Watermelon Tomato Mentsuyu Salad

watermelon tomato mentsuyu summer salad

First, happy September! Second, a bunch of links:

homestyle takeout food52 columnI know I was a bit woeful about summer in my previous posts, but every time I go to the market I’m refilled with summer energy, and now that it’s September I know I’m going to be sad that summer is almost over. So, let’s take advantage of summer and make this watermelon tomato salad. This is a salad that must be eaten during the summer. Why? Because it uses juicy, ripe watermelon and the sweetest little tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. They’re like natural gushers that burst in your mouth with sweet tomato juice. These tomatoes are the highlight of this dish, and if these tomatoes are sour or even worse, tasteless, then move on. Make something else.Watermelon Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu sauce

I honestly wasn’t sure how this salad would taste. Instead of a vinaigrette or other dressing, I drizzled some cold mentsuyu sauce, made from dashi stock, chicken broth, sake, and mirin. This is the quick, no-fuss way to make it – if you’re looking for the real deal, see Nami’s recipe for mentsuyu here. It’s a common noodle soup base in Japanese cooking. I make and use it mostly as a dipping sauce for soba, which is served cold and perfect for the summer. An idea struck me when I was eating my weekly soba – this mentsuyu sauce is the primary flavoring for cold soba. What if I repurposed it for something else?

Watermelon Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu sauceWatermelon Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu sauce

I drizzled mentsuyu sauce over watermelon + tomato, with some herbs and arugula. It’s salty and sweet with umami tastes scattered throughout, and the occasional tang from goat cheese, and it works. I made it twice again already and I’m not stopping anytime soon. I don’t eat a lot of salads – I’m a rice and noodles kind of girl, but I will eat this salad every day if I can. The juice of watermelon gives everything a nice sweet coat, but the savory mentsuyu, packed with umami flavors, balances it out nicely. My favorite part is actually the cherry tomatoes. One bite and multiple flavors burst out: the sweet, tangy tomato, the sweetness from watermelon juice, and a punch of savory from the mentsuyu. Cilantro and basil give it an overall herbed fragrance that can’t be left out. If you absolutely hate cilantro, you can omit it, but I highly recommend it!

Watermelon Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu sauceWatermelon Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu sauce


  • These measurements are approximate. This salad is simple in that the sauce is made, so all you need to do is toss together the fresh ingredients and then drizzle the sauce on.
  • You can make mentsusyu via Nami’s recipe, or buy bottled mentsuyu from the store.

Watermelon Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu sauce

Recipe: Watermelon + Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu Drizzle

1 cup Fresh watermelon, seedless, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup Husk or cherry tomatoes
Fresh cilantro
Fresh basil, julienned
1 cup argula
1 cup shredded red cabbage
Sprinkle of goat cheese
2-4 tbsp mentsuyu, chilled
sunflower seeds or sesame seeds
fresh finely chopped scallion greens

salt and pepper, to taste

Combine watermelon, tomatoes, arugula, red cabbage, herbs. Drizzle on mentsuyu sauce to taste. Sprinkle goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and scallions. Watermelon Tomato Summer Salad with Mentsuyu sauce

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  • I’m amazed at your food photography skills! You have such lovely attention to detail and styling. I love how vibrant the colors are in the foods but there is also a lovely moody and muted tone that sets the photos. Gorgeous ; )

    And Congrats on being yahoo’s food blogger of the week!!! That is definitely something to be very proud of! : )


  • Yay!!! I just read your Yahoo profile and you’re the best. Can’t wait to check out the podcast!!!ReplyCancel

  • Holding on to summer with all this fresh, beautiful, deliciousness! Congrats on being Yahoo blogger of the week =)ReplyCancel

  • These photos are simply stunning Betty! I LOVE the styling and beautiful vibrant colours!!
    Congrats on being the yahoo blogger of the week, it’s so well deserved!
    This salad sounds like a dream!! I’ve never heard of mentsuyu before but now I really need to get my hands on it and make this gorgeous salad before the summer ends. :)ReplyCancel

  • Betty, this is awesome stuff! Good for you on all those tidbits of good news, you deserve it! 😀 And I’m loving these colorful pictures~~~~ReplyCancel

  • Love these photos and can’t wait for the podcast! This salad sounds incredible, I’m definitely a huge fan of cilantro, so I’ll be including it! :)ReplyCancel

  • It made me smile so big to see all of your amazing talent being showcased around the web – you are amazing and its just so awesome to see you totally rocking it! You’re and inspiration, both in photography AND recipe making. Such as this salad which is something I would have never thought to do! Tomatoes and watermelon?! You have me intrigued! Mega gorgeous as always. Big hugs!!ReplyCancel

  • big congrats on being Yahoo’s food blogger of the week– you deserve it lady! Everything you make looks so wonderful, a clear testament to your talent in the kitchen and behind the camera. Looking so forward to all the great things you’ll do in the future! xoReplyCancel

  • Congrats Betty! I love how colorful this salad is and such a perfect dish to capture summer!ReplyCancel

  • Congrats on the Yahoo feature, Betty! You deserve it! This salad looks phenomenal, definitely a nice away to end the summer!ReplyCancel

  • These photos are GORGEOUS, Betty! And I love learning about new ingredients—mentsuyu is completely new to me. What a gorgeous ode to summer. And YAY re Yahoo and podcasts and all the rest! So happy for you—but more for everyone else who gets to enjoy your amazing recipes and photos.ReplyCancel

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