Watermelon and Kale Salad

Brian Massie

BRAND Steakhouse and Lounge, Citizens Kitchen and Bar, Diablo’s Cantina, Fix Restaurant & Bar, Red Square, and Stack Restaurant & Bar, Las Vegas‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

This unique salad combines the sweetness of watermelon with pickled onions and queso añejo, a salty Mexican cheese. If you can’t find citric acid, you can skip making the sour salt, but you may want to add an extra splash of vinegar when dressing the salad.


Pickled Red Onions:

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 small sprig thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch red chile flakes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

Cucumber Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable

Sour Salt:

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • Small pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon citric acid

Watermelon and Kale Salad:

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup diced watermelon
  • 1/4 cup sliced cucumber
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled red onions
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso añejo or another crumbly salty cheese, such as ricotta salata or feta


Make the pickled red onions: bring the vinegar and water to a simmer in a small pot. Remove from the heat and add the thyme, salt, cumin, and chile flakes. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions in a heatproof bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours hours or up to overnight.

Make the vinaigrette: combine the cucumbers, vinegar, shallots, mustard, salt, and garlic in a blender. Purée until smooth. While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the oil; continue blending until the vinaigrette is completely emulsified.

Make the sour salt: place the salt, chili powder, cayenne, and citric acid in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind or pound the mixture into a fine powder.

Make the salad: combine the kale and olive oil in a bowl. Toss well and let marinate for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the marinated kale, watermelon, cucumbers, radishes, and vinaigrette. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the crumbled cheese and pickled red onions. Sprinkle with sour salt to taste.


4 servings