Chile-Lime Watermelon Salad with Queso Fresco
Chef Amy Smith
Miller’s Ale House
This refreshing salad can serve as a starter or a cool counterpoint to a platter of Tex-Mex specialties. Watermelon is available year round, so the recipe makes a good menu addition beyond Cinco de Mayo. If melon is very sweet, omit the sugar; if it’s less sweet, add the sugar to the dressing. Serve immediately, as the dressing draws the juice out of the watermelon quickly and it will lose its crunch.
1¼ cups lime juice
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
4 to 8 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
¼ to ½ cup sugar, optional
1 tbsp. salt
½ tsp. ancho chili powder
6 qt. diced seedless watermelon (1½-inch pieces)
12 oz. queso fresco, crumbled and divided
1 bunch cilantro, chopped and divided
1½ cups pepitas, toasted and salted, divided
- In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, scallion whites and jalapeños and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, if using, ancho chili powder and salt.
- Add watermelon, scallion greens, half the queso fresco, half the cilantro and half the pepitas; stir to combine.
- Portion into 12-ounce glasses and garnish each with some of the remaining queso fresco, cilantro and pepitas.
Photo courtesy of National Watermelon Promotion Board