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Watermelon with Lime Dressing and Peanuts

Watermelon with Lime Dressing and Peanuts

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Sometimes the easiest way to upgrade an old-school and often disappointing dish—such as fruit salad—is to change the way it looks. That means swapping retro cantaloupe cubes and honeydew balls for a melon with a modern cut. The jagged, irregular chunks of fruit in this recipe make it clear that something unexpected is about to happen.


  • ½ 6-lb. baby seedless watermelon
  • 2 sprigs basil, plus leaves for serving
  • ¼ cup salted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Recipe Preparation

  • Slice off both ends of the watermelon, then stand it upright on a flat side. Cut away rind in long curving strokes.

  • Halve melon crosswise. Working with one half at a time with the cut side facing up, slice off irregular bite-size pieces. Continue making your way around the melon, turning it as you work (standing it on the round side makes it easier to maneuver).

  • Stir lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1 Tbsp. water in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Lightly crush 2 basil sprigs by scrunching up in your hand and add to dressing along with watermelon; toss gently until coated.

  • Transfer watermelon salad to a platter, leaving basil sprigs behind. Top with peanuts and basil leaves, drizzle with oil, and season with salt.

Reviews SectionI have not made this recipe but have made something similar. The recipe I make calls for soy sauce instead of fish sauce, which I abhor. I would recommend trying that if you don’t like fish sauce. Mint also works nicely in place of basil.The fish sauce was off putting, definitely would not make again. However, I did the same without the fish sauce and it was significantly better. Also, I would recommend to change the recipe to say chiffonade the basil before putting it on the watermelon at the end.AnonymousBoston, MA08/22/18Amazing idea for dull a watermelon. Really delicious, a great plate for any summer BBQ too. Went down a treat!AoifeMcBath, England08/07/18Gotta disagree with the previous reviewer, I think this is a delicious and innovative twist on watermelon. This is obviously very inspired by Thai cuisine with the basil, peanuts, lime, and fish sauce, but the watermelon itself is still the dominant flavor. I even prepared this for a family gathering in the deep south where watermelon is a classic that is not to be messed with, and the reception was quite positive.AnonymousSeattle, WA08/07/18Honestly Horrid, who would do this to watermelon. I followed the recipe completely, GIANT let downsamuel.e.newton9459Detroit08/06/18

  • 2 pounds red watermelon, cut into ½" dice
  • 3 ea. firm avocado, cut into ¼" dice
  • 1 cup green lentils, cooked
  • 1 cup green beans, cooked, cut into ¼" pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 3 ea. kaffir lime leaves, fine julienne
  • 1 cup peanuts, skinless
  • ¼ cup black sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup white sesame seeds
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup peanut oil
  • ½ cup mint leaves, torn
  1. Combine watermelon, avocado, lentils, green beans, ginger and kaffir lime leaves in bowl. Toss gently to combine.
  2. Heat a sauté pan on medium heat and add peanuts. Toast until browned and add sesame seeds and coconut. Toss frequently until coconut is browned and toasted. Remove from pan and cool.
  3. Combine lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and salt in a bowl. With a whisk, slowly add peanut oil to combine.
  4. Pour dressing over the watermelon mixture, add the toasted ingredients and toss gently to combine. Garnish with mint. Season to taste.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

How to make lemon garlic salad dressing from scratch?

Handful ingredients and a few minutes is all that is required to make this simple yet flavourful salad dressing. Put olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic and seasoning in a bowl and mix until well combined. That&rsquos it! Homemade dressing is ready to drizzle on salad.

How long does homemade dressing last?

Generally, lemon juice helps keep dressing fresh and stable for longer. However, I wouldn&rsquot suggest storing this dressing for a longer time as it has fresh garlic. It stays good for up to 3-4 days if stored properly in a clean airtight container in the fridge. Alternatively, to extend the shelf life, consider adding garlic in the salad instead of dressing.


  • 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup finely minced scallions
  • 2 quarts peanut oil
  • 1 cup flour, well seasoned with salt
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • Sea salt
  • 2 personal-sized watermelons

The Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic passed through a Microplane grater
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh hot chiles (Serrano works great)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

The Garnishes

  • 1 cup or more of mixed fresh mint, Thai basil and cilantro leaves
  • 4 tablespoons crushed toasted peanuts
  • 4 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallot rings


Cut the chicken thighs into approximately 1-inch pieces. In a non-reactive bowl or Ziploc bag, mix the buttermilk with the minced scallions and cubed chicken. Marinate overnight in the fridge.

For the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients. Adjust for seasoning (I like this dressing a little tart because it compliments the watermelon).

Heat 2 quarts of peanut oil in a large pot or wok to 375 degrees F.

Drain away the buttermilk, reserve as much of the scallions sticking to the chicken as possible. Whisk together the flour and cornstarch. Dredge the chicken in the mixture. Discard excess flour mix. Fry the chicken in the oil for about 10 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towel and season with sea salt.

Peel and cube the watermelons (or use a melon baller if you prefer). Reserve the melon, divided into four large shallow bowls. Place the chicken on top of the watermelon, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the garnishes. Serve immediately.

And now, my list of 10 Q’s for Jeanine’s A’s

1. Describe your blog in 3 words:

2. If you could be one blogger other than yourself, who would you be?

Heidi Swanson – I think everything she creates is perfection.

3. Which 3 blogs do you follow/are obsessed with/can’t live a day without?

Right now, I’m also really loving Faring Well and Will Frolic for Food. But I love so many that this is really an unfair question.

4. What is the one kitchen tool you could never give up?

Aside from a great knife – my Vitamix blender.

5. What dish are you obsessed with mastering that you just can’t get quite right?

I don’t have a current obsession, but the one that eluded me for the longest time (literally years) was vegan brownies. Replacing eggs usually results in cakey brownies, but I like my brownies to have that crispy edge and a fudgy middle. I think I’ve finally figured it out (with the help of my mom), but I’m going to save that one for the blog after I work it out a bit more. )

6. What did you have for dinner last night?

7. What’s one secret talent outside of the kitchen nobody knows about you?

I can juggle. Literally and figuratively :)

8. You’re happiest when cooking/eating?

Soup. It doesn’t matter what kind, I find the process makes me feel both calm and creative at the same time.

9. The one ingredient to your success is?

Obsessing over details that probably no one but me will notice.

10. You and your husband worked on this book together. What were some of the good aspects about working together, and what were some of the challenging ones?

The good – we’re still together (ha!). We work on our blog photography together so we have a system that works.

The challenge with the book is that we just had so many MORE photos to shoot, all while keeping up with the blog. Jack took about 6 months off from his day job to help out with the book, to which I will be forever grateful.

And we are grateful for the two of you! Thank you Jeanine and Jack for being one of our favorite foodie crushes.

And now, let’s dig into a recipe from their cookbook.

Watermelon Salad with Lime and Peanuts

I love my Daddy-o with all my heart but I must say, when it comes to culinary proclivities, he can be a bit of an…odd duck. Like, really odd.

Things that man deems crave-worthy: Mama’s (in)famous orange potato salad, bologna roll-ups, braunsweiger on saltines, peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, a tall morning glass of V-8 mixed with sauerkraut juice. That last little item horrified me as a child and still makes my skin crawl, if I’m honest. Sorry, Daddy–I don’t care how many health benefits that wicked brew contains. A glass of that stuff is never passing my lips. More for you, eh?

I also grew up watching that brown-eyed rascal do strange things to fruit. Mama would place a lovely plate of cantaloupe or honeydew melon in front of him and he’d reach across the table for the salt and pepper shakers. He’d shower both over his plate before deeming it good to eat. Ditto with watermelon.

I’d wrinkle my nose in distaste and he’d chuckle. “Don’t knock it till you try it, kiddo.”

“Why do you do that?” I asked him once.

“Well, it’s something my parents always did, so I just grew up eating it that way,” he explained. “Plus, the salt somehow makes the melon taste sweeter.”

“I don’t understand how that could be right,” I said. “Sugar makes things sweet, not salt.”

“I’m not saying I can explain it,” he said. “It just is.”

Taking the bait, I reached for the salt shaker and put the teeniest bit over a slice of watermelon. I popped it into my mouth and my eyes widened in surprise. That little hit of salt actually did make the melon taste better. Not sweeter, exactly, but more melon-y…if that’s a word. It seemed juicier and more refreshing.

I won’t be taking him up on the bologna roll-ups (or the freakshow that is braunsweiger) anytime soon, but the salt on the melon? Count me in.

Which is why I opened the most recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine and had to smile at the following headline: Your Fruit Salad Needs Salt.

If Bon Appetit says it’s a good idea to combine fruit and salt, it must be true.

Not only do they advocate for salt (and sometimes pepper), they make a strong case for adding a little fat to the party. “Drizzling olive oil over savory fruits like tomatoes is second nature,” the article reads. “But put it on watermelon and people start to think you’ve lost your mind. Consider this: Olives and watermelons are both fruits, and just as vegetable-driven salads need fat to balance salt and acid, fruit salads crave the mouth-coating richness of oil to complement sweetness and acidity.”

Anyone who has ever eaten the swoon-worthy combination of watermelon, feta cheese, and basil/mint (drizzled with olive oil) can attest to this phenomenon. It’s strange magic, but I don’t question it. I just gobble it down with a smile.

That same article in Bon Appetit offered up several fruit-salt-fat recipes that seemed intriguing. Some seemed downright weird, which I always find irresistible. Present me with an oddball-sounding recipe and my fingers start to twitch. I’m dying to try it.

This particular recipe caught my fancy because it seemed fairly Vietnamese in flavor profile, and I love all things about the cuisine of Vietnam. I find the balance of sweet/salty/sour/fresh addictive.

Do not be afraid of the fish sauce in this recipe! It mainly adds that kick of salty flavor that complements the watermelon so well–you won’t get a fishy flavor at all. I really loved the crunch and the pop of the crushed peanuts, too. I think this salad is weird genius. If you’ve got a thirst for adventure running through your veins, give this recipe a try. I served it to some unsuspecting victims one late summer day, and it’s perfect antidote to hot weather.

Sometimes weird is a good thing.

Watermelon Salad with Lime and Peanuts

slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar or palm sugar

2 sprigs + 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 of a 6-pound baby seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into chunks (about 6 cups)

1/4 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts or roasted chile-flavored peanuts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small Fresno or jalapeno chile, seeded and thinly sliced

Stir lime juice, fish sauce sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Lightly crush 2 basil springs and add to the dressing. Add watermelon and toss gently.

Transfer watermelon to a platter, removing basil sprigs. Drizzle olive oil over, sprinkle with peanuts, 1/4 cup basil, sliced chiles and flaky sea salt.

I like the sound of this one! Watermelon works so well in savory dishes. I’ve grilled it before with feta and mint and loved it. Hope your summer is going well. Miss you!

I have to admit, I ate almost all of this salad myself. I thought it was crazy-ass good, especially if you have a really good watermelon, which this year has been as rare as seeing the Yeti. WTF is with the mediocre watermelons this year? I have bought one every week (so who is the dummy, here?) and only had three good ones. HERESY! I holler.

I saw this too, and was quite intrigued. Hmm. I also have a watermelon taking up way too much space on my counter….

If you try it, let me know what you think! I *finally* got a good watermelon today and I am making it again tonight!

Bread Salad With Watermelon

  • 8 slices of ciabatta
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil for frying
  • 80 g rocket
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 handfuls of basil leaves
  • 400 g watermelon (diced)
  • 100 g buffalo mozzarella (diced)

For the dressing: 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup, 4 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper

Dice the ciabatta. Peel and halve the garlic cloves. Fry both in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until crispy. Then let it cool down. Wash arugula, dry shake. Roast the pine nuts in a pan until golden brown. Mix the ingredients for the dressing. Mix with the bread cubes, melon, basil, rocket, pine nuts and cheese.

Asian watermelon salad

The dreaded and suffocating August – favourite with the majority of the tourists – has finally come to an end and the locals can finally breathe and enjoy the island before gale force winds descend on it in late October.

We are planning some quality beach time this weekend and it wasn’t until I saw some photos of English weather on Facebook the other day that it dawned on me that I might have waited a bit too long before publishing this very summery recipe.

I shot it back in the middle of July as I always try to have a few extra recipes up my sleeve and I completely forgot about it, to be perfectly honest. And now you are probably thinking why is she giving us a watermelon salad recipe in September? Fair point!

If you are still experiencing or about to (hello Australia!!) experience high summer temperatures it may come it handy. Or maybe you’ll have an Indian summer? Otherwise, you might get to try this recipe next year…

PS: If you make my Asian watermelon salad, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @lazycatkitchen and use the #lazycatkitchen hashtag. I love seeing your takes on my recipes!

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves (Optional)

Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of cold water set aside.

Whisk together the soy sauce, peanut butter, brown sugar, white vinegar, sesame oil, and 1 cup warm water in a small saucepan over medium heat simmer and stir until sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cornstarch mixture simmer until the sauce is thick, 1 or 2 minutes. Serve warm. Garnish with chopped peanuts and mint leaves as desired.

For this recipe, you’ll need cubed watermelon, shallots, garlic, basil, cilantro and fresh mint leaves. A simple lime dressing goes over the top of the salad and it is all tossed together for a bright and fresh summer dish. The sweet watermelon with crispy shallots make it un unusual sweet and savory combination that is truly addictive! You’ll want to enjoy this salad all summer long!

Join me in reading about the food hunted down for the #bloggerCLUE member’s kitchens!

Summer Watermelon Salad Recipe

Our delicious and refreshing summer watermelon salad recipe with mint and feta cheese is a perfect pick-me-up during the dog days of summer.

Cubes of sweet juicy watermelon are combined with crumbled salty feta cheese, fresh mint, coriander, and arugula leaves, and mixed salad greens, and then drizzled with a homemade dressing of olive oil and lime juice with a twist (thanks to soy sauce and sesame oil). Roasted peanuts add a crunchy element and contrasting texture, imparting a bit of bite to this awesome summer watermelon salad. The feta also adds a lovely creaminess.

The saltiness of feta cheese is a perfect complement to the cool sweetness of the watermelon. This classic sweet&ndashsalty flavour combination captures the essence of a summer salad recipe like few other salads.

Fresh mint and coriander along with the other salad greens make this the best summer watermelon salad, really brightening up the flavours of the other ingredients and lifting the sweetness of the watermelon.

Watermelon Salad Instructions and Tips:

Making this colourful, healthy, fuss-free fresh watermelon salad is easy and quick. You don&rsquot need any fancy ingredients. Just make sure that your ingredients are fresh and of good quality.

This easy watermelon summer salad can be enjoyed as a starter, snack, or even a light meal.

You can make it ahead of time and then chill it in the refrigerator, but it&rsquos best made just prior to serving, to maintain the crispness of the greens and the other ingredients.

For the best watermelon salad, use seedless watermelon or remove all seeds as you prep the fruit. If you enjoy biting into the seeds, and think it adds an interesting element, then keep the seeds.

You want a cool, refreshing, and hydrating salad recipe for a hot summer day, so chill the watermelon before you begin prepping.

It&rsquos best to use goat or sheep&rsquos-milk feta that is available in big blocks or chunks. Block feta is a much better choice than pre-crumbled feta.

Here is our simple recipe for fresh Watermelon Summer Salad with all ingredients and cooking Instructions from Yummefy Recipes


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