Make Ahead

Savory Summer Watermelon Salad

June 30, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8, easily doubled
Author Notes

This is a nod to many things:

1) Memories of enjoying watermelon with salt on the hottest of summer days.

2) My sister, who was just visiting for two and a half weeks, and her amazing soy-balsamic-vinaigrette which we enjoyed nearly every night on her equally amazing salad combinations (baby greens, chili oil marinated goat cheese, mango and tomato was memorable).

3) A punch recipe from pauljoseph, which calls for the addition of vinegar in the simple syrup.

Enjoy with caution. Don’t forget that 8 cups of watermelon, while easy to consume in one sitting, feels like twice that much water in your belly. Just saying.

What You'll Need
  • for the dressing
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon wheat free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • for the salad
  • 8 cups of cubed seedless watermelon, chilled
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
  • 2/3 cup blanched sliced almonds (from the bulk bins)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. for the dressing
  2. In a small saucepan, begin heating the water before adding the brown sugar and stirring to dissolve. Add vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil (since there is not much liquid, this will happen quickly), and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until thickened and reduced, when a wooden spoon will leave an opening when dragged across the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients, transfer to a clean glass jar with a lid and refrigerate until needed.
  1. for the salad
  2. Toast slivered almonds in a large skillet or pan over medium heat until fragrant and browned (about 10 minutes), flipping the nuts by shaking the pan to prevent burning.
  3. When ready to serve, arrange watermelon cubes on a large serving platter or shallow bowl. Shower cilantro and toasted almonds over and around watermelon cubes. Add fresh grinds of black pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing over salad to taste (I used about half). If packing for a picnic, pack watermelon, cilantro and toasted almonds separately. Plate and dress at sunny destination. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • susan g
    susan g
  • hardlikearmour
  • gingerroot
  • Deedledum

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

6 Reviews

Deedledum June 17, 2015
Wow, this does sound good-I love watermelon salads. The headnote mentioned balsamic, but the ingredients called for sherry vinegar...I'm sure either would be good, but have I misinterpreted something? Maybe I should just make both, I doubt they'd go to waste...
gingerroot June 18, 2015
Hi Deedledum, thanks for the comment. Yes, the head note mentions a balsamic soy vinaigrette that my sister makes, but my recipe calls for sherry vinegar, which I prefer. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you give it a try.
susan G. July 2, 2011
That sauce is so good! All those flavors just sparkle. Next I'm trying it with a savory food base, and more salads and... and...
gingerroot July 2, 2011
Thank you, susan g! I'm thrilled you liked it. I've been putting the dressing on all my salads for the past few days...I have to make up another batch! : )
hardlikearmour June 30, 2011
Holy macaroni, this sound ridiculously good - sweet, juicy, crunchy, tangy, fresh, and savory all rolled into one dish!
gingerroot June 30, 2011
Thanks so much, hardlikearmour! You can definitely eat a lot without realizing it, lol.