Tomato and Watermelon Salad Recipe

Southern With A Twist

For those who just can’t get enough of Southern classics but like a fresh take every now and then, we’ve got you covered. Here, area restauranteurs dish up some of the best flavors the region has to offer with a little something unexpected.

Photography by Ryan Long Photography

Kenyatta Ashford of Neutral Ground

“Watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, and peanuts are synonymous with cooking in the Southern United States. This recipe uses those ingredients in a fresh and bright salad with Southeast Asian flavors.”

-Kenyatta Ashford, Neutral Ground

Serving of Tomato Watermelon salad.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Kenyatta Ashford
Course Salad
Cuisine Southern
Servings 4


For the green chili vinaigrette:

  • 5 long and thin green chili peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 3 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

For the salad:

  • 3-4 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. mixed fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro), chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, fried
  • 1 Tbsp. shallots, fried
  • 1/2 cup aged cotija cheese


To create the green chili vinaigrette:

  • Add chilis, garlic, and shallots to a sheet pan and broil until charred.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before peeling the skins off of all ingredients.
  • They should slide off easily.
  • Add to a blender along with fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, cilantro, and coriander seeds.
  • Blend until thoroughly mixed but still coarse in consistency.
  • While blender is running, slowly add oil to create an emulsion.
  • This mixture will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

To assemble salad:

  • Combine tomatoes, watermelon, herbs, peanuts, garlic, and shallots.
  • Pour vinaigrette over the salad and toss to evenly coat.
  • Divide the salad between four serving bowls and top each with a tablespoon of cotija cheese.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed and enjoy!
Keyword Tomato and Watermelon Salad, tomato watermelon salad recipe
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