Spiced Almond, Green Mango, Mint, Black Bean and Mozzarella Salad

In Baby Little Gem Leaves

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By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

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Baby Little Gem leaves make a perfect vessel for a canapé – especially the inner ones, when they aren’t too floppy. You should get around 6–10 good leaves per lettuce. If you can’t get a green mango use half regular mango and half cucumber or jícama, or try green papaya. The black beans are Chinese, and the ones you want to look for are salted whole beans, rather than black bean sauce – although the latter will do at a pinch.


  • handful of almonds (I prefer the ones with the brown skin still on)
  • ¼ teaspoon pimenton (smoked paprikapicante will be hotter than dulce)
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar
  • teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ green mango
  • 12 large mint leaves, shredded
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon salted black beans (see above), briefly rinsed and drained
  • 150 g mozzarella, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 2 baby Gem lettuces, leaves separated (you want 12 good leaves)


Preheat the oven to 160°C, gas 3, and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Mix the almonds with the paprika, icing sugar, ½ teaspoon of the olive oil and the salt, and spread on the lined tray. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until the almonds have begun to turn golden on the inside (break one open), then tip on to a plate and leave to cool. Cut each one in half lengthways.

Peel the mango and cut the flesh into fine julienne strips (a mandolin grater is ideal for this). Mix these with the mint and lime juice.

Roughly chop the black beans and mix with the mozzarella.

Divide the mango mixture between the Baby Gem leaves, then top with the mozzarella mixture and some almond halves.