Watermelon: The Salsa Ingredient You Never Knew You Needed

Savory Watermelon Salsa
Image Source: Elizabeth Stark

I picked up a watermelon at the grocery recently and thought it would make a cool and refreshing summer treat. One fruit salad, one round of smoothies, and two watermelon snacks later, I’m happy to report that it has been a wonderful treat. But even after all that, I still had half a watermelon kicking around in the fridge.

Sweet and Savory Watermelon Salsa
Image Source: Elizabeth Stark

If you, too, have run out of ways to enjoy watermelon, I’ve got a deliciously sweet and savory recipe that will make a dent in your watermelon reserves: Watermelon Salsa. It turns out that watermelon is surprisingly similar in texture to tomatoes, and blends almost seamlessly into your favorite homemade salsa recipe. To make your own, simply sub all, or half, of the tomatoes for watermelon, and you’ve got a savory sweet snack. And just in case you don’t have a go-to salsa recipe on hand — I’ve got a simple, completely delicious one ready to go!

My kids tried the salsa with chips and on top of quesadillas and loved it! Serve yours just as you would any fresh salsa recipe — it’s great on meats, as a dip, and as a topping for everything quesadillas to fish tacos.

Sweet and Savory Watermelon Salsa
Image Source: Elizabeth Stark

One important note on watermelon salsa: salt can quickly leach the delicate sweetness from the watermelon, so I recommend that you fold together all of the ingredients besides the salt, and then add a pinch of sea salt just before serving.

Savory Watermelon Salsa

Makes: about 1 quart


  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, finely chopped (about 1/4 of a watermelon)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
  • Sea salt to taste


  1. Core and halve tomatoes; use your fingertip to scoop out the seeds, then discard. Finely mince tomatoes.
  2. In a large bowl, gently fold together the tomatoes, watermelon, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes. Just before serving, add a generous pinch of sea salt and stir. Serve immediately.

Note: salsa will keep, covered in the fridge, for 3 days.

Sweet and Savory Watermelon Salsa
Image Source: Elizabeth Stark
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