Have you ever compressed watermelon? You won't believe what a difference it makes! The flavor of the watermelon becomes sweeter and more intense, and in this recipe it's balanced perfectly with a bit of spice, fresh tomatoes and a tangy, creamy avocado dressing.
I have so much to talk about that I don't even know where to begin.
I'm so excited about this recipe and I'm so happy to be sharing it with you!
What is Compressed Watermelon?
- Compressing uses pressure, often of a vacuum sealer, to remove the air between the cell walls in foods.
- Compressing the watermelon intensifies the flavor and the texture becomes more dense and the color more vibrant. (Here's why.)
- It's quite easy to do it, even without a vacuum sealer. (See recipe instructions below.)
Compressed Watermelon Salad Recipe
If you've never tried compressing watermelon, you must.
Sometimes adding one more step, a detail, if you will, to a recipe, is all it takes to bring it from very good, to over the top. And in this case, compressing the watermelon does it.
This salad is a most delightful appetizer course, and would be lovely for a summer lunch.
The Creamy Lemon-Lime Avocado
This is actually a salad dressing -- one that's a bit thicker than most. It's creamy, tangy, super smooth, and the perfect "bed" for the watermelon. It also makes for a fabulous dip or spread on a sandwich.
This utterly stunning Compressed Watermelon Salad will make all of your party guests swoon.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I really think you're going to love it!
More of my favorite watermelon recipes:
- Watermelon Pizza
- Watermelon Cucumber Salsa
- Balsamic Glazed Fresh Melon Cake
- Balsamic Watermelon Avocado Chopped Salad
Compressed Watermelon Salad and Creamy Lemon-Lime Avocado
*Please note that the Creamy Lemon-Lime Avocado Dressing should be made in advance -- it takes about 10 minutes.
- about ¼ of a large seedless watermelon
- about ½ cup Creamy Lemon-Lime Avocado Dressing (click here for the recipe)
- 1 cup tiny, multi-color heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters
- 1 small to medium-sized jalapeño pepper, super thinly sliced
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
To compress the watermelon
- Use a long slicing knife to cut the watermelon in half, horizontally. Place one half flat side down on a clean, dry surface. Then slice a portion off the round top and then each side, making it a square or rectangle.
- Now decide on your serving plates. Cut the watermelon flesh to match the shape of the plate -- could be circular, square, rectangular, or into cubes if you'd like --- it's up to you! Whatever you choose, the slices should be about ½ thick, and you should have 4 of them, or 4 generous handful of the cubes.
- Place the slices (or cubes) in a large, heavy-duty zip-lock bag -- be sure the watermelon pieces are laying flat and as close together as possible. Remove as much air possible form the bag as you seal it. You may need more than one, if not a few bags. Now lay the bags flat on a baking sheet or tray that will fit into your freezer. Place something flat on top -- I use another baking sheet, but if that doesn't work for you, you can even use a piece of cardboard. Now place heavy items on top to weigh it down -- could be cans of food, packages of frozen meat or even ice packs. Whatever works. Leave it in the freezer for 2 hours.
- When you're ready to plate the watermelon, after the 2 hours, let it sit out just until it’s thawed through, about 15 minutes or so. Then use the bottom of a spoon to thickly spread about 2 tablespoons of the Creamy Lemon-Lime Avocado Dressing on the plate -- mostly in the center. Add a watermelon slice on top and gently press it into the dressing so that it spreads beneath it.
- Add about ¼ of the tomatoes to each plate, and a few slices of the jalapeño pepper (use as many as you'd like, depending on how much heat you want). Add a sprig or two of thyme and serve!
Judy at My Well Seasoned Life
My god this is a brilliant presentation and method. Can't believe how simple but how elegant it looks when finished.
thanks, Judy! I think you would love it. (IMHO) 😉
Gorgeous - think this will be the salad for a dinner party this weekend - how creative!
Thanks, Liz! Enjoy! XO
Cathy | She Paused 4 Thought
What a fabulous idea! I wonder if this method works for other melons as well?
We must try it, Cathy!
Yes, this woul work for all melons. I had a fabulous salad with three different kinds of compressed melon, as well as compressed pineapple, in a restaurant recently. The best summer salad that I have ever tasted. All of the flavors were intense and heightened from this clever, interesting technique
Thanks for sharing this info, and your salad sounds like it was amazing! 🙂 ~Valentina
I am about to make pickled watermelon rind, so I will have LOTS of flesh to play with. Can't wait to try this - and the dressing looks amazing AND versatile! xo
Perfect, David. I have yet to try pickled watermelon rind -- must try it with the next one. 🙂
David Scott Allen
You aren't going to believe this, but I woke up at 3:30 this morning with an idea for a compressed watermelon dish. I must have been channeling this recipe from 2015!! I think it came to mind because I now have a vacuum sealer, which will make all the difference. I think I first heard about it when there was some fancy article in the NY Times that mentioned it. It did catch my eye, and obviously my heart (and taste buds, of course)!
So awesome you have a vacuum sealer -- I still need to invest in one! Great for sous vide cooking too!
I really love that you wake up thinking of recipes. Me too. Can't wait to see what you come up with for watermelon. Since they're so sweet right now, I can't get enough. 🙂 ~Valentina
Boy, you just taught this old dog something new. I've never thought of vac-sealing a slice of watermelon or pairing with avocado cream. My kind of fun and tasty dish! I just added watermelon to our weekly grocery delivery. Thanks for the inspiration and cooking lesson.
Thanks so much, Ron! Hope you have fun trying it. It's a pretty cool cooking project and such a great summertime treat. 🙂 ~Valentina
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop
What a unique recipe! I am so curious about compressing the watermelon and now I must give this a try! Can't wait... 🙂
Hope you try it, Kathy. It's fun. Thanks so much and enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
I've had compressed watermelon at a restaurant, but have never made it at home. Thank you for the instructions on how to do it. So excited to give it a try!
I hope you try it, Marissa. It's fun and so delicious! Thanks so much. 🙂 ~Valentina
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
Love love love sweet and savoury/spicy/salty combos so totally digging the watermelon and jalapeno! What a lovely combination and recipe for a warm summer day 🙂
I am going to make this next week. When assembling, does the alter melon need to thaw first, or do I place it in the dressing while still frozen?
Hi Suzan, thanks so much for writing in. And a big thank you for bringing this detail to my attention. It is indeed not stated and therefore so unclear. (Sorry!) Yes, it should sit for a bit before adding it to the plate/sauce -- just until it's thawed through, about 15 minutes or so. (I'll be editing this into the recipe right now.) As a one woman show, I sometimes miss things and so appreciate it when readers ask and/or let me know these things. I hope you love the watermelon, and have a lovely weekend. 🙂 ~Valentina