Watermelon Rind Salsa

Watermelon Rind Salsa

Recipe by Liz Sempervive, Executive Chef of the Millstone Café


Raphaelle Peale (1774 - 1825), Still Life with Peach Halves, 1822, oil on canvas formerly mounted on wood panel, 12 5/8 × 14 3/16 in. Purchased with Museum funds, 1983
Raphaelle Peale (1774 - 1825), Still Life with Peach Halves, 1822, oil on canvas formerly mounted on wood panel, 12 5/8 × 14 3/16 in. Purchased with Museum funds, 1983


Summer is just around the corner and for me that means the grill is always hot and there is a huge bowl of watermelon in the fridge. Besides being super hydrating, watermelon has awesome health benefits. It has a ton of nutritious vitamins, is anti-inflammatory, and contains antioxidants! Most of the time we discard the white flesh of the watermelon, but in this recipe I will show you how delicious it can be. 


4 cups watermelon rind, cut into small cubes
1/2 red onion, minced
2 Tbs fresh ginger
1/2 jalapeno, minced (optional to use more if you like things extra spicy)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (tender stems are OK to use)
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt


Prepare the watermelon. Watermelons are large and it is important to be safe when cutting one. I want to share with you how I cut watermelon, but if there is an easier way that you like better, please choose that method. Chef Liz’s method: Slice the top and bottom off the fruit and stand it up on its flat base. With a steady hand and a sharp knife, slice the fruit where the red meets the white (it is ok to keep some of the sweet red flesh attached to the white rind). Start at the top of the watermelon and curve the knife toward the bottom in one continuous motion. Continue slicing all around the fruit until the rind is fully separated from the red flesh.

Set the rind aside while you take care of the inner red part. With the red part of the fruit, slice it into large circle pieces and cut those into large cubes. Store fruit in an airtight container in the fridge for snacking or for use in other recipes.

With the rind, carefully remove the green skin so you are only left with the white flesh. Place the rind green-side down on the cutting board and carefully slice the white away from the green. Discard the green skin. Cut the white rind into small cubes and reserve in a large bowl. 

Now the complicated part is over! Next, prepare the onion, ginger, jalopeno and herbs according to the instructions above. Add the chopped aromatics to the bowl with the watermelon rind and mix with a spoon until everything is evenly combined. 

In a separate small bowl add the apple cider vinegar, salt and sugar—whisk to dissolve the salt and sugar, then add this to the bowl of rind and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed! 

Chef’s Note: This is best made a few hours before you are going to eat it, so the flavors have a chance to get friendly without breaking down the watermelon too much! It will keep in the fridge for a few days, but the salt, sugar and acid will cause the watermelon to release too much of its juice. 

I recommend this recipe as a topping for grilled pork chops or chicken marinated in my Citrus Vinaigrette (click here for the vinaigrette recipe). Enjoy!! 

Liz Sempervive is the Executive Chef of the Millstone Café and Catering at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. She hopes to bring nourishment to everyone through her scratch cooking, classic dishes and rustic cuisine. Chef Liz is passionate about food accessibility and supporting our local food systems. She believes that collective healing begins with sharing a meal between friends. Her accomplishments include being awarded "Best New Chef, 2019" in Main Line Today magazine and participating as a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped.