An easy recipe for a refreshing watermelon feta salad. The combination of the sweet, crisp watermelon and the rich, salty feta is wonderful!
As a kid in Israel, “watermelon and feta” was a dish that I loved to have in the hot summers. We didn’t actually make a salad. We sliced a sweet, fresh watermelon into thick, juicy slices, and served it with sliced or cubed feta.
Now that I’m an adult living in California, nothing says “summer” quite like watermelon feta salad. It’s such a wonderfully fresh-tasting and flavorful dish!
Watermelon and feta? Sounds like a weird combination
I realize that the concept of combining a very sweet fruit with very salty cheese and with olive oil sounds weird.
But if you usually like sweet-salty combinations, I think you are going to love this summer salad.
Think about it: we do use sweet and salty often in our food. There are plenty of examples!
Such as pineapple pizza, chicken salad with grapes, a cheese platter with dried fruit and honey, prosciutto and melon… I’m sure there are more.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need five simple ingredients to make this tasty salad (the exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below):
Fresh watermelon cubes: I gave up a long time ago on buying a whole watermelon. I now buy it already halved. This way, I can ensure this nutritious fruit is red and crisp, not pink and mealy.
Crumbled feta cheese: You can buy it pre-crumbled, or buy a block and crumble it (or cube it) yourself.
Fresh mint leaves: Basil works too. It’s a different flavor profile, but it’s also very good.
Olive oil: Extra-virgin or light and fruity, it’s up to you.
Balsamic vinegar: I normally use vinegar that was aged for 10 years. But I used younger vinegar too – aged for 5 years – and it was still very good.
How to make watermelon feta salad
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Place the watermelon cubes in a bowl and gently toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle with the crumbled feta and the mint (or basil) leaves.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate before serving.
Use fresh, crisp watermelon
It’s really important to use very fresh, very crisp watermelon in this salad. I don’t even try to pick a perfect whole watermelon. I take advantage of the watermelon halves available at the store, and I always make the salad the same day.
But if you know how to spot a perfect watermelon, that’s obviously best in terms of freshness.
Use extra virgin or light olive oil
I like to use a light, fruity olive oil in this watermelon feta salad. But extra virgin olive oil can work too. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
Mint or basil – both work in this recipe
I like to use fresh mint leaves in this recipe. I leave the small leaves whole, and I gently tear the bigger ones into smaller pieces.
Fresh basil is also good in this recipe. I find that basil works well with extra-virgin olive oil and mint goes nicely with a light and fruity olive oil.
Use full-fat feta cheese
I don’t recommend using a reduced-fat cheese in this recipe. The whole idea is to contrast the fatty and salty creaminess of the cheese with the sweet, cool crispness of the watermelon. reduced-fat cheese will not have the same effect.
Why I add the oil and balsamic first, then the cheese
When I mix the crumbled cheese into the salad, then add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the cheese loses it’s pretty white color and takes on a brownish tint from the balsamic vinegar.
That’s why I prefer to add the cheese and mint after I toss the watermelon with the oil and vinegar. It simply ensures the salad doesn’t just taste great but also looks pretty!
How to serve watermelon feta salad?
You can serve this fresh, delicious salad as a snack (as we do in Israel), as an appetizer, or as a side dish to any meal. I think it goes very well with chicken skewers.
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Watermelon Feta Salad
- 2 cups watermelon cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, the big ones torn into pieces
- Place the watermelon in a salad bowl.
- Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Gently mix to coat.
- Scatter the crumbled feta and the mint leaves on top.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate for one hour and serve cold.