Salad Brain Exercise — Watermelon Salad 3 Ways

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell

The platter salad is a creativity platform.

These exercises use the platter, rather than the typical deep salad bowl, as the canvas for creation and a means to illustrate the universal process of creative thinking and design. No matter the creative field, the steps of creativity are the same. Here we’re using salads because we all have some experience with salad. Salad is a low stakes, easy medium for practicing everyday creativity. Plus, your colorful installation eats will feed you well. Shouldn’t we all be eating more salads anyway?


For an introduction to platter salads, read Welcome to Platter Salad Creativity.

These three salads use watermelon as the focal point in distinctly different ways.  Let’s see where watermelon can take us.

A.  Watermelon goes all red.  

Main design parameter: Combine late summer red fruits.

Watermelon, figs, plums, and red grapes. Notice that the figs are cut into rounds which accent the white rings. The figs, grapes, and plums share a similar color depth and contrast with the watermelon. The watermelon is cut into usual chunks. Using one color helps you notice the different hues and values of the reds. The monochromatic design is quite dramatic. This salad is all about sweet so the texture differences among the fruits will stand out.

B. Watermelon goes savory.

Main design parameter: Cut the watermelon in thin slabs. 

The watermelon almost looks like salmon. Take it savory with red onion, cucumber, jalapeno, and cilantro. The jalapeno is in rounds, the cucumber in sticks, the red onion in slivers. Sprinkle with pepita seeds and chili powder to add crunch, color, and an earthy hint. Notice the definite Mexican theme here. Rosy red and greens. Salty, sweet, savory and hot. No dressing needed?

C. Watermelon Goes Savory II.

Main design parameter: Riffing on the watermelon feta craze with the addition of cherry tomatoes.

The watermelon is torn in rough chunks and mimics the crumbles of cheese. The cherry tomatoes are yellow and low contrast to the watermelon. The smooth round shape offers precision against the torn watermelon. The salty cheese is highly contrasted. Onion and black pepper further take the salad to the savory side. Salty, sweet, savory. Simply dressed with olive oil.

Here are all three platter salads – similar yet distinctly different.

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