Watermelon, Avocado, and Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Sesame Dressing Recipe

A crunchy and refreshing salad fit for the dog days of summer.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


for the dressing:
2 lemons
½ cup|130 grams granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

for the salad:
1 pound|450 grams peeled and cubed watermelon
2 avocados, halved, peeled, pitted, and cubed
2 Persian cucumbers, cut into half moons
anise hyssop flowers, to garnish
toasted sesame seeds, to garnish


  1. Make the dressing: Using a Y-peeler, remove the zest from the lemons, taking care to not get any white pith on the zest. If you get some white pith, carefully remove it from the zest with your knife. Thinly slice into VERY thin strips, then dice it finely. I’m talking FINE. Like, these are almost the size of poppy seeds. Ok, maybe not THAT small, but almost!
  2. Bring the sugar and ½ cup|125 ml water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the lemon peels and boil for 5 minutes, then strain, reserving the syrup and the peels separately. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the simple syrup. Refrigerate the rest for another use, like cocktails.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved tablespoon of syrup, the lemon peel, the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Set the dressing aside.
  4. Make the salad: Gently toss ¼ cup|60 ml of the dressing with the watermelon, avocados, and cucumbers. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the anise hyssop flowers and the sesame seeds. If you don’t have any anise hyssop, don’t worry about it. You could use some other kind of edible flower or herb, like thyme flowers or mint.

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