A quick 4-ingredient salad that is super vibrant for those warm summer days with sweet watermelon, crispy apple, refreshing mint and buttery pine nuts. The savoury tamari lime dressing adds depth and amplifies the sweetness of the salad, making it deliciously perfect for easy entertaining.
- Why You’ll Love Our Watermelon Apple And Mint Salad
- Why You Should Add Salt On Fruit
- What Is The Difference Between Tamari And Soy Sauce?
- Best Way To Cut Watermelon
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Watermelon Apple and Mint Salad
Why You’ll Love Our Watermelon Apple And Mint Salad
I love the surprise and delight my guests show when they try a salad that has an unusual combination.
My Watermelon, Apple and Mint Salad is one of those.
At first glance, they expect sweetness from this bright watermelon salad. However, when they get hit by the savoury tamari lime dressing, there is a delicious surprise.
The umami notes of tamari lime dressing are such a delicious counterpoint against the sweet juicy watermelon, tart green apple and aromatic mint.
As much as this is a “fruit salad”, in my opinion, the salad dressing makes it a savoury dish. A perfect side dish to go with shrimp, fish, vegetarian tart, barbecue chicken and grilled meats.
This is one of my go-to summer salad recipes. It is super to easy to make, only need 20 minutes and can easily transport to potluck gatherings, barbecues and looks amazing on Australian Christmas tables or 4th July celebrations.
And for those looking for a watermelon salad recipe without feta, this is perfect!
Why You Should Add Salt On Fruit
Salt and fresh fruit.
Hmm sounds odd to add salt to sweet fruit but for some reason, salt amplifies the natural sweetness in ripe fruit and creates a sweet tang in unripened/sour tasting fruit.
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.
Don’t add too much, just a pinch or sprinkling works a treat.
What Is The 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.
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 bolder flavour and not necessarily just more salt. The lime juice and rice malt syrup balance tamari very well. Plus, it works great for my friends who prefer a gluten free soy sauce.
Best Way To Cut Watermelon
Depending on how you would like to serve your watermelon recipe, there are different ways to cut this deliciously sweet fruit to best showcase it.
The easiest way to cut watermelon would naturally be watermelon cubes. They work marvellously well in chopped salads like our watermelon panzanella recipe. The sweet juicy watermelon cubes mingle perfectly with the toasted bread cubes.
For a fruit salad, watermelon balls are a great way to add contrast. Our melon salad with mint mixes different types of melon balls as well as watermelon cubes for differentiation and appeal.
And for something a little different, use cookie cutters to create different watermelon shapes in your own fresh fruit platter. Flower or star shapes are our favourites!
As this is a simple watermelon salad recipe with only a few ingredients, I really wanted to highlight them all and not hide them in a large bowl. So I decided to cut watermelon wedges and layer them on a large plate. I love the triangle shapes against the apple matchsticks for interesting appeal.
Flavour/Texture: It’s juicy, refreshing and light in texture. I never get bored of this watermelon apple salad every time I make it in summer. And it is a lot!
Watermelon adds juicy sweetness, green apples provide the balance of tartness, mint lifts the refreshing aromas, and the touches of toasted pine nuts deliver crunch and buttery flavours.
Together with the savoury tamari lime dressing, it is an explosion of delicious sweet and savoury in one bite.
Ease: There is real cooking involved, chopping up some fruit and toasting some pine nuts. Together with savoury tamari lime dressing, this watermelon and green apple salad is a super easy summer salad recipe.
Time: 15 minutes is all you need to cut up all the ingredients and assemble together.
These are the ingredients you need for Watermelon, Apple and Mint Salad:
Watermelon: Seedless watermelon would be best in salad. Choose one that is heavy for its size and give to a good tap to see if it sounds hollow. If is has a good hollow sound then it is a good watermelon because the rind is not too thick and there is more flesh to eat.
Apple: I prefer Granny smith apples as they add sweet tartness. You can use other varieties but be sure they are crisp and crunchy.
Pine nuts: I love pine nuts in salads. Gives that extra crunchy texture with the juicy fruit. Best toasted to bring out the aromas.
Mint: Watermelon and mint is a classic pairing. Mint compliments the freshness of watermelon. Cut mint finely so it doesn’t overpower the overall flavours.
Tamari: For the salty component of this watermelon salad, I used tamari in the dressing. Not only does it add savoury flavours but a deeper umami taste that balances the watermelon so well.
Lime: A good squeeze of lime juice in tamari dressing gives a burst of delicious citrus sour flavours. You can use lemon too if you don’t have lime on hand.
Variations and Substitutions
Watermelon variation: During the summer months, as well as red watermelon, we often see yellow doll watermelon (also known as Champagne watermelon) at the greengrocer which is vibrant yellow colour.
It is very similar in taste and texture as the normal red watermelon but slightly sweeter. You can switch the red watermelon to yellow if you like or even have a mixture of both.
Green apple substitution: I love the tartness of Granny Smith apples in this recipe. The green apples balance well with the watermelon. However, you can use firm William Bartlett pears, Pink Lady apples or even switch for cucumbers in place of the green apples if you don’t have any on hand.
Tamari replacement: If you don’t have tamari, then light soy sauce will work too. However, it will not be a gluten free salad if you use soy sauce.
Rice malt syrup substitution: This can be replaced by honey. If you do not need a vegan salad and don’t have rice malt syrup, just omit it. It is just to help provide a little balance in the dressing. The watermelon itself should be sweet enough for the salad.
Nut free option: Omit pine nuts for any nut allergy friends.
Step by step instructions for how to make Watermelon, Apple and Mint Salad:
How to Prepare the Salad
Cut watermelon into thin wedges and remove the rind.
Slice 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 mint leaves and shake dry. Tightly roll them together and then thinly slice into ribbons.
How to Make Tamari Lime Dressing
In a small bowl, add all the ingredients – tamari, lime juice, rice malt syrup and grapeseed oil together. Mix well.
How to Assemble the Salad
On a large platter, scatter a layer of green apple matchsticks.
Add watermelon wedges on top.
Finish with more apple matchsticks on top of the watermelon wedges.
Scatter toasted pine nuts and mint leaves on top.
Drizzle tamari lime dressing all over salad to serve.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
Dress salad when ready to serve: As watermelon will release its juices as you let it sit, only dress the salad when ready to eat.
Serve chilled: This is a summer watermelon apple salad recipe that is best when served cold. If you are eating outside, try to avoid putting the salad in direct sunlight.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with watermelon, apple and mint salad? Try these delicious main dish recipes:
The best way to cut through strong flavoured dishes such as these delectable instant pot country style ribs or lemon garlic baked chicken thighs, is to serve it up with a refreshing and light side salad.
For our vegan friends, this beautifully charred air fryer roasted whole cauliflower would go so well with our salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can definitely prepare all the ingredients ahead of time and store in separate containers, but best to only dress the salad with tamari lime dressing when ready to serve.
This watermelon apple salad is best consumed on the day. Leftovers will not keep well and is not recommended.
If you have any leftover watermelon, you can add it to other salads like our watermelon and feta salad. Alternatively, watermelon is fantastic to make into a granita or even throw onto the griddle pan for a vegan grilled watermelon side dish.
I store my mint wrapped in a paper towel and then place it in a plastic bag in the fridge. I find this way keeps the leaves fresh for longer. Alternatively, you can place the mint in a jar of water and cover the top with a plastic bag.
If you do have an abundance of mint, you can also make our basil and mint pesto which will keep well in the fridge.
I just adore how simple and fresh this watermelon salad recipe is. If you want to something easy when hosting a summer celebration that is not a leafy green garden salad, I would highly recommend you give this watermelon apple salad a go.
The combination of sweet and savoury will definitely be a hit.
More Summer Salad Recipes
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Watermelon Apple and Mint Salad
- ¼ watermelon
- 1 green apple
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1½ tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tsp organic rice malt syrup
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut watermelon into thin wedges and remove the rind.
- 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.
- In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients – tamari, lime juice, rice malt syrup and grapeseed oil together. Mix well.
- On a large platter, scatter a layer of green apple matchsticks.
- Add cut watermelon wedges on top.
- Finish with more apple matchsticks.
- Then scatter pine nuts and mint leaves.
- Drizzle tamari lime dressing all over salad to serve.
- You can switch the red watermelon for yellow watermelon if you like or even have a mixture of both.
- If you don’t have tamari, you can replace it with light soy sauce; however, 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.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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How refreshing! I’m totally into creative summer salad treats. This one is going to the top of the list.
The Devil Wears Salad
That’s so awesome Debra. Thanks!
This is the perfect flavor combination for summer! So light and refreshing.
The Devil Wears Salad
It sure is! Gorgeous summer flavours. Thanks so much!
This looks like the perfect salad for summer so light and refreshing!
The Devil Wears Salad
We created this salad for the summer. Time to get the BBQ out!
What a great and healthy recipe!
The Devil Wears Salad
What a delicious summer salad. I love the combination of the sweet watermelon and the slightly sour apple. Yummie
The Devil Wears Salad
This salad is perfect for the warmer months! Love sweet and sour flavours!