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Watermelon with Tamarind and Labneh Recipe

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Around the time that we added a tiny pool onto the deck of our Atlanta home, I was experimenting with different ways to serve watermelon. I had gone to the Israeli market earlier in the week and found a bunch of tasty ingredients to play around with, so I threw this one together when some friends stopped by to hang by the pool. It was so addictive that I made it every weekend for the rest of the summer. The best thing about this recipe is that it takes no time at all—just be sure to keep the watermelon ice-cold until you’re ready to dress it and serve.


1 small seedless watermelon

1 cup labneh or plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup seedless tamarind paste (see Note)

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

¼ cup Za’atar (page 7), or store-bought is fine

1 handful fresh mint leaves, torn


Place the watermelon on a large cutting board and trim each end to expose the flesh. Stand the melon on one of the cut ends to balance it. Using the tip of the knife, carve away the skin and white flesh to reveal the pink fruit underneath. Lay the watermelon on its side and slice it crosswise into 1½ -inch-thick disks. Cut each disk into pie-shaped wedges. Refrigerate in a covered container until well chilled.

Spread the labneh or yogurt across a serving platter or divide it among individual plates. Place the chilled watermelon wedges on top and drizzle with the tamarind paste. Sprinkle with the sea salt, za’atar, and mint and serve cold.

NOTE: I love Neera’s seedless tamarind paste for this recipe. It has a molasses-like consistency that nicely coats the watermelon. You can also use seedless tamarind pulp that comes in a compressed block, but you will need to dissolve it in hot water to achieve the desired viscosity. You can also substitute pomegranat

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