Watermelon Summer Salad

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Watermelon summer salad is my favorite recipe of the summer. I never get tired of eating it during this season. I do add ingredients each time I make it, just to keep things fresh and exciting. So today, instead of a plain old watermelon salad recipe, you will find the best watermelon summer salad recipe in existence!

WATERMELON SALAD WITH FETA AND CUCUMBER

This watermelon salad is full of sliced cucumbers, crumbled feta cheese and mint, all tossed in an easy lime dressing. A simple yet unusual summer salad that’s sure to get rave reviews.

Watermelon feta salad is one of those flavor combinations that sounds odd, but just works SO well together. Add some crisp and refreshing cucumbers and mint to the mix, and you’ve got a fresh and colorful side dish that everyone will love.

Watermelon salad with cucumbers, feta cheese and mint in a serving bowl.
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One of my fondest summer memories is the watermelon seed spitting contests I would have with friends and family. This watermelon salad doesn’t contain watermelon seeds, but when I was preparing it, I couldn’t help thinking back to those times. The fresh watermelon and cucumber truly make for a delicious and refreshing combination on a hot summer day.

HOW DO YOU MAKE WATERMELON SALAD?

For this recipe, you’ll need cubed watermelon, sliced cucumbers, crumbled feta cheese and mint leaves. A simple lime dressing goes over the top of the salad and everything is tossed together for a fresh and colorful dish. The sweet watermelon with the salty feta is a flavor pairing that may sound unconventional, but it truly is amazing.

A bowl of cubed watermelon, sliced cucumbers, feta cheese and mint leaves.
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Just as a heads up, it can be temping to buy the pre-crumbled feta because it’s more easily available and ready to just dump into a salad. However, the blocks of feta are much more flavorful even if they take a touch more work to crumble up before adding to the dish. With this watermelon cucumber salad, any type of cucumber is fine as long as you remove the seeds before slicing.

A bowl of watermelon, cucumber, feta cheese and mint leaves drizzled with lime dressing.
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I cut my watermelon into chunks because it’s quicker and easier that way. However, you can use a melon baller if you’re looking for a more elegant presentation for your watermelon feta salad. I add the mint at the very last second, as cut mint can turn brown over time. Small, whole mint leaves or thinly sliced pieces of mint are best suited for this watermelon salad.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENGLISH AND REGULAR CUCUMBERS?

English cucumbers are often sold wrapped in plastic. They are typically seedless and do not have the waxed coating like standard cucumbers. Regular cucumbers are more commonly sold outside of a package and definitely contain seeds that have to be scooped out for recipes like this watermelon feta salad.

IS WATERMELON SALAD STILL GOOD WITHOUT THE DRESSING?

This watermelon cucumber salad is still delicious without the dressing. However, the dressing ties all the flavors together and really completes the dish. Although I love the dressing, it’s not necessary for this watermelon salad to still be a refreshing delight.

Watermelon salad with cucumbers, feta cheese and mint in a serving bowl.
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I haven’t made this salad as often as I should! I’ve brought it back out into the light this summer because I was reminded of how easy and delicious it is. It’s always a great hit at get togethers or just at home for a snack or side dish.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

This easy summer watermelon salad is perfect to make for eating under the warm sun. Watermelon and mint add plenty of refreshing flavor, while briny olives and feta offer the perfect counterpoint. Although Jacques Pépin cuts a small, seedless watermelon into rounds with a melon baller (adding the trimmings to the salad, too, so as not to waste them), you can also chop the watermelon into cubes.

Recipe Summary

Active:

10 mins

Total:

10 mins

Yield:

12

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • One 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper.
  • Step 2Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently.
  • Step 3Garnish with the mint and serve.

Notes

Although Pepin cuts a small, seedless watermelon into rounds with a melon baller (adding the trimmings to the salad, too, so as not to waste them), you can also chop the watermelon into cubes.

Serve With

For the ultimate summer pitcher drink, try a rose sangria.

Mediterranean Watermelon Salad Recipe

You’ll love this simple watermelon salad recipe with cucumbers, feta, and mint, all covered in a zesty honey and lime dressing. A summer favorite, this refreshing watermelon feta salad is the perfect dish for a crowd.

Mediterranean Watermelon Salad with Cucumber, Feta, Fresh Herbs and a Honey-Lime Dressing
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Growing up by the shores of the Mediterranean, my summers in Port Said, Egypt consisted of two things: the beach and watermelons. I remember spending long days on the sunny beach with my favorite snack in hand: slices of watermelon topped with crumbles of creamy feta.

I still love nothing more than the combination of salty feta over sweet, cool watermelon. And this watermelon salad with cucumbers, feta, and fresh herbs, is another level of delicious. I think of this watermelon feta salad as grown up version of my favorite snack, and the zesty honey-lime dressing sure brings everything together.

Every bite of this salad is as refreshing and packed with flavor as it looks. Try it once, and you’ll have it all season long!

Ingredients for Mediterranean Watermelon Salad. Cubed watermelon, cucumber, fresh herbs, honey, lime
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Watermelon salad recipe ingredients

This summer salad is the perfect combination of flavors. Juicy, fresh watermelon goes well with cool cucumbers, fresh herbs, and the rest of the savory ingredients in this salad. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Here are the fresh ingredients you need and some notes on how to prepare them:

  • Watermelon. You can use 1 small watermelon or ½ a large watermelon. You’ll need to peel and cut the watermelon into cubes (see tips for how to cut a watermelon in my easy tutorial), but you can also use a melon baller, if you’re after a fancier look.
  • English cucumber or hot house cucumber. English cucumbers are sweeter and their skin is not took thick or waxy, so you don’t need to peel them. If you end up using American slicing cucumbers, you’ll want to peel and seed the cucumbers before slicing.
  • Mint and basil leaves. I used a good amount of herbs here, about 1 cup packed of each (or 15 leaves of mint and 15 leaves of fresh basil), roughly chopped or torn. Trust me, you need the punch of freshness from these herbs!
  • Creamy feta cheese. You’ll need about ½ cup or more of creamy crumbled feta. I usually start with a small block of feta packed in the brine, and I don’t mind crumbling it myself. Feta packed in the brine is more creamy and not as salty as dry, already crumbled feta (besides I always keep a block of feta on hand in case the mood strikes for a delicious baked feta appetizer).
Mediterranean Watermelon Salad
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Dressing for watermelon feta salad

With juicy watermelons and cucumber, you may think the dressing is unnecessary. While this watermelon and feta salad is delicious without a dressing, a simple and bright dressing like I use here does bring it together and enhances the flavor. You only need 4 ingredients for the honey-lime dressing:

  • Honey. I used 2 tablespoons of our Greek honey from Crete, the thyme and wild
  • Lime juice. You can use lemon juice if that’s what you have on hand
  • Extra virgin olive oil. I recommend 2 tablespoons of our Greek Early Harvest EVOO or our fruity Spanish Hojiblanca EVOO for this salad.
  • Kosher salt. Just a pinch is all you need here to help draw out some of the delicious juices in the cubed cucumber and watermelons.
A watermelon half on a cutting board and a person's hand holding a knife and removing the rind
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A few tips for how to make watermelon salad

To make this salad, you just add your watermelon cubes, cucumber, torn fresh herbs in a large salad bowl or platter. Pour the honey-lime dressing on top, then gently toss to combine. Finally, crumble your feta cheese and sprinkle it all over the salad.

Keep in mind that soon after watermelons are cut and dressed, the liquid slowly seeps out of the flesh, and along with it, the sweet flavor you associate with watermelon. So, this watermelon salad with cucumber is best prepared and enjoyed on the same day. But you can make the dressing up to 3 days in advance and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge.

Watermelon, Cucumber, Feta, and Fresh Herbs in one large bowl
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Variations

You can change up this Mediterranean watermelon salad to your liking. In addition to cucumbers, feta, and fresh herbs, here are a few more ingredients that go well with watermelon:

  • Shallots or red onions. Thinly sliced shallots will add a little punch.
  • Avocado. Dice up a creamy avocado to add a little indulgence and fat to this salad.
  • Hot peppers. You can slice up some jalapeno rings for added crunch and heat.
  • Red pepper flakes such as Aleppo-Style pepper. I love Aleppo-style pepper over watermelons and over mangos, it is not too spicy but adds enough of a kick with hints of sweetness. I highly recommend it!

Leftovers

We don’t typically have much left of this refreshing salad, but you can keep leftover watermelon cucumber salad in the fridge in a tightly-closed glass container for up to 2 days. Drain excess liquid and test the salad before serving though.

Serve this watermelon cucumber salad with

This is the quintessential summer salad to serve next to any of your grilled meats, chicken skewers, or even fish. Great for sandwich night next to salmon burgers or even shawarma. And it’s a good change from pasta salad (or in addition to) for a picnic.

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