Crab and Mango Stuffed Avocado

Having an overflowing stash of buttery, perfectly ripe avocados on hand at all times makes my mom the happiest person in the world. And for that reason, this recipe is something of an homage to her love for the pear-shaped, green-fleshed fruit.

Vertical image of avocado halves filled with a salad on a white plate, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

If there is ever an avocado shortage in my mom’s part of the world, I know whodunnit.

On the plus side, there are plenty of things my mom could hoard that would be worse than holding on to a stash of avocados – old magazines, mismatched socks, cats…

And at least her habit-of-choice means my family will never be without fresh guacamole.

So… thanks, Mom, I guess?

This dish is simultaneously a tribute to her beloved produce, and to one of my family’s favorite appetizers that hails from a sushi restaurant frequented when we visit my sister in Oahu.

So which came first? The crab or the avocado?

I love a good ancient proverb.

Before we dive into the details of these superb seafood boats, I’ll regale you with a Hawaiian anecdote.

Vertical image of a stuffed salad on a white plate with a fork next to a pink napkin.

Before the worldwide pandemic made travel slightly more difficult, my parents and I would soar across the country once a year to visit my sister’s island abode. On one of our first trips there, she led us to Sansei, a modern Japanese eatery brimming with original twists on traditional sushi.

We made a habit of filling up on their most famous appetizer: a silky roll of rosy ahi enclosed in a golden, flash-fried panko shell, drowning in soy-wasabi butter sauce.

Hey. Stop drooling. I can see you, ya know.

But no matter how many crisp sashimi rounds my mom popped into her mouth during the first course, she would hold strong to her double order of the mango crab salad hand rolls.

Vertical image of a seafood and fresh fruit salad mixture on a white plate next to a metal fork.

The stunning plate featured creamy crab salad, herbs, local greens, and mango wrapped in emerald-colored soybean paper. The plump cylinders stood upright in a pool of sweet and spicy Thai vinaigrette.

I was a sucker for the panko-crusted ahi, but balanced it with bites of mango hand roll when my palate craved a hit of something fruity. The refreshing blend of sweet crab and juicy tropical fruit is a combination that’s stuck with me over the years.

Naturally, concocting a dish of my own that included a similar marriage of flavors was a no-brainer.

When I want something that’s not only light and bright, but guaranteed to bring a smile to my mom’s face, this crab and mango stuffed avocado reminds me of those Hawaiian vacations.

There’s no avocado in Sansei’s sushi-esque crab salad roll, but in my recipe, creamy avocado halves play the part of the edible vehicle. Avocados as a life raft for crab? Mahalo.

Crunchy bell peppers bring a citrusy pop while shallots add a delicate oniony note that cuts through the sweet elements. Jalapenos – with the seeds and ribs removed to negate the heat – bring a grassy flavor.

This fun recipe will be part of your go-to seafood recipes. Our avocado boats that are elegant, yet easy enough to make any day of the week. Juicy mango and crab meat bring sweetness, while jalapeno and lime-herb dressing add zesty flavor. Get all the delicious details now on Foodal. #seafoodrecipe #avocado #foodalVertical image of a stuffed salad on a white plate with a fork next to a pink napkin.

And leave it to tons of tart lime zest and juice to wake up every ingredient in the bowl.

If you’re a novice when it comes to zesting citrus, give this guide that covers the best microplanes and zesters for your home a look before moving on.

As for the crab meat, the good stuff is a little pricey. There’s no denying that. But this recipe really stretches it out.

You also want to use the highest quality seafood since you’re essentially eating the meat (almost) straight from the container as opposed to, you know, packing it into mayo-laden patties that are pan-seared and covered in cocktail sauce.

Recreating flavor memories in my kitchen may be my way of summoning delicious mementos, but even if you’ve never stepped foot off the mainland, you’ll happily devour these all the same.

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Horizontal image of avocado boats filled with a seafood and fruit salad.

Crab and Mango Stuffed Avocado


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings (2 avocado halves per serving) 1x

Description

Buttery avocado halves act as the vehicle for this citrusy crab and mango salad with shallots, sweet bell peppers, and spicy jalapenos. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium ripe mango, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 large shallot, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and diced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces lump crab meat
  • 6 large, ripe Hass avocados

Instructions

  1. Zest the lime, juice half of the lime, and add the zest and juice to a medium mixing bowl.. Reserve the other half of the lime to squeeze over the sliced avocado. Add 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and the basil to the bowl and stir with a whisk to combine. Add the oil gradually in a thin stream, whisking while you pour, to emulsify the dressing. 
  2. Add the mango, bell pepper, shallot, jalapeno, salt, and black pepper to the bowl, and toss to coat in the dressing. Gently fold in the crab meat and season to taste with additional salt if necessary. Set aside.
  3. Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Squeeze and rub the remaining lime half over the sliced avocados to keep them from oxidizing.
  4. Evenly scoop the crab-mango salad into the avocado halves, arrange on a platter, garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Crab
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: crab, mango, avocado, pepper, shallot, jalapeno

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Gather Ingredients, and Prep the Mango

Gather all of your ingredients, and wash the produce.

Horizontal image of a peeled and sliced mango on a wooden cutting board.

Slice the bottom tip off the mango so it stands upright. Using a sharp knife, peel the skin away from the flesh in thin strips. Slicing downward, cut the flesh away from the pit to create half circles.

Lay one of the pieces flat-side down and slice horizontally to create a few slabs. Keeping the slabs intact, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips, and then cut crosswise again to dice, rocking the knife steadily as you go.

Horizontal image of a cubed fresh mango next to a knife.

Since the mango’s shape is irregular, it’s okay if all the pieces aren’t exactly the same size. Aim for a small dice.

For more information on how to select, store, and cut fresh mangoes, be sure to review our full prep tutorial!

Step 2 – Prep and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Zest the whole lime, and juice half. Chop the cilantro and basil. Remove the seeds, and dice the bell pepper and jalapeno. Remove the skin, and dice the shallot.

Horizontal image of assorted measured fresh ingredients in bowls.

You’ll typically find fresh, already cooked crabmeat in (or near) the seafood section of the grocery store in a plastic container, and flavor-wise, this is preferred over canned. Smaller flaked crabmeat is fine, but lump pieces add bigger chunks that contribute more texture to the salad.

Select avocados that are ripe and ready to eat, but be careful not to select overly ripe ones –  their flesh may have some brown spots, or they may be too soft for a nice presentation.

Step 3 – Make the Lime-Herb Dressing

Add the zest of the lime and the juice to a medium-size mixing bowl. The other half of the lime will be used to squeeze and rub over the sliced avocado halves so they don’t oxidize and turn brown before being filled.

Horizontal image of whisking oil and fresh chopped herbs together in a glass bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and the basil to the bowl, and then whisk in the olive oil to make a vinaigrette. It might seem like a lot of herbs in proportion to the liquid, but the dressing is meant to be light, and the fresh herbs add tons of flavor.

Step 4 – Add the Remaining Ingredients to Make the Crab-Mango Salad

To assemble the crab-mango salad, add the mango, bell pepper, shallot, jalapeno, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to the bowl.

Horizontal image of an assorted mixture of seafood and fresh ingredients in a bowl with a spatula.

Toss the veggies to coat them in the dressing, and then gently fold in the crab meat. If you’re using lump crab meat, be especially careful so you don’t break up those large chunks of crab.

Season to taste with extra salt if necessary. Set the mixture aside. If you don’t want to serve this dish right away, you can refrigerate the salad at this point, and wait to prep the avocados until just before serving.

Step 5 – Prep the Avocados, Stuff, and Serve

Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Cut a thin sliver from the rounded sides so they can sit flat and don’t roll around on the plate.

Horizontal image of prepped avocados on a wooden cutting board.

Squeeze the remaining half of the lime over the avocado halves to keep them from oxidizing. Rub the juiced lime over every part of the flesh to ensure you haven’t missed any spots.

Horizontal image of stuffing a seafood salad in an avocado half with a tablespoon.

Generously but neatly – we’re going for an elegant presentation! – scoop the crab-mango salad into the avocado halves. You can also overstuff them so some of the filling spills over onto the plate if you like, for a more rustic look.

Arrange the stuffed avocados on a platter, garnish with the cilantro, and serve immediately.

Mastering the Mango

At least where I live, ripe mangos are readily available in almost every grocery store. Well, unless my mom got to them first…

Horizontal image of avocado boats filled with a seafood and fruit salad.

If you ask me, though, I think the reason for the surplus is because folks are often afraid of skinning and slicing them at home. But mangos are a cinch to work with once you get the hang of it.

They can create a slippery mess on the cutting board, however, so if I’m already planning to prep one, I usually go ahead and bang out a bunch. Mangos freeze like a pro for recipes like homemade sorbet, and you can never have enough mango cucumber salsa in your fridge.

A mix of lemon and lime is a welcome addition to any seafood salad, don’t you think? What types of citrus will you choose when you whip these up?

Share your zestiest tips in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

Ocean fare is the perfect plan when you need to break up a boring streak of weeknight dinners. Keep the seafood theme going strong with these sensational recipes:

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lorna Kring on June 10, 2015. Last updated on March 24, 2022.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

22 thoughts on “Crab and Mango Stuffed Avocado”

  1. This is another great light recipe for summer. I love crab and avocado, but have never combined the two. I like this idea, and adding mango into the mix will definitely sweeten the dish. I’ve already checked out the afore mention guide, so I am looking forward to trying out this and the other cooking techniques and recipes.

    Reply
    • It’s a wonderful combination of flavors Diane, and the mango really does add some sweet highlights – which are nicely toned down with the lime.

      Reply
  2. Goodness, Lorna, you’ve done it again! Mangoes and avocados are two of my favorite foods. I never thought about combining them. I don’t have a lot of experience with crab, and I have a family member who is allergic to shellfish. Pardon my ignorance, but would tuna be an acceptable substitute? Also, would cilantro and lime add anything to this recipe, or would the flavors clash? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Bummer about the shellfish allergy, but I don’t see any reason why tuna wouldn’t work. It’ll be a different flavor, but, why not? Grilled and cubed chicken makes a nice alternative as well.

      Reply
      • I have a different issue. I’m allergic to the avocado. Is there a substitution I could make? This filling sounds absolutely wonderful. I wonder if I might hollow out a piece of yellow squash of zucchini and fill it instead. Do you think squash would be too sweet?

        I’d appreciate your recommendation if you have any ideas.

        I suppose it could be served over a bed of lettuce of something as well. Maybe some fresh baby spinach?

        Reply
        • A bed of spinach or greens is nice Zyni, and I think summer squash would work too. Or you could scoop out a ripe pear, mango or a firm tomato. Hollow out a pepper maybe?

          Reply
  3. This looks so amazing! Definitely looks like something I’m going to try check out and make, once I get the ingredients in. I’ve been using avocado and crab a lot lately in my recipes, but I’ve yet to combine the two. Great idea, it looks like it turned out fantastic!

    Reply
  4. Kind of iffy making this since I saw jalapeno pepper is an ingredient and I don’t really like spicy things but this just looks too good not to try! I really like that last tip for making your avocados stable on your plate. That’s something we might overlook after we’ve done everything but is also important. Thanks for this recipe!

    Reply
    • Well, there’s nothing worse than having to chase food all over your plate! And leveling the avocado is a slick way to make it stay put. Hope you like them with or without the peppers.

      Reply
  5. Did this recipe just incorporate my favorite form of protein, seafood, and one of my favorite fruits into one dish? I can’t believe it! I thought stuffed mushrooms with lump crab meat was good, but this is going to be one heck of a contender. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • It did Sevrin, and if you like stuffed mushroom caps with crab I think you’ll enjoy this dish too. The mango and crab make an awesome combo…

      Reply
  6. What a wild combo! I don’t know. I’d have to taste this one to see. Ever since the Enzyme Eating plan I did years ago I separate fruit from other foods. It is supposed to digest better. I might just give this one a shot though because it is so interesting. Maybe just a bit less mango, this usually helps. I kind of want to scoop out the avocado and mash it into the rest. Dice it up a little. Probably wouldn’t look as nice as this.

    Reply
    • It is unusual, but a compelling flavor combo. And taking out some of the avocado makes more room for the stuffing, which is okay in my kitchen. Maybe just slice or dice it and serve on the side as a bit of a garnish.

      Reply
  7. This looks pretty good. Definitely different for me. I wonder if you still get a little bit of avocado in there from the bottom when you eat it. I’m not a huge fan of crab, but this looks like it might be an exception.

    Reply
    • You can leave in as much avocado as you like harpazo22, and it’s a pretty nice combo of flavors…. might just change your mind about crab!

      Reply
  8. I absolutely love the sound of this recipe! My favorite kind of dish is sweet and savory, so this would be the perfect dinner idea for my boyfriend and I. Seafood is also my favorite kind of food; however, it’s so hard getting my boyfriend to eat seafood. He likes avocados and he love mangos and if we put crab in it, I think he would fall in love! When I decide to make this, how long will leftovers stay good in the fridge? Also, could I freeze it for a later time? Thank you for this delicious post!

    Reply
    • Alas, it’s not the longest-lasting of recipes Soraya… the mix can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. And if you use fresh crab, it will keep in the freezer for 3 months. Hope you and your boyfriend enjoy it!

      Reply
  9. This sounds like a perfect combination of flavors and textures. A great dish to have with champagne. a friend is having a 60th birthday party in a couple of weeks and we’re all contributing dishes. I’m on the hors d’oeuvres list – this might be what I make.

    Reply
  10. This is such a good idea! I picture myself eating this one on the beach, you know, sand, sea, how weather and a refreshing food. One of my favorite things in life is probably avocados, they are extremely practical and you can do a lot of things with them, and also, they are not expensive at all. I’m not a really big fan of mango, so I guess that I would do my research to know what other fruit can I use as a substitute.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • It does say “summertime”, doesn’t it?!

      For a fruit substitute, try to keep a similar texture and in that sweet/tart flavor realm… kiwi fruit, papaya, or maybe pineapple would work.

      Reply

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