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Watermelon Salad

This sweet, savory, and spicy watermelon salad recipe is hiding a secret: pickled watermelon rinds!

Chef Helga Alessio, professional chef and StopWaste Environmental Educator Training graduate, prepared a number of recipes that save time, money, and make the most of food. Her cooking demonstrations at the Berkeley Farmers Market inspired us to use farm-fresh produce in simple, healthy, and food-saving recipes. Try this delicious, refreshing, and surprisingly hearty watermelon salad, featuring the inner rind of watermelon (tastes and looks just like cucumber, and tastes even better pickled!), inspired by Lucy Schaffer from The Prevention Test Kitchen.

Refreshing Watermelon Salad With A Secret 


  • 2 – 3 pounds of watermelon flesh cubed and quick-pickled inner rind  
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar  
  • 1 tsp honey, generous pinch of salt  
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced  
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced  
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil  


  1. Remove the soft red melon flesh and cube.
  2. Prepare the brine: Whisk vinegar with salt and honey. 
  3. To quick-pickle the inner rind, run your knife between the hard outer and softer light green inner melon rind. Chop the inner layer into bite-sized chunks and submerge in a brine while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  4. Thinly slice scallion and jalapeno.
  5. Stir scallion and jalapeno into brine mixture and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
  6. Toss the quick-pickle brine/vinaigrette, along with rind, scallion, and jalapeno, with melon cubes and sprinkle with roughly chopped cilantro and/or other fresh herbs. 

Tips and Variations:

Turn this recipe into a catch-all Mexican Gazpacho by pulsing in a blender with tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and lemon juice. Or for a Japanese twist, marinade the melon w. soy sauce, sugar, ginger, chilies, lime juice, Mirin, and sesame seeds. The recipe works with cantaloupe as well.

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