Spicy Watermelon With Tomatoes, Prosciutto & Salted-Lime Yogurt

August 26, 2020
7 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This refreshing, beautiful salad is what summertime is all about. It requires absolutely no cooking. It’s loaded with all the good stuff: juicy watermelon, sun-drenched cherry tomatoes, snappy cucumbers, and fragrant basil. And it’s filling and savory enough to call dinner, thanks to big pieces of prosciutto nestled and tucked in the salad, and a swoosh-y bed of salted-lime yogurt that’s the perfect counterpoint to the spicy chile sauce that you drizzle over the top. The resulting combo of spicy-sweet-salty-savory flavors is habit-forming, so much so that I now have a hard time eating watermelon any other way!

About the chile sauce: Reach for a crispy-crunchy chili condiment that’s loaded with bits of fried chilies (and often garlic, onions, and other seasonings). Common brands include Lao Gan Ma Chile Crisp, Fly By Jing Sichuan Chile Crisp, and Chile Crunch. But if you don’t have a jar already, use whatever chile oil or sauce you have hanging out in your fridge, such as harissa, sambal oelek, or Sriracha. Or improvise by sprinkling chile flakes and drizzling olive oil and fresh lime juice all over your creation. No matter which way you go, you’ll have a simple, crazy-good dinner worth repeating until summer ends. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups seedless watermelon cubes (about 1 1/2-inches in size) (cantaloupe can be substituted)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup thin rounds of Persian cucumbers (from about 2 cucumbers), or English cucumber cut into half lengthwise, then thin half moons
  • 5 pinches flaky sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 to 2 limes)
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk plain yogurt (either Greek or regular)
  • 3 ounces prosciutto
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (or to taste) chile crisp, such as Lao Gan Ma or Chile Crunch brands (or substitute harissa or another favorite chile sauce)
  • 1 handful fresh basil and/or mint, leaves left whole or roughly torn
  • 4 pinches black sesame seeds, for serving
  1. Combine the watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a bowl. Add several big pinches of sea salt, 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 2 teaspoons lime juice. Gently toss and set aside. (Taste before plating, adjusting salt and acidity as needed.)
  2. In a small bowl, make salted-lime yogurt: Mix yogurt with 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, and a few big pinches of flaky salt.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the chile crisp with the remaining lime juice.
  4. On a large platter or individual plates, spread an even layer of the yogurt, going close to the edges of the plate so it’ll peek out. Top with the watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers (use a slotted spoon if there’s a lot of accumulated liquid at the bottom of the bowl). Arrange the prosciutto in and around the salad; same with the basil and/or mint. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds on top, then drizzle the chile crisp over the entire salad (including the yogurt at the edges). Serve right away with extra flaky sea salt plus extra chile crisp at the table.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Melissa Y
    Melissa Y
  • EmilyC
  • Linda D
    Linda D
  • Annie

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

4 Reviews

Melissa Y. July 17, 2023
I'd give this 10 stars if I could! What a fantastic combo of flavors and I love the international melting pot of ingredients! We matched this with an Oregon Pinot (Division Wine Making Company, a stellar small winemaking collective out of Portland, OR) and it was divine. This recipe blew me away. So easy and distinctive!
Linda D. July 28, 2021
Summer on a plate! Absolutely delicious, Emily. Thank you!
Annie September 8, 2020
This was absolutely delicious! I felt as though I went out to eat at a restaurant even though I made it. Its worth the extra effort to find the chile crisp (I ordered it on-line). The only change I made was to crisp up the prosciutto, and I only did that because the deli person cut the slices a little to thick to eat as is.
EmilyC September 9, 2020
Thanks Annie! So glad that you liked the salad, and that you now have a jar of chile crisp to enjoy! : )