Meatless Monday: Hydrating Watermelon Salad With Cucumber & Spices

Picture this: you’ve had a beautiful day at the beach. The weather was glorious, and the company was lovely too. In fact, it was all so great that you spent a little more time in the sun than you perhaps should have. What to do to restore your body after your fun in the sun? Today’s watermelon salad with cucumber is a great place to start. This salad is hydrating, and because it takes ten minutes to put together, it’s a great choice if you’re too tired to cook. On the other hand, if you want to keep the party going—after all, it is summer—it will also serve you well. This salad’s tangy sauce gives it a slightly dressed up look, which is in perfect order for when company comes to call.  


How To Make Watermelon Salad

OK, first things first: there’s nothing to it! As I’ve said—and written—so many times, one of the keys to eating well when you’re also working/exercising/raising kids/being social/growing in all the amazing ways that we humans do is to cook simply. And in this case, there’s no cooking involved, which makes it even simpler. All you need is to pick a good watermelon and slice it, and the cucumber, so they look appetizing. Since a cucumber is easy to choose and peel, let’s talk watermelon.




How To Choose A Watermelon

It can seem challenging to know what’s going on deep underneath that thick green rind, but there are a few signs to look for when you want to take a watermelon home. First, look for a creamy yellow (not white) spot. This is the “seat” where the watermelon rests as it ripens. Next, give it a tap. You want a deep hollow sound as opposed to a dull sound. Lastly, pick it up. Large or small, it should feel heavy for its size. If you’ve gotten this far, you’re nearly halfway there! Now let’s talk cutting.



How To Cut A Watermelon

Have you ever wrestled with a watermelon? Not fun. For this salad, I like to cut it in cubes. The easiest way to do this is to first cut the watermelon into quarters. Then, holding a quarter portion with one hand, slice the flesh vertically, through the short side, toward you. After that, turn it to the right, and cut it in the opposite direction, lengthwise. Next, cut at the base where the flesh meets the rind. Then drop the watermelon cubes into a bowl. Oh, and make sure you use a sharp knife. It might take a little practice to get uniformly-sized cubes, but you can always refine them with a paring knife before serving.

You know that saying that everything happens when it’s supposed to?  Well that’s certainly the case when it comes to watermelon. It’s in-season during the summer months, just when we can benefit most from its cooling, hydrating qualities. Don’t you just love how nature works like that?


Watermelon Salad With Cucumber & Spices (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0

Total Time: 10 minutes



  • 1/2 of a large watermelon, flesh cut into half-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled & cut into half-inch cubes


For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried chili powder
  • juice of 4 limes (zest reserved)
  • flaky sea salt, to taste



  1. Place the prepped watermelon and cucumber pieces into a large bowl.
  2. Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Pour the dressing over the watermelon and cucumber and mix to combine. Top with lime zest and serve.


Additional Cooking Notes

  • If you’d like to save time or would like extra fiber, keep the rind on the cucumber, but only if it’s organic, please.





Photos by Shiraz Leyva