Man, nothing quite says summer like watermelon. I remember when I was a kid the hot days, digging my teeth into over sized slices of watermelon and tons of juice dripping down my chin, sticky fingers, rosy stains on my shirt. It was the best. My mom only bought watermelon in the summer, so naturally watermelon has a strong connection to the warmer months.
I think every year I go through the same mini drama every year. “Ohhhh gaaawwwwdddd… NO… summer’s ending! Soon everything will be covered in ice and my toes will be numb! The horror!” This is promptly followed by figuring out how I can get a final trip to the swimming pool squeezed in and what kind of summery concoctions I can conjure before the season’s bounty disappears forever (until next year). So to hold onto this time of year just a little bit longer, I made us an amazing watermelon and jicama salad. Drop the bass and by bass I mean flavor.
This salad is unique, easy, fresh, and delicious. It only has a few ingredients and they consist of the following: 1) watermelon 2) jicama 3) jalapeno 4) lime and orange 5) queso fresco 6) fresh basil. This salad is like a happening dance party that everyone wants to go to. The watermelon is doing the tango with the jicama. The jalapeno is slow dancing with the basil. The queso fresco is break dancing with the citrus. Then they switch up partners and it all works. All of these flavors just go so well together and each bite is a different experience. Considering it’s simplicity, this salad is pretty darn dynamic. Sweet, salty, spicy, tangy, creamy, fresh– it’s got it all.
And let me just delve into the world of jicama for a moment. If you’ve never had it before, jicama is a bit like a combination between a potato and an apple. While it is a root vegetable, it’s definitely on the sexier side of the root veggie spectrum. It’s a tiny bit starchy, but also super crisp, refreshing, and a little sweet. That’s why it’s great for this salad. It adds a refreshing crunch that is perfect.
Even though it is easy, I do have one simple tip to help this salad keep it’s integrity. Say you want to take this to a BBQ or picnic (Great idea, btw.)– I would highly recommend that you wait to toss everything together until right before you serve it. This keeps the jicama and cheese from taking on the color of the watermelon while also keeping the watermelon crisp and the basil from wilting. If you plan to eat the salad later, simply layer the ingredients, pour on the citrus dressing, cover, and refrigerate. Toss and garnish right before serving and you’ll be good to go!
What’s your top Summer food that you want to enjoy before it’s over? Tell us all about it! See you soon!
- ½ seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups of diced watermelon)
- ½ jicama, peeled and cut into ¼-inch matchsticks
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and small diced
- ¼ cup firmly packed basil leaves, rolled into a cigar, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
- 2 ounces queso fresco, sliced, then gently broken up into bite sized pieces if needed
- ¼ teaspoon lime zest
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- salt to taste
- Place the watermelon, jicama matchsticks, and jalapeno in a large bowl. Sprinkle on most of the basil and queso fresco, reserving some for garnish later.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, and orange juice. Pour over the watermelon mixture in the large bowl. Season generously with salt, then toss to combine.
- Sprinkle on the remaining basil and queso fresco, then devour.