Watermelon-Berry Salad with Chile Dressing and Lots of Herbs

One of my favorite cookbooks of the season, Everyone’s Table, is filled with colorful recipes just like this gorgeous summery salad. It’s the perfect way to use up my weekend farmers market haul and is definitely an eye-catching brunch dish.

A thrilling way to treat high-summer fruit, this gorgeous jumble of flavors and textures is explosively good. The Thai-inspired, blend-and-go dressing—tart and spicy and salty—plays up the sweetness of watermelon and berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and hulled and halved strawberries, while keeping the fruit salad firmly in savory territory. A flurry of herbs adds even more freshness and dimension.

Watermelon-Berry Salad with Chile Dressing and Lots of Herbs

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1/3 cup lime juice (from about 3 juicy limes)
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced cilantro stems
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped palm sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2-inch knob fresh galangal, peeled and roughly sliced against the grain
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 small moderately hot fresh red chile, such as Fresno or ripe red jalapeño, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh red Thai chile, stemmed
  • 2 pounds peeled watermelon
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 2 large lemongrass stalks, trimmed (see page 15), bruised, then very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 big handfuls very lightly packed mixed herbs, such as mint leaves, Thai or Italian basil leaves, and small cilantro sprigs


  1. Step 1


    Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. It keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Shake well before using.

    Step 2


    Cut the watermelon into 3 x 1 x 1-inch sticks, flicking out seeds as you go. You will have about 6 cups. Chill the watermelon in the fridge for at least an hour.

    Step 3

    Combine the chilled watermelon and onion in a large mixing bowl and season all over with the flaky salt.

    Step 4

    Add the berries, lemongrass, and dressing, then toss gently but well. Drizzle on the olive oil, add the herbs, and gently toss once more. Transfer to a platter to serve.


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