I used to think the answer to this was “no” as it’s too watery and sweet, but after having it paired with tomatoes, I’ve changed my mind. The watermelon makes the tomatoes taste sweeter, and the tomatoes lend savory umami that makes the salad work.
Watermelon is a member of the gourd family along with cucumbers and squash and its thought to originate in West Africa. The first watermelons were mostly white rind with only a small bit of red around the seeds. It’s only through selective breeding that it’s become the sweet juicy fruit that we enjoy today.
Most watermelon salad recipes call for watermelon mint and feta, but in my version, I’ve added savory tomatoes to balance out the sweetness of the watermelon and replaced the feta with labneh, a fresh cheese. The dressing is a simple lime vinaigrette made with olive oil, fresh lime juice, and salt and the salad is garnished with mint and pink peppercorns.
I spend a few weeks cooking with two other chefs at a private retreat in the Colorado Rockies every summer and this year; the head chef made this amazing watermelon salad that included tomatoes. It’s the first time I actually enjoyed a salad made with watermelons, and I couldn’t wait to share my version with you guys.
- 300 grams watermelon (cut into bite-size cubes)
- 250 grams tomatoes (4 small tomatoes, cut into bite-size wedges)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup
- 2 sprigs spearmint
- 1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorns (crushed)
- Sea salt
- To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and salt.
- Drizzle the dressing over the watermelon and tomatoes and let this marinate for a few minutes.
- Divide the labneh between 4 plates and spread it around with a spoon.
- Arrange the watermelon and tomatoes on top of the labneh.
- Garnish the salad with mint. If the leaves are very large, chop them up first.
- Sprinkle with the crushed pink peppercorns and sea salt.