Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

South of the border spin on watermelon salad! With fresh watermelon, jicama, cilantro, and cotija cheese.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Hot days are here! Today we are cooling off with a crisp watermelon salad with a southwestern flair. It’s sort of a spin off of a classic watermelon salad with feta and mint, but with cotija instead of feta, and cilantro in place of the mint.

Melons love salt (think prosciutto and cantaloup). In fact, if you just want to give a slice of watermelon some extra pizzaz, sprinkle just a little salt on it.

Both feta and its Mexican sister cotija are dry, crumbly, salty cheeses. Perfect for tossing into a melon salad.

We’ve also added crunchy jicama, some red onion, and a little bit of heat with some minced serrano chile and a pinch of cumin. Everything is tossed with lime juice.

So you are getting a little sweet from the melon, salty from the cheese, tangy from the lime, herbiness from the cilantro, spiciness from the chiles, and crunch from the jicama.

Watermelon Salad with Cotija

Now that I think about it, with the lime juice, sweet melon, and salty cheese, this salad has all of the elements (acid, sugar, salt, water from the melon) of an electrolyte sports drink, you know, the kind you drink after working out to rehydrate you.

So, another great reason to enjoy this salad on a hot day. It will keep you hydrated, and it tastes way better than gatorade!

Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime Recipe

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Individual chiles vary in their heat, so always taste before adding to a dish, and adjust amounts accordingly.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes, depending on how big and juicy the limes are)
  • 4 cups watermelon, rind removed, seeded and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped peeled jicama
  • 1/2 serrano chili pepper (or a quarter jalapeño), stem removed, seeded, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Pinch of cumin, to taste

Method

1 Soak the chopped red onion in the lime juice while you are prepping the other ingredients, about 10 minutes.

2 Gently combine all ingredients into a large serving bowl.

Serve immediately. Salad will get soggy if kept overnight.

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