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Watermelon with lime syrup and spiced salt

Picnic Summer
Serves 6
Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min

This is a great way to dress up fridge-cold, refreshing slices of watermelon. Serve at the end of a meal as pudding, or simply as a cooling snack. These quantities will make more spiced salt than you need: save the excess to serve with slices of ripe mango, pineapple, cucumber or even salad leaves.

Follow the full recipe


2kg watermelon, or about ½ large watermelon
10g picked mint or basil leaves, or a mixture, large leaves roughly torn
3 tbsp olive oil
2 limes zest of 1 finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then both juiced, to get 3 tsp
50g demerara sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tsp aleppo chilli
¾ tsp flaked sea salt
1 tsp sumac
1½ tsp demerara sugar
⅛ tsp cracked black pepper


  1. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut off and discard the skin and white pith from the watermelon, leaving you with about 1½kg flesh. Cut this into 2cm-thick wedges, arrange them on a large platter and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. For the lime syrup, put the lime zest, sugar, vanilla bean paste and 50ml water in a small saucepan on a medium heat, bring to a simmer, then cook for five minutes, until bubbling and slightly syrupy. Take off the heat, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then stir in the lime juice.
  3. Meanwhile, put all the ingredients for the spiced salt in a mortar and lightly grind until the salt is fine.
  4. To assemble, drizzle half the syrup all over the watermelon, scatter over all of the herbs and spoon over the olive oil. Sprinkle a quarter of the spiced salt mix on top and serve with the remaining salt and syrup in two bowls on the side.