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Watermelon with Pistachio Dukkah

Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice-nut blend that is super versatile. It can be used as a seasoning (pretty killer on popcorn), as a dip with some olive oil or, in this case, as a topping to fresh watermelon.

Technique tip: Toast the spices to bring out their flavors.

Swap option: Use toasted hazelnuts instead of pistachios.

Special equipment: Mortar and pestle.


  • 1/2 baby seedless watermelon, peeled, white ring reserved; flesh cut into irregular 2-inch pieces (about 4 to 5 chunks per person), chilled
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • teaspoons coriander seed, divided
  • teaspoons cumin seed, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped with some slightly larger pieces remaining
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • flaky sea salt
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 heaping cups baby arugula



Dice the watermelon rinds into 1/4-inch cubes until it measures 1 cup and place in a small heatproof bowl.


In a small pot, bring the water, apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, fennel seed, 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorn to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring, until the salt and honey are dissolved.


Pour over the watermelon rinds and let pickle for 30 minutes in advance; refrigerate until ready to use.


In a small skillet, toast the remaining 1 teaspoon coriander seed and 3/4 teaspoon cumin seed over medium heat until somewhat darkened and fragrant, for 2 to 3 minutes.


Transfer the toasted spices to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and grind until fine; transfer to a small bowl.


In the same skillet, toast the sesame seeds, shaking the pan, until lightly golden, for 1 to 2 minutes.


Transfer to the bowl with the spices and add the pistachios, hemp seeds, 1½ teaspoons flaky sea salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorns and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and mix to combine.


In a bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon honey to emulsify; season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Lightly toss the arugula in the dressing and divide among serving plates.


Dip the watermelon pieces in the dukkah and place on top of the arugula.


Garnish with pickled watermelon rind and serve with additional dukkah, if desired.