Tropical Watermelon Fruit Salad

Upgrade your fruit salad with salt, spice and crunch
42 Ratings
100% would make again
Tropical Fruit Salad
Photo: Tasting Table

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."

Tropical Watermelon Fruit Salad

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours for pickling

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes, plus 2 hours for pickling


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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