Thursday, June 23, 2011

Watermelon Rind Salad (Moroccan Inspired)

I always associate watermelon with those long, hot, lackadaisical summer days. Watermelon tastes absolutely divine, its succulent, chilled red flesh the perfect complement to the scorching heat. I absolutely love watermelon, but one of the biggest deterrents to me buying this fruit is that it has such a high water content, making it very heavy. Even when half a watermelon is advertised at a very low price, only 30 cents a pound, you take it to the register, only to find out once they ring it up that that that half a watermelon weighs 11.3 lbs and cost a whopping 3 dollars and 40 cents!

And then, once you get home, eat the flesh, and toss the rind, you realize that of the original 11.3 lbs of watermelon, you just threw out 5.5 lbs- almost half! That makes whatever watermelon you ate rather expensive, no?

There are some myths that we grow up hearing, one of them being watermelon rinds will give you a stomach ache.
I'm happy to say that this isn't true! Watermelon rind will not only not give you a stomach ache, its actually quite healthy to eat. As with most fruits and vegetables, the nutrition is actually more densely packed into the outermost portion of the food, in this case, the rind, making it a good choice for eating. Studies have been done proving that watermelon rind is a terrific source of many vitamins and minerals, in addition to having many more medicinal and nutritional effects.
Eating watermelon rind isn't such a new idea- pickled watermelon rind is actually a well known Southern treat.   However, if you scour the internet for watermelon rind recipes that don't involve pickling, you'll have a little bit of a harder time finding ideas of just what to do with all that precious white stuff. So I decided that whenever I make a delicious recipe with watermelon rind, I'd share it with you readers as a tried and true recipe.

But you don't have to take my word for it- before I write recipes that are a little more "out there", I like to have my friends taste test it. I based this recipe on one my mom uses to make Moroccan style sweet potato salad, and brought it to a get together with friends and had them taste it. No one could figure out exactly what vegetable I used, but the consensus was that it was absolutely delicious, and that gives me the confidence to say that I am sure you will like this recipe as well!

Moroccan Inspired Watermelon Rind Salad Recipe

Rind of half a watermelon
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ginger
3 tbsp lemon
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp garlic powder (or more, to taste)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup scallions or home grown green onions (optional)
Salt (to taste)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)

1. Cut the watermelon rind into strips (if it isn't already) approximately one inch thick. Cut off whatever pink part remains on the rind. Cut off the outer green peel, as it isn't edible. You can use a peeler or knife to do this, but a peeler will usually need to go over the peel at least 2 or 3 times, as the peel is quite thick. 

2. Cut the watermelon rind into squares or rectangles (however big you want them to be in your salad). I usually make mine approximately 1 inch by 1.5 inches, give or take. 

3. Steam the watermelon rind until it is soft. The watermelon rind should turn a pale yellow or orange-ish or even pinkish color. (The color may not be uniform, and that is fine.)

4. Let the watermelon rind cool down.

5. Add all the rest of the ingredients and mix well. 

6. Let sit at least half an hour for the flavors to meld. If desired, add more spices at this point.

7. Enjoy!

Note: This recipe can be made with pumpkin cubes, butternut squash cubes, sweet potato cubes, or carrot chunks. My mom frequently makes it with all of the above and it is terrific. I decided to make it with watermelon rind because the taste of watermelon rind reminds me of pumpkin, with a touch of zucchini.

Have you ever eaten watermelon rind? Any chance you would ever try such a recipe? If not, what would be holding you back? If you've ever eaten watermelon rind, how was it prepared?


  1. i have a waternelon sitting in my kitchen and i am totally gonna try this. i usually eat the rind with lemon and salt and sometimes chili powder on it, but this looks like a refreshing and much tastier idea

  2. I've used this recipe numerous times, it is great and easy!

  3. I was looking to try making something with the rind that did not involve pickling, and so this fit the bill and I had everything on hand. Unfortunately, I thought it was gross...

  4. In the past two months I have made watermelon rind soup (chicken stock based), and also subbed watermelon rind for potatoes in a beef stew for my nightshade-sensitive husband. Both were delicious.

    I am just about to make pumpkin-based chili with rind, chopped up small into about 1/8-inch cubes. It should be good.


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