This hydrating watermelon cucumber salad with honey lime dressing is light and fresh. I’ve added crumbly queso fresco, blueberries and a smidge of piment d’espelette to the dish for a unique watermelon blueberry salad that stands apart from the rest.
I was in New York about a month ago when the temperature hit 105°. Let me repeat that – 105°. Here in Florida, it’s not the heat — it’s the humidity and with feels like temps that range from 100°-105°, we look for every opportunity to hydrate and stay cool. That’s why this watermelon cucumber salad with honey lime dressing is a regular guest on our summer table.
I’ve always been crazy about ice cold watermelon in the summer months, so much that we’re constantly making this watermelon agua-fresca. Watermelon is sweet, but not overly so — and crazy juicy. In fact, watermelon is 92% water – so it’s a great hydrator and it contains potassium which is essential for regulating a body’s water balance.
Cucumbers are the other main component in this healthy summer salad and believe it or not — they’re 96% water — yes — even more than watermelon. I had no idea…
Begging your indulgence for just a moment — I am a food blogger which means I take pictures of my food and talk incessantly about it… I don’t expect that you have the same level of interest or intensity that I do about this — and therefore I DO NOT expect you to actually use shaped cutters to create fun designs for your watermelon and cucumbers THE WAY I DID.
I agree — I’ve gone a bit overboard here — and this summer side salad would taste every bit as delicious if you simply cut them into bite-sized chunks. However, if you’re feeling a little whimsical — or are trying to teach shapes to a toddler, use these fun cutters (affiliate link below) to make them. (Side note: this particular set of cutters also includes card suit shapes – for all you
poker bridge players).
Watermelon cucumber salad has been a popular summer side dish for years, because it’s light and refreshing. Many watermelon salads use feta cheese for a briny, salty bite. I like feta, but for my tastes, it’s a little strong combined with the sweet melon.
Instead, I prefer queso fresco. A mild Mexican cheese that crumbles the same way as feta does. It’s salty, but not overly so. If you don’t have any, feel free to use feta or even crumbled goat cheese for your cucumber watermelon salad, but if it’s available where you are, give the queso fresco a try.
Honey Lime Dressing For Fruit Salad
To dress this simple salad, use a simple blend of honey, lime zest and lime juice. It’s sweet, tart and light. I like that because it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients, just ties them all together. This honey lime dressing makes a great dressing for fruit salads all year round.
The final ta-da to the watermelon cucumber salad with honey lime dressing is a sprinkle of Piment D’Esplette – a pepper grown in the Basque region of France, and one that I’ve been eating my whole life thanks to my grandparents and their French heritage.
This pepper is slightly smoky and spicy and it comes in powdered form at specialty food shops or online (don’t worry, I’m giving you affiliate links below). Piment D’Esplette complements the sweet summer fruits, adding a complex spicy, smoky nuance that you wouldn’t expect. If you’ve ever had Tajin (a Mexican chili/lime seasoning) you’ll know how well the chili spice enhances the sweet watermelon cucumber salad.
How To Make Watermelon Cucumber Salad:
- Cut the watermelon into bite-sized chunks, or use a shaped cutter tool and cut out fun shapes for the salad — this would be great for 4th of July, Memorial Day, Father’s Day or Labor Day!
- Peel and seed the cucumber. Cut the cucumber into bite sized chunks — or slice the cucumber into 1/4″ planks and use a shaped cutter to create fun designs.
- Transfer the cut fruit to a shallow dish and add the blueberries and queso fresco.
- Make the honey lime dressing by whisking together lime zest, lime juice and honey until well blended.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Just before serving, sprinkle with Piment D’Esplette to taste.
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Watermelon Cucumber Salad
Strangely irresistible, this Watermelon Cucumber Salad gets a lift from the honey lime dressing and a sprinkle of Piment D'esplette.
- 3 cups watermelon cut into 1" cubes (or use a 1" cutters in different shapes)
- 1 large cucumber peeled and sliced into 1/4" thin vertical slices around the seeds - discard seeds)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons red onion finely diced
- 3/4 cup queso fresco crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- sprinkle Piment d'Espelette - Red Chili Pepper Powder from France 1.41oz">Piment D'Esplette
Combine the watermelon, cucumber, blueberries, onion and queso fresco in a shallow serving dish.
In a small prep bowl combine the honey, lime zest and lime juice -- mix until well combined. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat.
Sprinkle the Piment D'Esplette over the salad to your tastes. Piment can be very spicy so check your tolerance before adding too much.
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