Watermelon salad is the essence of summer. The refreshing combination of sweet watermelon, cool cucumbers, and salty feta with a pop of fresh mint means this watermelon feta salad recipe is easy to make and easy to enjoy with friends and family.
Every bite of this watermelon salad is refreshing and packed with sweet and salty flavors. Watermelon season is my absolute favorite! I love the sweet, cool, refreshing taste of this summertime fruit so much that I add it to sangria in my Watermelon Sangria recipe and I even put it on the grill. When it comes to watermelon I do not mess around.
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 spent hours with my father at the local market called the Souq where he would teach me how to pick watermelon so it was sweet and ripe everytime. These are skills I still use to this day.
I still love nothing more than the combination of salty feta over sweet, cool watermelon. And this watermelon salad with feta, cucumbers 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.
Watermelon Salad Recipe Ingredients
This summer salad is the perfect combination of flavors. Like my Strawberry Spinach Salad, it shows how delicious fruit can be in a savory salad. Juicy cubed watermelon pairs beautifully with cool cucumbers, fresh herbs, and, of course feta cheese. 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. I have a step by step tutorial on how to cut a watermelon if this is new to you, but you can also slice it in half and use a melon baller, if you're feeling fancy!
- English cucumber or hot house cucumber: English cucumbers are sweeter and their skin is thin 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).
Watermelon Feta Salad Dressing
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 herb flavor really enhances and balances the other ingredients.
- Lime juice: 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.
How to Make Watermelon Salad
Summer picnic salads like thes are easy to make, add color to your table, and are so refreshing to eat on hot summer days. You can make the salad dressing ahead of time and wait to dress the salad just before serving. It should keep in your fridge for up to 3 days.
- 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 feta cheese and sprinkle it all over the salad.
Make this Watermelon Salad Your Own
I keep this salad pretty simple—watermelon, feta, cucumber and mint, but consider this a watermelon salad foundation! In addition to the ingredients already in the salad the following extras will take this salad to the next level. Play around! It's important to have fun with your food!
- Shallots or red onions: Thinly sliced shallots will add a little punch and an extra pop of color.
- Avocado: Dice up a creamy avocado to add a little indulgence and healthy fat to this salad.
- Hot peppers: You can slice up some jalapeño rings for added crunch and heat.
- Red pepper flakes such as Aleppo pepper: I love Aleppo 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, which is why we offer it in our shop. If you try it don't stop with fruit. I love Aleppo pepper on a simple Cherry Tomato Salad or sprinkled over the top of Creamy Whipped Feta Dip. I could go on and on about my love for this spice, but I will stop here!
What to Serve with Watermelon Salad
Watermelon salad means backyard get togethers with friends and family! The sun is shining, the grill is going, and pitcher drinks of freshly made Strawberry Lemonade or White Sangria are flowing. Once the sun begins to shine my Mediterranean heart lightens up and I'm reminded of growing up in Port Said.
When it comes to pairing this quintessential summer salad with main meals I have you covered! Because watermelon salad is so cool and refreshing it's a nice way to balance anything spicy. I like to serve it with Grilled Chicken Legs with Garlic Harissa or keep it simple with Grilled Pork Souvlaki, or Chicken Kebabs.
Summer Salads Worth Savoring
Watermelon Salad Recipe with Feta and Cucumber
For the Honey-Lime Dressing
For the Watermelon Salad
- ½ watermelon peeled, cut into cubes
- 1 English or Hot House cucumber, cubed (about 2 cupfuls of cubed cucumbers)
- 15 fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese, more to your liking
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lime juice, olive oil and pinch of salt. Set aside for a moment.
- Make the Salad: In a large bowl or serving platter with sides, combine the watermelon, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.
- Finish and Serve: Top the watermelon salad with the dressing and gently toss to combine. Top with the feta cheese and serve!
- Variations: you can add shallots or red onions, avocado cubes, or hot peppers. You can also season the salad with a dash of Aleppo-style pepper flakes which adds a little bit of heat with sweet undertones.
- Tips for Leftovers: Because this is a super watery salad, with watermelon and cucumber being the star ingredients, it is best to finish it on the same day you prepare it. However, if you have some leftovers, you can store in a tight-lid glass container for a night or two (test before serving.)
- Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices!
*This post has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit.