A quick vegan salad that is super vibrant salad with sweet watermelon, and apple, fresh herbs and buttery pine nuts. The savoury tamari lime dressing adds depth and amplifies the sweetness of the salad, making it deliciously perfect for summer entertaining.
Difference Between Tamari and Soy Sauce?
Made from fermented soybeans, tamari and soy sauce are dark salty liquids popular in flavouring Asian dishes. They pretty much look identical on the supermarket shelf. So what is the difference between tamari and soy sauce? Is there any difference?
Yes, there is. There are some subtle differences between flavour, consistency and usage. However, the main difference is the presence of wheat. Tamari, also sometimes known as gluten free soy sauce, does not contain wheat.
Naturally brewed Chinese soy sauce is pressed from a fermented concoction of soybeans, water, wheat, salt and sugar. Whilst Japanese tamari is liquid extracted from fermented miso paste therefore generally should not contain wheat.
However, it is best to double check the labels for gluten free products to ensure that no wheat was used in the fermentation process.
In cooking, tamari is commonly used more as a sauce base or for dipping as it has a thicker consistency and a bolder flavour than soy sauce. We do prefer to use tamari for sushi. The darker caramel undertones are also great for creating Japanese soup bases.
However, tamari is now often used as gluten free soy sauce replacement for those who have Celiac disease or wheat intolerance and will be used more widely in cooking.
Soy sauce typically has a saltier flavour and thinner consistency. And I am referring to standard light soy sauce here because there are also many variations in soy sauce that we would be here forever to explain all of them!
Soy sauce is a staple in our household. Used nearly everyday for seasoning. I not only use it in Asian cooking but also in some western dishes (my secret weapon in Spaghetti Bolognese … shhh)
Generally you can use tamari and soy sauce as substitutes for each other (unless you are serving a gluten-free dish) but do check for taste before adding too much or too little depending on the recipe.
For this watermelon salad dressing, I decided to use tamari as I wanted a more bold flavour and not necessarily just more salt. The lime juice and rice malt syrup balances tamari very well. Plus it works great for my friends who prefer a gluten free soy sauce.
Why Do We Put Salt On Fruit?
Salt and sweet. Hmm sounds odd to add salt to sweet fruit but for some reason, salt amps up the sweetness in ripe fruit and creates a sweet tang in unripened/sour tasting fruit. Don’t add too much, just a pinch or sprinkling works a treat.
Growing up, my mum would love to cut sour mangoes and dip them in a salt & chilli mixture. Whilst hubby likes to sprinkle salt on fresh pineapple. A sprinkling of salt on watermelon also works fantastically.
For some reason, the salt doesn’t dampen the flavours but actually dials up the sweetness and creates harmony. If you haven’t tried it before, give it a go today!
Why I Love Watermelon and Apple Salad with Tamari Lime Dressing
I love the surprise delight my guests show when they try a salad that has an unusual combination. The savoury notes of Tamari Lime Dressing is such a delicious counterpoint against the sweet juicy watermelon. People don’t expect that when they see the bright red cubes of watermelon and crispy apple matchsticks in the salad to encounter a slightly salty umami flavour.
Plus, it’s a quick and easy vegan salad to whip up under 20 minutes. This is a great salad for easy summer entertaining.
How to Make Watermelon and Apple Salad with Tamari Lime Dressing
How to Prepare the Salad
For this salad, I have selected the usual red seedless watermelon but if in season, you can experiment with different types of watermelon. During the summer months in Australia, you can also find the Yellow Doll watermelon (also known as Champagne watermelon) which has a vibrant yellow colour. It is very similar in taste and texture as the normal red watermelon but slightly sweeter.
Remove watermelon rind. Cut the watermelon into 2cm cubes. Set aside for assembly.
I do prefer the tartness of green apple against the sweet watermelon therefore I have used Granny Smith apple in the recipe. Plus adds a little contrast in colour too!
Apple oxidizes and turns brown very quickly after the fruit has been cut. It doesn’t really affect the taste so much but definitely not so appetising. The easiest way I find is to add a good pinch of salt to a bowl of cold water and have it ready when I am cutting. By placing the cut fruit into the bowl straight away, it stops the oxidisation.
Slice the apple into thin matchstick strips and place into a bowl of cold salted water. When ready to assemble, remove from water and pat dry with paper towels.
Over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts in a dry pan until golden brown. Stir and move frequently to avoid burning. Once they are ready, remove quickly from the pan.
Wash coriander well and remove any excess dirt. Roughly chop and set aside for assembly.
Wash mint leaves and shake dry. Tightly roll them together and then thinly slice into ribbons.
How to Make Tamari Lime Dressing
In a small jar, add all the ingredients – tamari, lime juice, rice malt syrup and olive oil together. Shake well and serve.
The tamari and lime dressing will keep when refrigerated and is great with leafy green salads or cold soba noodles. If you don’t have tamari, you can replace it with light soy sauce however, then this will no longer be a gluten-free salad.
Tamari can be easily bought at most supermarkets.
Organic rice malt syrup is also easily accessible in the health section of your local supermarkets. It is derived from brown rice and is a great vegan sweetener used in place of honey. However if you don’t have rice malt syrup, honey works well too.
How to Assemble Watermelon and Apple Salad
Place watermelon and apple into a large mixing bowl and add tamari lime dressing. Gently toss together so that the fruit is well coated with dressing. Do be careful as watermelon can be a bit delicate when mixing. You don’t want mushy melon.
Add mint and coriander to the mixing bowl and toss together with watermelon and apple.
Transfer watermelon salad into a large serving platter or bowl. Scatter pine nuts and serve.
I would not dress this salad until ready to serve as watermelon will release more juice as it sits. It doesn’t take long to prepare so you could easily whip before serving otherwise just prep all ingredients beforehand and mix when you are ready to eat.
Adding a little more punch to the classic watermelon and mint pairing, we throw in zingy apple, fresh coriander and buttery pine nuts to create a quick vibrant plant-based salad. The savoury tamari lime dressing adds depth and amplifies the sweetness of watermelon.
Great summer salad for easy entertaining. Watermelon salad will match well with vegetarian tart, grilled meats, skewered prawns or baked fish. So simple and so fresh.
More Plant-Based Salad Recipes:
- Tofu Skin Salad with Cucumber and Cauliflower
- Fennel and Courgette Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts
- Baby Cauliflower and Spiced Chickpeas with Beetroot Tahini
- Tricolour Quinoa Salad with Roast Vegetables
- Purple Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Mustard Tahini
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:
Watermelon and Apple Salad with Tamari Lime Dressing
- ¼ watermelon
- 1 green apple
- 50 g pine nuts
- ⅓ cup mint, sliced
- ¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped
- 1½ tbsp tamari
- 1½ lime, juiced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp organic rice malt syrup
- Remove watermelon rind. Cut the watermelon into 2cm cubes. Set aside for assembly.
- Slice the apple into thin matchstick strips and place into a bowl of cold salted water. When ready to assemble, remove from water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Over medium-low heat, dry toast pine nuts in a small fry pan until golden brown. Stir and move frequently to avoid burning. Once they are ready, remove quickly from the fry pan.
- Wash mint leaves and shake dry. Tightly roll them together and then thinly slice into ribbons.
- Wash coriander well and remove any excess dirt. Roughly chop and set aside for assembly.
- In a small jar, add all the ingredients - tamari, lime juice, olive oil and organic rice malt syrup together. Shake well and serve.
- Place watermelon and apple into a large mixing bowl and add tamari lime dressing. Gently toss together so that the fruit is well coated with dressing.
- Add mint and coriander to the mixing bowl and toss together with watermelon and apple.
- Transfer watermelon salad into a large serving platter or bowl.
- Scatter pine nuts and serve immediately.
- If you don’t have tamari, you can replace it with light soy sauce however, then this will no longer be a gluten-free salad as soy sauce contains wheat. Tamari can be easily bought at most supermarkets.
- If not serving a vegan salad, you can substitute rice malt syrup with honey if not available.
- Dress salad when ready to serve otherwise the salad may become too watery.