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Grilled Watermelon Salsa with Spicy Lime Tortilla Chips

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 2-1/2 cups salsa and 7 1/2 dozen chips

Servings: 6 to 8

Grilling enhances watermelon’s natural sweetness and gives it a smoky flavor that pairs nicely with the spicy kick of chipotle in this bright salsa.


For the salsa

  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle chile
  • 1 1/2 lb. watermelon, sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped English cucumber
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. chopped shallot
  • 1/2 medium serrano, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

For the chips

  • 1 quart canola oil
  • 15 5-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 430
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 310
  • Fat (g): 36
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 22
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 310
  • Carbohydrates (g): 27
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 2


Make the salsa

  • Prepare a high gas or charcoal grill fire. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp. of the olive oil with the ground chipotle. Brush the watermelon slices on both sides with the chipotle oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt. Grill the watermelon until charred spots appear on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove the rind, seed if necessary, and coarsely chop the flesh.

    In a food processor, combine the watermelon flesh, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, shallot, serrano, and the remaining 3 tsp. olive oil. Pulse until the ingredients are mixed but still chunky. Transfer the salsa to a medium bowl and stir in the lime juice. Refrigerate to let the flavors meld, about 1 hour. Just before serving, season to taste with salt

Make the Chips

  • Heat the canola oil in a 10-inch straightsided skillet over medium-high heat. (You should have about 1/2 inch of oil.) Stack the tortillas and cut the stack into 6 wedges. In a small bowl, combine the lime zest with 1 1/2 tsp. salt. With your fingers, rub the salt and zest together until the salt is seasoned and the zest is broken into very small pieces. Stir in the cayenne.

    To test the oil, add a small piece of tortilla. If it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready; if it sinks, wait another minute and test it again. When the oil is ready, add a handful of tortilla triangles (about 15) and cook until lightly browned and crisp, turning halfway through with a slotted spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. (If the tortillas seem to brown too quickly, reduce the heat.) Transfer the chips to a plate lined with paper towels and drain for 2 minutes. Put the warm chips in a clean paper bag, add 1/8 tsp. of the seasoned salt, close the bag, and shake gently. Season with more salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Serve the salsa with the chips.

Make Ahead Tips

The salsa and chips may be made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate the salsa, and store the chips in an airtight container.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • Gracias99 | 07/03/2013

    This recipe has become a summer favorite. The chile oil and the hot grill transform the watermelon. It's still juicy and a touch sweet, but also brightly earthy. The overall combination of flavors is really delicious!

  • FKgarcia | 11/19/2012

    A hit a local Halloween Seattle party.

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