 18 years with my parents and sister and discussed the comings and goings of the day. Where we hashed out familiar family chatter and where I began to discover, embrace and enjoy the world and my place in it. I'm grateful for those evenings, and a large part of what I find comforting in the food is that return to the simple pleasures of the company of loved ones. 

The smell of my mom's roast chicken and the taste of juicy thigh meat with white rice soaked in chicken juices is, to me, the most comforting food ever. When I was little, we had vegetable minimums; my mom told us we had to eat 4 green beans or two pieces of broccoli. I never had a problem with that, and in fact, green beans alongside that chicken and rice absolutely completes the comfort meal for me. And we must have eaten rice three days a week with dinner. I absolutely love rice. 

So as I set out to make a difficult time even slightly easier for my loved ones, I returned to my concept of comfort food and made roast chicken. I made some additions and modifications to suit the tastebuds of others and included a spinach salad with eggs, onions and bacon with a warm bacon vinaigrette that I knew would be appreciated. 

What do you seek in comfort food? 

Roast Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato Chips

roasting chicken and sweet potato chips

8 drumsticks
2 large sweet potatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 375. Arrange the chicken on a baking tray lined with either aluminum foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle salt, garlic and thyme on both sides of the meat. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice the sweet potatoes into rounds. Arrange on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Roast for approximately 35 minutes or until the juices of the chicken run clear and the sweet potato chips are slightly browned and crispy. 

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Eggs, Onions and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

10 ounces baby spinach
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1 large red onion, sliced thinly
1 package of bacon
6 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Spinach Salad with Bacon and Eggs

Toss the spinach and mushrooms in a large bowl. Fry the bacon in a pan (I used a cast iron skillet). Remove the bacon and  reserve most of the bacon grease. Fry the onion in the same pan, in the bacon grease. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to the salad. Remove the onion from the pan and when slightly cooled, add to the salad. While the skillet is still hot, add the mustard, sugar and red wine vinegar with the reserved bacon grease and stir vigorously so that the mustard clumps dissolve and a fragrant dressing magically materializes. Add the sliced egg to the salad and pour on the warm vinaigrette. Special thanks to The Pioneer Woman for the idea of this recipe! 

Chick Pea Salad with Dried Mango and Avocado

Hello, lunch! Refreshing, filling, sweet and savory. YUM. 

dried mango chick pea salad.jpg

Chickpeas with Dried Mango and Avocado

1/2 cup of chopped dried mango
1/2 cup of chick peas
1/2 avocado
1/3 cup chopped bell pepper (we used yellow pepper here)
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
2 teaspoons of olive oil
juice of half of a Meyer lemon
1.5 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro
teaspoons of fresh chopped mint

Combine all ingredients and let the flavors dance together. This is best at room temperature and even better on day two! 

Carrot Salad with Peeled Snacks Dried Cherries

Last night as I unpacked my weekly box of produce from Urban Organic I realized that I already had three bags of organic carrots in my fridge. Three! I'm not even sure how that happened but I'm pretty darn excited about it.

Months ago, LaLa Lunchbox teamed up with Peeled Snacks and their dried cherries, while only available for a limited time, are beloved by my family members - I was psyched to combine them with my carrot  overflow. I absolutely love these dried cherries - and feel great serving something to my family with a label that says "organic cherries. Nothing added."

I came up with the recipe below to combine the earthy carrot flavor with the succulent dried cherries from Peeled Snacks alongside some of our summertime favorites and it made for a wonderful lunch salad today. 


I peeled and roughly cut all three pounds of carrots and steamed them until they were al dente. Some of it made for a fantastic snack last night as my husband and I feverishly tried to catch up on past episodes of Breaking Bad before the new season begins. Today I combined a pound of them with Peeled Snacks dried cherries, avocado, cilantro, lime, scallion and spices (full recipe below) and the outcome is awesome. I've been so into grain salads and kale salads lately, and this is a refreshing, welcomed change.  



1 pound of carrots, peeled, chopped and steamed
1/2 cup Peeled Snacks dried cherries
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Eat right away or let it sit so that the flavors intensify. Enjoy!