Watermelon Salad With Pickled Rind


This beautiful, salty-sweet summer salad is perfect for delighting party guests.

Watermelon Salad with Pickled Rind
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins

It's time to return to the glory of pickled watermelon rind, and this is the recipe to help you do it. After cutting the rind off the fruit, you'll quick-pickle it in a chili-spiked mixture. Once pickled, the rind offers tart balance to sweet watermelon cubes and rich, whipped feta. Serve topped with peppery arugula and a confetti of chopped salted pistachios. It's an elegant, pretty dish that's worthy of special occasions. P.S. The whipped feta is good enough to make again on its own. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and veggies or breadsticks for dipping. P.P.S. If the pickled watermelon rind is a bridge too far, skip it. The salad will still be amazing.


  • 1 seedless watermelon (about 3 lb.)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups)

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

  • 3 cups baby arugula

  • ¼ cup chopped roasted, salted pistachios

  • flaky sea salt, for serving

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Remove outer green rind from watermelon with a vegetable peeler; discard. Trim off ends. With watermelon standing upright, carefully cut white rind away from flesh. Place watermelon in a bowl or plate to avoid drips; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Chop white rind into 1/2-inch cubes. Stir vinegar, 1 cup water, sugar, kosher salt, mustard seeds, crushed red pepper, and black pepper in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add rind cubes. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for 1 hour. Refrigerate in liquid for 1 hour. (Pickled rind may be refrigerated in pickling liquid for up to 2 weeks.)

  3. Meanwhile, process feta, yogurt, and whipping cream in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice; process until combined, about 15 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 3 days).

  4. Quarter whole watermelon lengthwise and cut into slices. Spread whipped feta onto a large platter. Top with watermelon slices and arugula. Sprinkle with pistachios, desired amount of pickled rind, flaky sea salt, and black pepper. Drizzle with oil.

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