Watermelon Feta Salad

updated Jul 21, 2023
summer
Watermelon Salad Recipe

This zesty, savory watermelon salad has all the delightful, crunchy elements of a perfect summer side.

Serves4

Makesabout 7 cups

Prep20 minutes

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watermelon pasta on ribbed plate
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaffer; Food Styling: James Park

While I love simple fruit salads during the summer when I can enjoy gorgeous fruits all the time, I also have a thing for savory fruit salads. Something magical happens when fresh, extra-sweet fruit meets savory elements like olive oil and flaky salt. My go-to savory fruit salad is this watermelon and feta salad, which I make repeatedly during the summer. 

I crave this simple salad when watermelon is in season, and then I make it at least once a week (for real!). It’s crunchy, juicy, sweet, salty, and perfectly balanced. 

What Is Watermelon Feta Salad?

This sweet-and-salty pairing is nothing new, but with a few savory additions this refreshing fruit salad will be the perfect summer meal or a shining side dish at your next potluck. Here, thinly sliced red onion and Persian cucumber add layers of crunch that pair well with cubes of watermelon. Finishing with a simple dressing that’s a mix of olive oil and rice vinegar highlights watermelon’s naturally sweet flavor.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaffer; Food Styling: James Park

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Watermelon Salad

  • Watermelon: You’ll need two pounds of seedless watermelon, which is about 1/4 of a large one. 
  • Feta cheese: Its crumbly texture and distinctive briny flavor create a wonderful contrast to the sweet, crunchy, fruity taste of watermelon. 
  • Lemon: While you can mix the juice and zest directly into the dressing, adding it over the watermelon adds a wonderful brightness. 
  • Fresh mint: Adds an herbaceous and refreshing flavor to the salad.
  • Roasted pistachios: Impart a nutty flavor.
  • Flaky salt: Accentuates the natural sweetness of watermelon even more when sprinkled on top right before serving.

How to Customize Your Watermelon Feta Salad

The recipe itself is forgiving and flexible. Sometimes, I add more mint or some sliced basil. Other times, I add crumbled goat cheese instead of feta. Whatever form your watermelon salad takes is sure to become a delicious summer ritual. 

Watermelon Salad Recipe

This zesty, savory watermelon salad has all the delightful, crunchy elements of a perfect summer side.

Prep time 20 minutes

Makes about 7 cups

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/4

    medium red onion

  • 1

    Persian cucumber

  • 2 pounds

    seedless watermelon (1/4 large)

  • 1 medium bunch

    fresh mint

  • 6 ounces

    feta cheese (not crumbled)

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 tablespoons

    roasted, unsalted shelled pistachios

  • 2 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Flaky salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Thinly slice 1/4 medium red onion (about 1/3 cup). Halve 1 medium Persian cucumber lengthwise; scoop out the fleshy middle with a spoon and discard, then thinly slice the cucumber crosswise. Cut 2 pounds seedless watermelon into 1/2-inch cubes until you have 6 cups. Pick the leaves from 1 medium bunch fresh mint until you have 1/3 loosely packed cup, then thinly slice; slice more mint for garnish if desired. Cut 6 ounces feta cheese into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup).

  2. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon). Juice the lemon until you have 3 tablespoons. Coarsely chop 2 tablespoons pistachios.

  3. Place 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

  4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss until combined. Garnish with the pistachios, mint, and flaky salt.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.