Sweet, Salty, and Spicy Watermelon Poblano Salad

This super-unique salad is juicy, a touch spicy, and perfect for the hot days of August. Get ready for a really fun twist on watermelon!

Have you ever put salt on watermelon? I honestly had never heard of it until a couple years ago; I don't think it's a big thing in Vermont. But I got introduced to it down south, and its truly a magical combination. If you've never tried it, I know it sounds weird! But the salt actually wakes up all the flavors in the watermelon and makes it taste even sweeter.

This salad is an homage to all things summer, and to the southern tradition of salting watermelon. It's sweet, salty, a bit spicy, herby, and fresh... a total symphony of flavors!

The other wonderful thing about this salad is that it comes together so quickly. There's almost no cooking involved, other than fire-roasting a poblano pepper, which takes about two minutes. This makes it a great salad for a hot summer evening when you don't want to turn on the stove. You could even grill the pepper outside.

This salad is really customizable, which I love. I like to cut the watermelon into cute star shapes using cookie cutters, but you could just cube it for ease, or use any other fun cookie cutters you have. Sub a couple fire-roasted jalapenos if you really like heat, or shishito or bell peppers if you want little to no heat. Some avocado or grilled corn would also be a lovely addition. You could even plate your favorite grilled protein on top of it to make it a meal.

The thing that's non-negotiable about this salad? SALT! You absolutely must salt it generously! Adding salt brings all the flavors to life, and really highlights both the sweetness from the watermelon and the gentle heat of the poblano.

This is definitely a time to indulge in a big sprinkle of flavorful finishing salt. I use the Hawaiian Red Sea Salt from Saratoga Olive Oil and it's the most perfect pairing. I highly recommend getting yourself some (they ship!) and using it to finish your dishes. This salt goes particularly well with food that is summery or inspired by Pacific, Mexican, or Caribbean flavors. It has a lovely mineral-rich flavor that makes me think of eating tacos on the coast of Kaua'i.

Looking for some serving ideas? This salad would be great alongside this Watermelon Mint Gimlet because they share a lot of the same flavors. If you want multiple salads, this Blistered Shishito Pepper Salad would make so much sense with it. Or, for something heartier with a distinctly Hawaiian vibe, my favorite Tropical Sweet Potatoes with Macadamia Dukkah. Oh, and Tropical Guacamole, obviously.

I really hope you'll give this salad a try. It's so unique and surprising. There's still a month of summer left, so enjoy these last weeks of picnicking and grilling!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Saratoga Olive Oil. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

Looking for another salad that's fresh, vibrant, and summery? I adore this Mojito Corn Salad, and it's equally as easy. Make them both!

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • Poblano pepper or two. Or, see ideas above for altering the heat level.
  • Watermelon
  • Mango
  • Handful of fresh cilantro
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Zest of a lime
  • Sprinkle of chili powder
  • Handful of roasted, salted pepitas
  • Flavorful finishing salt. As shown above, I love the sea salts from Saratoga Olive Oil! The Hawaiian Red Sea Salt goes so perfectly with the flavors in this salad.

Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Fire-roast the poblano pepper(s) over the flame of a gas burner for a couple minutes, rotating them frequently, until charred. Conversely, you can do this over a hot grill outside, or even under the broiler. Just pay close attention to them to avoid burning! Set the peppers aside to cool.
  2. Cut up a watermelon in whatever shapes and sizes you like. Arrange the pieces on a serving platter.
  3. Cut up a mango and arrange the slices with the watermelon.
  4. Cut the poblanos into thin ribbons and add them to the fruit.
  5. Add finely chopped fresh cilantro and mint, as well as a few whole leaves for garnish.
  6. Sprinkle the whole platter with the zest of a lime and a bit of chili powder.
  7. Just before serving, add a small handful of roasted pepitas and a generous sprinkle of finishing salt.
To prepare this salad ahead: Do everything up through the lime zest and chili powder, then cover the salad tightly and keep it in the fridge. You could do this as much as a couple hours in advance. Add the pepitas and finishing salt just before serving so that they don't get soggy.


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