The best summer side dish is here! Watermelon Salad with feta cheese and cucumbers gets a boost of flavor from fresh herbs and lime. Cool and refreshing on a hot day!
I’ve written before about how much watermelon my family eats in the summertime. It’s our favorite summer time snack, not just for picnics and barbecues but day in and day out!
Nothing hits the spot on a hot day quite like a cold juicy slice of watermelon.
Last week, I resisted the temptation to do what I usually do and eat all the watermelon before I can turn it into a recipe. I was in the mood to do something a little different with it and try the pink fruit in salad form.
Watermelon is a common addition to fruit salads, but I have to say I like it even more in this side dish that’s part sweet, part tangy, part savory and packed with fresh flavor.
Watermelon Feta Salad
This salad starts with freshly cut watermelon and cucumber. Add in a few handfuls of fresh basil, mint and a squeeze of lime juice and you have a tasty side dish.
The final ingredient though? That’s what brings everything together into something spectacular.
Bites of feta cheese tossed with the fruit, vegetables and herbs create a Watermelon Feta Salad that’s impressive enough to serve at a dinner party but easy enough for a weekday meal. Win-win!
Tips for choosing a good watermelon
Since we buy at least one watermelon a week during the summer months, I’ve become familiar with how to sort the juicy flavorful melons from the watery bland ones. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a dozen pounds of bland fruit.
WEIGHT. A watermelon with lots of juice will feel heavy compared to its size.
FIELD SPOT. This is the area of the watermelon that was touching the ground as it grew.
A ripe watermelon will have a yellow field spot on one side. The darker it is the longer it was left on the vine and, chances are, the sweeter it’ll taste.
If the spot is white, run! Okay, I’m exaggerating. Just put it back down and don’t buy it! A white spot indicates that the watermelon was picked before its time.
The riper and sweeter your watermelon, the better this Watermelon Feta Salad tastes!
What cucumbers to use
Along with the watermelon and feta, the cucumber is one of the most important parts of the salad. These days there are so many cucumber varieties to choose from at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
English Cucumbers are my preference for using in Watermelon Salad. They’re free of the waxy coating that you find on many other grocery store varieties. No need to peel them!
Of course, just like with Watermelon freshest is best! Choose one that feels firm with no soft spots or bruises.
How long does Watermelon Salad keep?
Any leftover salad should be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge. It’ll keep well this way for 3 or 4 days.
I enjoy how the dressing and the herbs have a chance to marinate and mingle when kept in the fridge for a day or so. You will, however, lose some of the crunchiness of the cucumber and watermelon if it sits longer than 2 days.
In my Watermelon Salad, I used a very simple dressing made from just lime juice and olive oil. I found the watermelon was plenty sweet on its own and I loved how the citrus in the lime helped balance everything out.
Want a sweeter dressing? Make a variation on this by adding 1 – 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar to the lime and olive oil.
Can you use lemon? I haven’t tried making this with lemon instead of lime juice but I’m sure substituting an equal amount of lemon juice for the lime in this recipe would taste good! I happen to just adore the lime + mint combination.
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I’m starting to think feta cheese and watermelon were made for each other. A crunchy bite of watermelon followed by soft and savory Feta is the taste of perfection.
You can add the feta to the salad in cubes (diced) or crumble it up. Both ways are delicious!
This salad recipe calls for 3 ounces of feta. That’s about the same as a pair of standard size dice. Once you make the Watermelon Feta Salad once you can feel free to adjust the amount of cheese in the salad based on your liking.
More Potluck Recipes
Serve Watermelon Feta Salad as a side dish for all your summer dinners or enjoy it on its own as a light refreshing lunch. Don’t forget to pour yourself a big glass of lemonade too!