Summer’s here and the eating is easy with my watermleon salsa popped with chili and lime. It’s a healthy low calorie refresher that works as a side dish for barbecues, or an easy appetizer with chips.
watermelon salsa is the unexpected recipe your summer needs
Of all the types of salsas I’ve made, watermelon never really crosssed my radar until last week. I bought one for my watermelon and couscous salad recipe and had some leftover. The watermelon was so flavorful and crunchy in the salad, it inspired me to make some sort of creative use of the rest. The chili and lime inspiration comes from a popular Mexican street snack, fruta con chile y limon, or fruit with chili and lemon. The mild spice and citrus acidity is the perfect foil for crunchy watermelon.
I’m able to effortlessly dice my salsa ingredients perfectly even with my favorite kitchen tool, the alligator chopper. You can read about it here, or just buy it, here. It’s truly one of my top favorite tools in my kitchen, especially during the summer salad season.
ingredients for watermelon salsa
This salsa is best made in high summer when watermelon is at its most flavorful. You can make this spicy by adding the jalapeño, or completely mild as written. Chili powder is not spicy hot, it just adds some intriguing warmth, so no worries there.
- seedless watermelon ~ this recipe is a great one for using up leftover watermelon because you won’t need a whole melon.
- colorful bell peppers, I use red, green, yellow, and orange.
- red onion ~ essential to balance out the sweet melon.
- fresh cilantro
- lime juice
- chili powder is not hot or spicy, but if you’d like a bit more kick, use chipotle powder.
- salt ~ just a pinch brings out the flavors and the juices.
- olive oil
- jalapeño is optional but recommended.
how you can change this up
- If you want to emphasize the savory personality of watermelon salsa you could add some salty crumbed feta cheese or Mexican cotija cheese.
- If you want to play up the sweet side, add a bit of honey.
- Some of you don’t care for cilantro, so try basil, mint, or simple parsley instead.
- If you miss the acidity in this salsa, consider adding diced mango. You could also add pineapple, strawberry, or kiwi.
- Watermelon is fairly bland on its own, so that makes it ideal for pairing up with different flavor profiles. Chili powder is traditional, so is Mexican tajin (tuh·heen) seasoning, which is a combo of chili, lime, and salt. But don’t stop there…try Middle Eastern sumac, cayenne pepper, or cumin.
- You could chop everything a little larger and serve this as a summer side salad.
what to eat with watermelon salsa
The obvious answer is serve your watermelon salsa with some crisp corn chips. But know that you’ve got lots of other options. It pairs well with just about anything you’re grilling…
- grilled chicken
- fish like salmon or tilapia, or shrimp
- a perfect pork tenderloin
- try it on hot dogs!
more salsa please!
- Pineapple Salsa
- Grilled Chicken with Peach Jalapeño Salsa
- Fire Roasted Salsa Negra (black salsa)
- Salmon with Berry Salsa
- Whitefish with Cherry Salsa
- Better Than Restaurant Salsa
- Roasted (or grilled!) Salmon with Kiwi Salsa
- alligator chopper (optional) Buy it here
- 4 cups seedless watermelon, cut in small dice
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut in small dice
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, cut in small dice
- 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, cut in small dice
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, cut in small dice
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced, optional
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, or more to taste. I like my dressings on the acidic side, but you may want to add a little more or a little less.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp chili powder, or more or less to taste
- coarse salt, to taste
- Toss everything in a bowl and taste to adjust the lime juice, salt, or chili.
- Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until ready to serve. I recommend not making it more than a few hours in advance.