Spicy Watermelon Salad

Watermelon is one of my favorite parts of summer. Seeing the little watermelons showing up on vines in my garden makes my heart happy. There’s not a thing wrong with just plain old slices of watermelon, especially when eaten outside on a hot summer evening. Okay, the mosquitoes you’re likely to encounter in the process (if you’re in the south at least) might be one things wrong with that scenario, but that’s the only one that pops to mind. With that said, variety is very much the spice of life. As summer progresses and the novelty of plain watermelon wears off, and thus, enter watermelon salad.

Spicy Watermelon Salad

My mother was never much for watermelon salad when I was growing up, but during college I ran across the concept at a little cafe that was conveniently located halfway between my house and the building that housed most of my major specific classes. That salad was a little more traditional combination of feta, mint, and melon, which is also excellent. Both versions sit lightly enough on the stomach to be tolerated by a college student riding their bike to class and home again in 90º F or hotter temperatures and humidity that makes it feel like you’re breathing pea soup. That light, hydrating aspect of this recipe has made it my go to for outdoor potlucks, BBQs, and picnics. It’s also colorful, and very quick and easy to prepare.

Spicy Watermelon Salad

Fresh, quick, easy side summer side dish that also happens to be vegan, paleo, and meets Whole30 requirements. 

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6


  • 6 cups watermelon (cubed)
  • 1 large jalapeno (or 2 small ones, for more heat)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped)


  1. Put watermelon in large mixing bowl. You will need space to stir it.

  2. Finely dice jalapeno. If you want this dish to be more on the mild side, remove seeds before dicing. If you’re aiming for more heat, leave the seeds in.

  3. Combine salt, diced jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Stir until salt is dissolved. Pour this mixture over watermelon, then gently mix.

  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

This makes a great make ahead side. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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