Recipe: Tropical Watermelon Fruit Salad

Upgrade your fruit salad with salt, spice and crunch

It's no secret that salt does wonders for fruit, and this is especially true for sweet, refreshing watermelon. Here, we take it a step farther and season the salt with spicy Aleppo pepper and citrusy sumac, giving this fruit salad an extra pop of flavor and making it something to remember rather than a side-dish afterthought.

To learn more, read "Spiceworld."

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Tropical Watermelon Fruit Salad
5 from 42 ratings
Never again will fruit salad be boring, thanks to the additions of sour pickled watermelon rind and spicy salt.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 35 minutes
  • For the Pickled Watermelon Rind
  • ½ seedless baby watermelon (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2⅓ cups water, divided
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For the Aleppo-Sumac Salt
  • 3 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons sumac
  • For the Fruit Salad
  • 4 cups watermelon pieces (from the baby watermelon above)
  • 2 cups bite-size mango pieces (2 mangos)
  • 1 cup pickled watermelon rind
  • 1 cup sliced kiwi rounds (2 kiwis, peeled)
  • 3 teaspoons Aleppo-sumac salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1½ cups bite-size avocado pieces (2 avocados)
  • ½ cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ⅓ cup toasted and roughly chopped macadamia nuts
  1. Make the pickled watermelon rind: Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the watermelon skin. Slice off the green flesh, leaving ¼ inch of the red flesh attached. Reserve the rest of the red watermelon for the salad.
  2. Cut enough of the green watermelon into ¼-inch pieces until you have about 2 cups, and combine with the salt and 2 cups of the water. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining ⅓ cup of the water, both vinegars, the cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat.
  4. Rinse the watermelon rind well and add it to the pickle brine saucepan. Bring to a boil, cooking for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a quart jar. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hour before using.
  5. Make the salt: In a small bowl, combine the flaky sea salt, Aleppo pepper and sumac.
  6. Assemble the salad: In a large serving bowl, combine the watermelon, mango, watermelon rind and kiwi. Season with the Aleppo-sumac salt, agave and lime juice, tossing gently to mix. Fold in the avocado pieces. Garnish with the coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and a pinch more of the Aleppo-sumac salt. Serve in a watermelon shark's head (optional).
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