Watermelon signifies all that is glorious about summertime. Abundant, inexpensive and most importantly refreshing, this fruit from the gourd family is hitting the sweet spot for most every American this time of year to help us cope with the heat. And hot it is!


As we’ve all been down the tried and true path of eating it straight from the rind, I wanted to present a path less traveled. Sure, many of us have had watermelon in salads a plenty, be it with other fruit or with feta and mint, this recipe stretches what we are comfortable with when it comes to our shared safe zone with this red vessel. Soy, chili, garlic, cilantro, and pistachio… can it get any stranger? But I haven’t led you down a path I haven’t already walked myself so trust that I won’t lead you astray. Come join me down this different but fun path that is not your Mama’s watermelon salad.


A few after the fire critiques: The salting of the melon and cucumber (it needs to be an English cucumber) can be skipped if in a pinch for time, however, this really helps strengthen their inherent flavors so just do it. Chili garlic sauce can be substituted with Sambal (less garlic) or Sriracha (less heat) if you can’t find it. Pistachio is THE go to nut for this recipe but more price friendly almonds are good as well.


This recipe was inspired by Kim Severson


Serves 6-8 as a side




4 Cups Watermelon, ½ inch cubes

3 Cups English Cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into ¼ inch strips

3 Tbsp. Lime Juice

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Chili Garlic Sauce

⅓ Cup Cilantro, chopped

⅓ Cup Pistachios, chopped

Pepper (be aggressive) and Salt (to taste)






Large and Small Bowl

Baking Sheet

Metal Rack

*Colander (if you can't find a rack)




Combine watermelon and cucumber and place on rack over a baking sheet or colander. Salt generously and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Remove and transfer to a large bowl.


In a smaller bowl, add lime juice, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and whisk to combine and pour over cucumber and watermelon. Add cilantro, pistachio, pepper (aggressively) and salt to taste and toss gently. Can be served cold or at room temperature. Indulge!