Wading in the surf, lounging in the sand and reading three pages of your novel between sunscreen applications—a lazy day at the beach can work up quite the appetite. That’s why we’re hitting the shore this summer armed with a cooler full of flavourful, no-fuss, picnic-perfect bites. (And if you get a little sand in that watermelon salad? That’s just the sign of a life well lived.)

Photo: Seth Stevenson; Prop Styling: Ryan Louis

Simple yet satisfying, flavourful peak-season produce is the key to this salad. You can skip the sesame cashews in favour of plain toasted cashews, but they are well worth the effort even just to nibble on as a snack.

Watermelon Tomato Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Photo: Seth Stevenson; Prop Styling: Ryan Louis

Sesame cashews

1 cup whole raw cashews

2 tbsp liquid clover honey or maple syrup

¼ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds,
plus extra for garnish

Tamari lime vinaigrette

1 tbsp tamari or low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

½ tsp minced fresh ginger


3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into wedges

5 cups chopped watermelon

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

2 tbsp packed Thai basil leaves

1 lime, cut into wedges

How to Make:

Start by making sesame-roasted cashews. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together cashews and honey until cashews are evenly coated. Pour cashews onto your prepared baking tray in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds. Bake until cashews are fragrant and honey becomes golden brown (about 20 minutes). Remove from oven and set cashews aside on baking tray until cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes). Once cooled, break cashews into clusters and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To make the dressing, place tamari, lime juice, vinegar, garlic and ginger in a mason jar and shake vigorously until well combined.

When ready to serve, arrange tomatoes, watermelon and jalapenos on a platter or in a shallow bowl. Drizzle with dressing and top with basil and some cashews. Sprinkle with some extra sesame seeds if desired. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipes and food styling: Lawren Moneta

Photos: Seth Stevenson

Prop styling: Ryan Louis

This story was originally published in the July/August 2023 print issue of Western Livingfind the digital issue here.