Summer’s sizzling hot days are dwindling as the promise of autumn looms closer and closer (YAY!). Around this time every year, I rush to feast on all of my favorite summer treats and plan my last-minute summer activities before I grab a mug of hot coffee, snuggle into cozy sweaters, and hibernate amongst fuzzy blankets. While the typical summer activities are put on hold for the year 2020, the extra time gave me a chance to eat my way through all of my summer season favorites such as watermelon salad.
This particular late-summer salad celebrates all of the best summer produce such as avocado, cucumber, mint, cilantro, etc. The highlight and main ingredient is watermelon. After all, you have to get all that produce while the getting is good (soup season is coming soon!) Easy and quick to make, it is the perfect side for beachside taco Tuesday nights!
Watermelon Salad Ingredients
The Late-Summer Produce
This watermelon salad is packed full of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and herbs. With this healthy produce base, you eat a whole plate! Another bonus is that this salad is free from major allergens such as wheat, gluten, soy, and peanuts. For those who are lactose intolerant, we have an altered version for you.
- Watermelon: Watermelon brings a juicy and sweet side to the dish. For those struggling to drink more water, watermelon helps keep you hydrated!
- English Cucumber: While mild in flavor, the cucumber adds a nice crunchy texture to the dish. It also helps rehydrate the body!
- Red Onion: The onion adds another layer of crunch with a punch of strong and sweet flavors.
- Avocado brings in the creaminess to the dish. Packed with healthy fiber and fats, avocado is your (and every other millennial’s) best friend.
- Jalapeño: Here comes the spice. It mingles well with the creaminess of the avocado and sweetness of the watermelon.
- Mint: Once again, another refreshing part of the dish. Mint helps with indigestion! Cucumber and mint always go hand-in-hand.
- Cilantro adds earthiness to the dish. It pairs well with the queso fresco.
- Garlic, when added to the sauce, brightens the flavor. In my opinion, you should add a bit of garlic to every dish.
Queso Fresco, otherwise known as “Fresh Cheese” comes from Mexico. Made traditionally from cow or goat’s milk, it has a light, mild flavor and crumbly, solid texture. The cheese is perfect for a fresh salad or taco topping because it does not overpower the dish. Instead, the salty flavor enhances the flavors it is paired with. I LOVE this cheese which is why it is added to this late-summer watermelon salad. If you do not like queso fresco, switch it out for a nice feta. For those who wish to make this salad vegan or lactose intolerant, just omit the queso fresco from the recipe!
Mexican Crema is the base for the salad dressing. Crema is the Mexican version of French crème fraîche, a heavy, slightly sour cream reminiscent of American sour cream. Mixed with a bit of olive oil, salt, and garlic, it is the perfect addition to tacos and this salad. In this recipe, I make way more dressing than needed so I can add it on top of my tacos as well!
This post is not sponsored but I did want to talk to you about the Jacobsen Ghost Chili Salt I added to bring an extra layer of spice to the dish. It does not cause the salad dressing to become excessively spicy, but instead adds a nice bit of heat to the tongue. I can eat the sauce without adding it to the dish and it doesn’t bother me. Jacobsen salts are a lot of fun to try cooking with!
If you do not have the salt and do not wish to order it, I recommend adding a minced jalapeño instead.
For those trying to cook vegan or lactose-free, I recommend an olive oil-based sauce. All you need to do is mix some garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and jalapeño. This will still be tasty!!!
We Hope You Enjoy Our Late-Summer Watermelon Salad!
This watermelon salad recipe will probably be the last for 2020 summer recipes. I am more than excited for fall to begin. I will probably get a head start on autumn-themed tips and tricks. Also, check out our Halloween decorations, and recipes. Our 2020 autumn will probably look different than years past, right?
Do you have a favorite late-summer recipe? Let us know in the comments below.
Watermelon Salad with Queso FrescoCourse: Recipes, Side Dishes, SaladsCuisine: Summer, Mexican Fusion InspiredDifficulty: Easy
This late-summer watermelon salad is inspired from Mexican ingredients such as queso fresco and Mexican crema. It has a mixture of natural sweetness, spicy heat, refreshing coolness, and acidic tartness. Perfect for those late summer evenings! We hope you enjoy this healthy watermelon salad recipe!
- DRESSING INGREDIENTS (*Vegan option below in notes)
7 Oz Mexican Crema (198.45 g)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 TSP Ghost Chili Salt (or more to taste)
Optional: 1 Minced Jalapeño instead of ghost chili salt. (If using Jalapeño add normal kosher salt to dressing)
- SALAD INGREDIENTS
5 Cups Cubed Watermelon (Approximately 737 g)
1 Overflowing Cup of Diced Cucumber (180 g)
1/4 of Large Red Onion (180 g)
1/4 Cup Mint (3.5 g)
1 Thinly Sliced Jalapeño
1/3 Cup Cilantro (7 g)
Sprinkle of Salt to Taste
1/3 Cup Crumbled Queso Fresco ( approximately 50 g)
- Make the dressing: In a bowl combine the Mexican crema, olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, and salt (or minced jalapeño). Whisk until fully blended.
- Prep all of your ingredients by slicing, chopping, mincing, etc. for the salad.
- Combine the cubed watermelon, cubed cucumber, sliced red onions, cubed avocado, and sliced jalapeño together.
- Sprinkle the mint, cilantro, and queso fresco over the salad for presentation.
- Serve with the dressing and salt on the side for individuals to dress their own salad (salad can become watery or mushy if pre-dressed far in advance)
- NOTE: The dressing makes more than needed on the salad. Extra to be served with tacos or other main dish.
- *NOTE: For those trying to cook vegan or lactose-free, I recommend an olive oil-based sauce. All you need to do is mix some garlic, salt, pepper, 5 TBSP olive oil, and jalapeño. This will still be tasty!!! Also, skip the queso fresco.
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