Watermelon and Tomato Bruschetta

Watermelon and tomato bruschetta is a delightfully refreshing twist on the kind you’ve been making up until now. Garlic, basil, and pecorino cheese work perfectly with the crisp and unexpected sweetness of the melon.

Three watermelon and tomato bruschetta slices topped with shaved pecorino and cut in half.

Adapted from James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst | Flavor for All | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020

I’m always looking for that big flavor match. What stands out about the South to me is the diversity of quality ingredients that match together in incredible new ways, like diced up watermelon for bruschetta. The beauty of this dish is the visual trick it plays: when mixed together, the cubes of watermelon and tomato are nearly indiscernible, while they alternate savory and sweet bursts on the palate.– James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst

Watermelon and Tomato Bruschetta

Three watermelon and tomato bruschetta slices topped with shaved pecorino and cut in half.
You’re probably not thinking garlic, basil, and cheese with your watermelon, but trust us on this one. It's the perfect bruschetta for summer.
James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst

Prep 25 mins
Drain Time 20 mins
Total 45 mins
4 to 6 servings
336 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 2 cups (11 1/2 ounces) finely diced seedless watermelon*
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) diced fresh tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 to 6 slices rustic sourdough bread sliced 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper for garnish
  • Shaved pecorino cheese for garnish


  • In a medium bowl, combine the watermelon and tomato. Add the salt and gently mix to combine. Transfer to a colander in the sink and allow excess liquid to drain for 20 minutes. Reserve the bowl.
  • Brush both sides of the slices of sourdough with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a hot skillet or grill, toast the bread on both sides until lightly charred on the edges, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Alternatively, you can use a toaster, toaster oven, or broiler.

    TESTER TIP: Allow the bread to toast as long as possible without burning. This will allow it to hold the bruschetta mixture without soaking up as much juice.

  • Rub one side of the toasted bread slices with the cut side of the garlic cloves.
  • Return the drained watermelon and tomatoes to the reserved bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the basil. Gently toss to combine.
  • Spoon the watermelon mixture onto the toasted bread and garnish with pepper and a generous shaving of pecorino.
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*How do I pick a perfectly ripe watermelon?

If you're going to lug that big old watermelon home, you're going to want to make sure it's perfect. First, take a look at it. Right away, choose one with good coloring—dark green with light, creamy stripes. And, generally speaking, the riper they are, the more matte they are. Next, pick it up; it should be heavy for its size. Roll it around until you find the field spot—the spot it sat on while ripening in the field. It should be a creamy, yellow-white. Bright white or yellow is a sign that it's underripe. Finally, look for webbing and spots on the peel. These so-called imperfections are actually the sugar seeping through the rind and you'll find that particular melon is quite sweet. For a little more in-depth watermelon picking info, check this out and get ready to pick the best watermelons ever.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 336kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 44g (15%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 15g (23%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 622mg (27%)Potassium: 263mg (8%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 769IU (15%)Vitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 41mg (4%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I’ve made bruschetta many times, but never with the addition of watermelon. This watermelon and tomato bruschetta really takes bruschetta to the next level! There's a nice crunch from the toasted bread which is perfectly flavored with extra virgin olive oil and garlic.

This is the time of year for our wonderful Jersey tomatoes and I was able to use one very large one from my garden–an heirloom Black Krim. Draining the mixture is an important step to avoid soggy bread that can easily result, especially with the inclusion of the watermelon. Toasting the bread also helps avoid sogginess. A nice variation on traditional bruschetta.

This is a refreshing and surprising alternative to traditional tomato bruschetta, but don't expect deep tomato flavor—this is more about the feeling of coolness with a touch of (hopefully) ripe tomato—and there's a place for it on a hot summer day or night. We had this watermelon and tomato bruschetta on such a summer night, and it fit right into the feeling of the evening. We were happily surprised at how refreshing it was.

Grill the bread if you have time, as that adds some extra flavor, and don't be afraid of adding the salt. I might try a sprinkle of fleur de sel next time, as the flavors really come together with the salt and olive oil. Use your best olive oil—it will add another layer of flavor with the coolness of the watermelon, summer tomato, and basil. If you do want a little more tomato flavor, adjust the tomato-watermelon proportion to favor the tomato. The watermelon in the bruschetta is a surprise for those who don’t look closely, making it a really fun summer dish.

Originally published July 01, 2021


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