Watermelon all by itself is pretty good. At a barbecue, picnic or just sitting “on the stoop” as we used to do, watermelon hits the spot. After all, there is nothing nicer than a slice of cool watermelon on a hot summer’s day.
Originally, I intended to do just a few pairing. But then I couldn’t stop myself. As the post title indicates, I kept going until I had more than 50 pairings.
My list of 58 herbs and spices to pair with watermelon took research. Beginning with anise hyssop and ending with vanilla, they run the gamut from ones I use frequently to others, such as asafoetida, that I had to look up. I began with Wikipedia and then kept going.
In the end, my list might not be yours exactly. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few that skipped my attention. Still, it’s pretty comprehensive. For details on most of the herbs and spices below, check the descriptions in The Kitchn’s Herb and Spice Guide.
Then I looked for recipes that use the specified herbs and spices with watermelon. What began as a random stroll soon turned into a rather obsessive hunt. Think of this as the Flavor Bible gone mad. Or maybe it’s a crazy woman’s quest to find the end of the watermelon section of the internet.
And so, here is my definitive watermelon herb & spice pairing guide. Use this compilation to enjoy watermelon in every course and with every herb and spice.
Here you’ll find recipes from famous chefs and others from little-known bloggers. Besides condiments, appetizers, soups, and main courses, there are beverages and desserts. Some of the recipes are incredibly simple, while others take more culinary experience. If you want to experiment, you’ll certainly find recipes to entice you on this list.
Watermelon Herb & Spice Pairing Guide
Anise Hyssop – Fancy Watermelon Appetizers with Chevre and Anise Hyssop
Anise Seeds – Watermelon Pudding
Allspice – Alton Brown’s Watermelon Rind Pickles
Bay leaf – Tuna Watermelon Crudo
Black Sesame Seeds – Watermelon with Dry Toasted Black Sesame Seeds
Cayenne Pepper – Real Simple’s Spicy Watermelon with Pistachios
Chervil – Watermelon Chervil Candy
Chia Seeds – Chia Seed Juice
Chile Pepper – Watermelon with Chile Pepper, Salt & Lime
Cilantro – Watermelon Mint Salsa (with Cilantro)
Cinnamon – Cinnamon and Watermelon Granita
Cloves – Watermelon Relish
Coriander Seed – Chilled Papaya and Watermelon Soup with Lemon Coriander Cream
Curry Leaves – Watermelon Rind Salna (curry)
Fenugreek – Watermelon and Sprouted Fenugreek Pappu (dal)
Garlic Powder – Chili Calamari with Watermelon and Cucumber Salad
Ginger – Watermelon and Ginger Limeade
Gochugaru (Korean red pepper) – Watermelon, Feta, Watercress Salad with Gochugaru Vinaigrette
Grains of Paradise (taste like cross between cardamom, citrus & black pepper) – Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad with Grains of Paradise
Juniper Berries – “Curiously Strong” Watermelon Balls
Kaffir Lime Leaves – Watermelon Infused with Kaffir Lime Vodka
Lemon Grass – Thai Spiced Watermelon Soup with Crabmeat
Lemon Thyme – Watermelon Lemon Thyme Martinis
Loomi (also known as dried or Black Limes or Black Lemons or Omami Lemons) – Watermelon, Cherry and Mint Salad with Rosewater, Dried Limes and Pistachio
Mace (same plant as nutmeg) – Watermelon Ketchup
Mint – Watermelon Agua Fresca
Mustard Seeds – Williams Sonoma’s Watermelon Rind Pickles
Nigella Sativa (also called onion seed or kaloji) – Tuna Watermelon Ceviche
Parsley – Easy Watermelon Gazpacho
Pink Pepper – Grilled Watermelon
Rosemary – Sangria with Watermelon and Rosemary
Shiso (Member of mint family) – Watermelon-Shiso Cooler
Smoked Paprika – Watermelon Sashimi with Sweet and Spicy Cilantro Dipping Sauce
Star Anise – Watermelon, Lime, Ginger, and Star Anise Jam
Summer Savory – Watermelon Goat Cheese Toast
Tarragon – Watermelon Grape Tarragon Salad
Thai Basil – Watermelon, Chili and Basil Ice Pops
Turmeric – Watermelon Curry
Besides the watermelon jam pictured at the top of this post, I tried another one on the list and it was amazing. I’ll blog about it next week. Which recipe caught your fancy?
Disclosure – This post is sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board. All opinions expressed and all editorial decisions are my own.