This watermelon salad I created for the first time when I didn’t want to make the same watermelon, feta, olive version that is all over the internet now. I quickly decided I wanted to have a Mexican twist where I can use Tajin. Ian and I have started a new fondness for this seasoning blend (especially for rimming our glasses of beer or cocktails). Tajin is a spice blend of mild chiles, citrus from limes, and salt. It is tangy but not spicy.
Once I paired up those two flavors the remaining ingredients were not hard to consider. I decided, in the end, to add the list of ingredients below to complete the Mexican taste profile I was going for. I also wanted to ensure the salad was well balanced with different tastes and textures. This watermelon salad is vegetarian and vegan as it is made without feta or other cheeses compared to other recipes.
Ingredients for Watermelon Salad
Here is what is needed to assemble the salad:
- Seedless watermelon – juicy and refreshing
- Seedless cucumber – for color and a cool crisp texture
- Toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) – for a nutty taste and to add some crunch
- Red onion – for a sharp kick
- Dressing – lime, red wine vinegar & olive oil to add to the citrus blend in the Tajin
- Tajin – seasoning blend of lime, mild chilies & salt that adds a tart zing
- Fresh herbs to add a sprinkle of earthiness
I did not add any sort of cheese which many watermelon salads have. This salad needed to be different while also making it fit more dietary needs like vegan, paleo, etc. During this recipe creation, I had to make this a few times to get the dressing right and ensure the watermelon doesn’t “water down” the entire salad. If you follow the instructions below, you will have great results.
How to Make Watermelon Cucumber Salad
This watermelon salad recipe is so easy and can be made in about 15 minutes. The first step is to dice up the watermelon and get it into a colander in your sink. It is important to let the watermelon rest and drain while you are cutting the other items and mixing the dressing. This step helps keep the salad from being too juicy. I know, you want the watermelon to be juicy, that is the whole point of “WATER melon”. But for a salad? Not this time, no soggy salads, please.
Next, I like to toast the pepitas, pumpkin seeds. I do so in a dry pan over medium heat. No need to add oil. Toss them regularly to ensure an even toast. When they are close, watch them like a hawk. I have been known to burn these in the blink of an eye. When they are done, the pan can rest on the stove so they can cool off. You do not want these hot going into the salad
As the pepitas cool, slice the cucumbers into half rounds. I like the skin on but if you prefer to peel it, you can do that too. I like the brightness of the skins for a pop of color, plus the skins on an English cucumber are more tender and nice on the palate. The red onion with the watermelon in this salad is a great balance of sweet and spicy. Plus add herbs like basil, cilantro, and fresh parsley. All of that is an easy prep to dice up the onion and the fresh herbs and set aside.
In a large serving bowl, add the watermelon that has been draining, the cucumber slices, and the toasted pepitas that have cooled down.
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. The dressing is the best and perfect for a Mexican watermelon salad thanks to the fresh lime juice and the Tajin seasoning. Everything is now ready for the final step to combine everything and toss it gently.
Pour the dressing over the watermelon, cucumber, and pepitas. Add the red onion and sprinkle 1 TB of the Tajin over everything. Combine gently with a large slotted spoon. Add the fresh herbs to the top and sprinkle with the other 1 TB of Tajin. Eat immediately as this is best fresh but it can last for about 30 minutes.
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Mexican Watermelon Cucumber Salad
- ½ personal size seedless watermelon diced into bite-size pieces
- 1 English cucumber sliced thinly into 1/2 rounds
- ½ C hulled/shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ large red onion diced small
- 1 TB olive oil
- 3 TB lime juice
- ½ TB red wine vinegar
- 1 TB Tajin seasoning blend
- 2 TB Tajin seasoning blend
- salt & pepper
- ¼ C fresh herbs chopped combo cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, and/or basil - any mix you prefer
- Dice the watermelon into bite-sized pieces. As you dice, place pieces in a colander in the sink. The watermelon will release juice and you want that to drain to ensure the salad does not get soggy.
- Toast the pepitas in a dry saute pan over medium heat on the stove. It should take about 5 minutes. Make sure to toss often to ensure an even toast on both sides. Once toasted golden brown, turn off the heat and move the pan to the side so that they can cool before adding to the salad.
- Dice the red onion and fresh herbs into small dice, and then set them aside.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- In a large serving bowl add the watermelon, cucumber, and the cool pepitas.
- Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and stir gently with a large slotted spoon. Once combined, sprinkle over the top 1 TB of the Tajin, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Gently stir to combine. Top with the final 1 TB of Tajin.
- Serve immediately using a slotted spoon. Best if enjoyed right away but will stay crisp and fresh for at least 30 minutes.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 2.8g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 0.5g||3%|
|Total Carbohydrate 14.6g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1.1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 10.4g|
|Vitamin D 0mcg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
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