Grilled Watermelon with Chamomile-Cocoa Salt


In a story about cooking with fruit for Juneteenth, writer Nicole A. Taylor drew on her memories of a ripe, perfect watermelon enjoyed in Austin, Texas to create her recipe for Grilled Watermelon with Chamomile-Cocoa Salt. In this quick-grilling snack, watermelon wedges take on a slightly smoky flavor from the grill that's enhanced by a toasty, crunchy spice blend of benne seeds, chamomile, fennel, and cocoa. Benne seeds have a more robust, slightly bitter flavor than their cousins, sesame seeds; either are delicious in this recipe.

Grilled Watermelon with Chamomile Cocoa Salt
Photo: Photo by Jessica Pettway / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Paola Andrea
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
20 mins


  • 2 teaspoons benne or sesame seeds

  • 2 teaspoons dried chamomile blossoms, stems removed

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

  • 8 watermelon wedges (1 inch thick and about 7 inches wide along rind)

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or any neutral cooking oil)

  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt


  1. Grind benne seeds, chamomile blossoms, fennel seeds, and cocoa using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until blossoms are roughly broken up and evenly incorporated. Set aside.

  2. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high (450°F to 500°F). Brush one side of watermelon wedges evenly with oil. Place wedges, oiled side down, on un-oiled grill grates. Sprinkle tops of wedges evenly with about 2 teaspoons chamomile mixture. Grill, uncovered and undisturbed, until grill marks form on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove watermelon from grill, and arrange, charred side up, on a large platter. Sprinkle watermelon evenly with flaky sea salt and remaining (about 2 teaspoons) chamomile mixture.

Make Ahead

Chamomile mixture can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


Find benne seeds and dried chamomile blossoms at specialty stores or online at

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