This simple and delicious watermelon basil salad features feta cheese, crunchy cucumbers, fresh herbs, and a hint of lime juice. These unexpected, but delicious flavors, pair with any summer meal.
I love to liven up my summer side dishes with this delicious watermelon salad recipe. There's something magical about the perfect balance of juicy ripe watermelon, aromatic basil, and salty feta cheese on a hot day.
It's a great way to add excitement to your meal, especially in the summer months (think summer bbq!).
Watermelon Basil Salad: Why it Works
- Unexpected: The sweetness of the watermelon with fresh basil and salty feta cheese just works. Add crunchy cucumber for extra texture.
- Quick and easy: Minimal prep time and simple ingredients mean this watermelon feta salad is perfect for busy weekdays or impromptu gatherings.
- Perfect for summer: This refreshing salad is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. The watermelon is really hydrating on hot summer days.
- Easy to customize: Add red onion, goat cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or glaze.
How to Make Watermelon Basil Salad
Here are the step-by-step photos for this easy watermelon feta basil salad. It's a really easy recipe, but these instructions will make sure it turns out every time. Jump down to the recipe card for the full printable recipe with exact measurements.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, sliced basil leaves, sliced mint, cucumber, and feta cheese. Whisk the dressing ingredients together quickly and drizzle on top. Toss to combine.
Serve and enjoy: Transfer the salad to a serving dish or individual plates. This watermelon basil feta salad is best enjoyed immediately to savor the full freshness of the ingredients.
Do you have leftover basil? Learn how to freeze basil to use it year-round.
- Citrus Burst: Add some segmented orange or grapefruit to the salad to introduce a delightful citrusy note.
- Arugula Addition: For a peppery bite, toss in some arugula leaves along with the basil, like this summer orzo salad.
- Red Onion Zing: Thinly sliced red onions can bring a subtle sharpness and color contrast to the salad.
- Crunch: If you want more crunch to the salad, toss in some toasted pine nuts or chopped pistachios, like in this summer quinoa salad
- Dressing: swap the dressing for a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
- Omit the cucumber: Not a fan of cukes? Leave them off and it's still the perfect summer salad.
What to Serve with Watermelon Basil Salad
This easy salad is the perfect side dish alongside grilled chicken. Make a quick chicken marinade and follow our tips to grill chicken breast or grill chicken thighs. You can also enjoy it with the perfect grilled burger.
Cutting a watermelon for this salad is a straightforward process. Start by halving the watermelon and then slice each half into wedges. Carefully cut it into sticks and cubes. Square off the edges of each stick for perfect cubes and save the discarded pieces as a snack. I like to cut my feta into a similar size rather than crumble it, but both work.
The combination of sweet watermelon and salty cheese might sound unusual, but it's a perfect match. The sweet and juicy watermelon pairs wonderfully with the creamy, salty notes of cheese, such as feta.
While this salad is best enjoyed fresh, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one day. However, keep in mind that watermelon tends to release water after being cut, so the salad might become a bit watery when stored.
Watermelon Feta Basil Salad
- 8 cups (½ medium) fresh watermelon cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 ounces feta cheese cubed (crumbled works too)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil julienned, plus more to garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint julienned
- 1 English cucumber halved lengthwise and cut into half moons (Note 1)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice (about ½ a lime)
- 1 Tablespoon champagne vinegar (Note 2)
- 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of fresh cracked black pepper
- Large bowl
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Cut the watermelon into cubes and remove any seeds if needed. i love this recipe with cold watermelon, so if you have time, cube it in advance and store in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Remove added juices before adding it to the salad.
- When you’re ready to serve, add the cubed watermelon to a large bowl with the feta cheese, basil, mint, and cucumbers.
- Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle on top and toss to coat. Serve immediately with more fresh basil and fresh cracked black pepper. To make it in advance, store the watermelon separately and add it to the salad just before serving because it releases a lot of juices after it’s cut.