Watermelon salad is a treat! Sweet and crisp watermelon, creamy, salty feta cheese, and aromatic mint leaves are a match made in heaven that everyone should try.
Add some lemon juice, lemon zest, and a few other simple ingredients, and in less than 15 minutes, you've got probably the best summer salad ever made.
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Long hot summer days are the perfect excuse to make a scrumptious and refreshing watermelon salad.
If you've never had watermelon feta salad, you might think that the one to follow is an awkward ingredients combination. But you've got to trust us here.
And we'll tell you the secret to this recipe here and now: keep it simple! You don't need a complex vinaigrette or more than a handful of ingredients to enjoy this beautiful dish.
The crisp, sweet, and juicy watermelon is meant to be combined with creamy, savory feta cheese. The tanginess and saltiness of the Feta highlight the crisp and sweet nature of the summer fruit.
We add plenty of mint leaves, lemon juice, and finely chopped or grated lemon zest for a refreshing aroma. The flavors meld together so perfectly that we couldn't believe it ourselves.
To add crunch, we opt for toasted pistachio nuts. Their round nutty flavor complements the other ingredients beautifully.
Finish this colorful watermelon feta mint salad with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a few twists of black pepper, and get ready for the best summer salad you've ever had.
Pick a small, sweet watermelon with no seeds or a few yellow seeds.
Look for seedless watermelon at the store; they are usually the smaller ones with a uniform dark green colored shell.
Giant watermelons with black seeds are delicious; however, making a salad with them might be challenging because you might have to remove at least some of their black seeds.
We like to cut the watermelon into cubes with a knife, but you also use a melon baller if you want a round shape.
If you can't find good watermelon, you can substitute strawberries for it.
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep and goat's milk.
While in some countries, the "Feta" name is protected by law - meaning that if you buy a cheese labeled "Feta," you are going to get "real Feta" - in the US, that's not the case.
If you don't pay attention, you will not get Feta, but more of a white salty salad cheese called Feta (which might taste good, but it's not Feta).
So, if you appreciate good food, and want to eat authentic Greek Feta, make sure the cheese you are about to purchase is produced in Greece, from sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep and goat's milk.
Also, I'd recommend purchasing a whole block of Feta and crumbling it with your hands. Unfortunately, we could not find feta crumbles made with authentic Greek Feta; if you do, let us know.
For vegans, Feta is challenging to replace. You can use a vegan feta cheese replacement; Violife has a decent one, or keep the cheese out and replace it with toasted and salted nuts (pistachios or almonds).
Fresh mint leaves highlight this watermelon salad and have perfect flavor affinity with watermelon and Feta.
The other fresh herb that works well in this recipe is fresh basil. We use them to dress the salad, plus some extra to sprinkle on top.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds acidity and freshness and behaves like a flavor booster for the other ingredients. You can substitute lime juice for lemon juice.
The lemon zest elevates this salad, adding a pleasant lemon aroma. If you have five minutes to spare, I'd recommend peeling the lemon with a vegetable peeler, slicing the lemon zest julienne (thin strips) with a knife, then finely chopping it into tiny dice to sprinkle on top of the salad. Otherwise, you can grate the zest.
We recommend using extra virgin olive oil if possible. This heart-healthy oil has a fruitier and nuttier flavor than regular olive oil.
Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper are optional; however, a pinch of sea salt or kosher salt makes the watermelon flavor pop.
A few twists of freshly ground black pepper add a pleasant aroma.
As mentioned in the introduction, the secret to making a delicious watermelon salad is to keep the ingredient list to a minimum and let the three main ingredients (watermelon, feta cheese, and mint leaves) shine.
The salad is delicious without any add-ins; however, if you want to, you can pick one or two of the following without ruining the essence of this dish.
- Pistachio nuts (toasted and not salted)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red onion
- Black olives or Kalamata olives
- Balsamic glaze or good quality balsamic vinegar
Our favorite pick is pistachio nuts to add crunch and nutty flavor.
Cut the watermelon in half, put it on a cutting board, cut side down, and peel the rind with a sharp knife until all white flesh is removed.
Next, cut the watermelon into about 1-inch slices.
Cut each slice into 1-inch sticks, then into bite-size 1-inch cubes.
Gently transfer the watermelon cubes into a large bowl or serving platter. Season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and finely sliced mint leaves.
Toss gently with a spoon or with your hands to distribute the condiments.
Finally, top with crumbled Feta, toasted pistachio nuts, finely chopped or grated lemon zest, and more finely sliced mint leaves.
Serve immediately and enjoy with a spoon so that you can pick up the delicious juices.
Watermelon Tomato Salad
Combine sliced black olives, a few halved cherry tomatoes, half thinly sliced red onion, and fresh basil leaves with the watermelon cubes.
Season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss gently, then add crumbled Feta, lemon zest, and more basil.
Watermelon Cucumber Salad
Add crisp cucumber, sliced basil leaves, and thinly sliced red onion to the watermelon cubes. Add diced avocado to make this watermelon salad recipe tastier and creamier.
Season with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Top with crumbled Feta and lemon zest.
Our favorite way to serve this watermelon salad recipe is with other delicious salads, spreads, and dips. For example, you can serve it for brunch or bring it to a potluck or picnic with a:
- Moroccan carrot salad
- Green bean salad
- Panzanella salad
- Tofu and tahini salad
- Chickpea hummus
- Avocado spread
- Eggplant dip
Finally, you can certainly serve watermelon feta and mint salad as a side dish with many of our easy plant-based dinners. Try:
Watermelon salad will last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
However, the salad tastes best as soon as it's made because the watermelon is crisp, the Feta creamy, and the mint fresh and bright.
We do not recommend mixing the salad in advance; however, if you want to get ahead, you can chop the watermelon a few hours in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
You can also prep the other ingredients in advance; don't chop the fresh herbs, or they'll oxidize and turn brown.
In conclusion, mix the salad before serving it for the best results.
Feta cheese, mint leaves, lemon juice, and zest go perfectly with watermelon salad.
You can also add tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, olives, and avocado.
We don't recommend mixing the watermelon salad ahead because the watermelon will lose its crisp texture, and it'll get soggy. Also, the fresh herbs will turn brown, and the Feta will dry up.
If you want to get ahead, cut the watermelon into cubes and store it in an airtight container without mixing it with the other ingredients.
The salad will last for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge; however, it's best eaten soon after it's made.
Creamy and salty feta cheese is the best cheese to pair with watermelon.
Savory and umami-rich flavors with soft and creamy textures go particularly well with watermelon. Think of feta cheese, black olives, and avocado.
Citrus is also a good match, especially lemon juice, zest, and lime juice.
More Summer Salad Recipes
More Salad Recipes
Choose your next side dish or meal from this list of colorful and fresh salads, all of them with vegan and vegetarian variations:
For many more healthy salad ideas, see all salad recipes – >
- 5 - 7 cups watermelon 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest finely diced or grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup mint leaves
- 3 ounces Greek Feta
- 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts toasted + not salted
- Cut the watermelon in half, put it on a cutting board, cut side down, and peel the rind with a sharp knife until all white flesh is removed.
- Next, cut the watermelon into about 1-inch slices.
- Cut each slice into 1-inch sticks, then into bite-size 1-inch cubes.
- Gently transfer the watermelon cubes into a large bowl or serving platter. Season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and finely sliced mint leaves.Toss gently with a spoon or with your hands to distribute the condiments.
- Top with crumbled Feta, toasted pistachio nuts, finely chopped or grated lemon zest, and more mint leaves.Serve immediately and enjoy with a spoon so that you can pick up the delicious juices.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Black olives
- Red onion
- Balsamic glaze
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