This fresh and flavorful Watermelon Salad with feta, cucumbers, herbs, and a light lemon dressing gives the perfect pop of color to any meal. Make it with yellow watermelon (as shown here) for a unique presentation, or with your favorite red seedless variety. This simple dish is ideal for a light lunch, summer potlucks, and barbecues.
Watermelon Feta Salad
One of the things I love most about summer is all of the fresh produce. Between my own backyard garden, and the plentiful farmer markets in the area where I live, the summer months are a treasure trove of treats.
Watermelon Salad is one of my favorite ways to enjoy some of the best flavors summer has to offer. Served cold, with plenty of fresh herbs, this Mediterranean-inspired recipe is as delicious and refreshing as it is easy to prepare.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Small Seedless Watermelon. We love to use yellow watermelon for this salad, but you can use red watermelon as well. For an extra festive presentation, try using a mix of both colors!
- Persian Cucumbers. These small, thin-skinned cucumbers have a mild flavor, crisp texture, and hardly any seeds. We love using them in salads. See the FAQ section below for substitutions.
- Fresh herbs. Mint adds a sweet coolness to the salad, and basil adds a savory, peppery flavor.
- Crumbled Feta. For the best flavor and texture, I recommend buying a block of feta stored in brine and crumbling it yourself. Read more in our cheese guide, All About Feta and How to Use It.
- Fresh Lemon Juice, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Honey. To make the dressing.
What is Yellow Watermelon?
Yellow watermelon is a variety of watermelon that is identical to red watermelon on the outside but contains bright yellow flesh when opened up. While red watermelon contains lycopene (which is also what makes tomatoes red), yellow watermelon does not.
The taste of yellow watermelon is slightly sweeter than red varieties and has notes of apricot or honey. Nutritionally, yellow watermelon contains high levels of vitamin A (as beta carotene), vitamin C, and potassium.
You can find yellow watermelon seasonally in the produce aisle of most grocery stores, or at your local farmer’s market. While you’ll occasionally see red watermelon stocked out of season, yellow watermelon generally is not.
Have extra watermelon in the fridge? Try making my Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri for a refreshing sip. Cocktail and mocktail instructions included.
How to Make Watermelon and Feta Salad
1. Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, oil, honey, and a touch of salt in a small bowl. Season to taste with a few grinds of black pepper, if desired.
2. Prep the fruit and herbs. Use a sharp knife to cut the watermelon into cubes. Start by slicing the watermelon crosswise into 1-inch rounds. Cut off the rind with straight cuts to make a square, and cut the fruit into 1-inch cubes. Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds, and finely chop the herbs.
3. Toss the watermelon with the dressing in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and herbs and gently toss the salad again to combine.
4. Serve. Top the salad with crumbled Feta and dig in!
Serving Watermelon and Feta Salad
This salad is best served cold. Chilling your watermelon for 30-minutes before assembly can help the salad stay cooler longer. Store the salad the fridge if you don’t plan to eat it immediately.
Since watermelon has a high moisture content, the salad should be consumed as soon as possible after preparation. If stored for more than a day, the cucumber will become soggy and the quality will not be great.
If you do store leftovers, refrigerate them in an airtight container and give the salad a stir before serving.
Top Tips for Making This Salad
1. Wash the outside of the watermelon before slicing to prevent bacteria from getting into the salad.
2. This is a recipe intended to be enjoyed during the summer. Out of season watermelon tends to be less flavorful. Since the watermelon is the star of this show, you want it to be a good one!
3. Look for very fresh herbs to help the flavors in this salad pop. This recipe is a great way to utilize the plentiful herbs growing in your outdoor or windowsill garden.
4. Love lemon? Add some fresh lemon zest to the salad to give it an even more summery vibe.
Q. I can’t find Persian cucumbers at the market. What other cucumber varieties can I substitute?
A. In place of Persian cucumbers, you can use half of a large English cucumber. Slice the English cucumber lengthwise and then cut it into half moons. If using regular cucumber, peel it, halve it lengthwise, and then remove the seeds using a spoon before slicing. This will help prevent the salad from getting too watery.
Heading to the farmer’s market? Check out A Brief Guide to Types of Cucumbers from The Spruce Eats.
Q. How do I pick out a ripe watermelon?
A. The field spot on a watermelon is a good indicator of ripeness. The field spot is a small patch on the watermelon that is created when the watermelon is growing on the ground. This spot will be yellow if the watermelon is ripe and white if it is unripe. Additionally, a watermelon that feels heavy for its size can indicate a juicy melon.
Q. Does this Watermelon Salad fit gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan diets?
A. This recipe is gluten-free as written and would not need any adjustments in order to make it appropriate for a gluten-free diet. The salad is vegetarian, but not vegan as it contains cheese and honey. To make this recipe vegan-friendly simply swap agave or sugar for the honey and use a dairy-free feta.
More of Our Favorite Summer Salad Recipes
- Orzo Salad with Feta
- Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad
- Josephine’s Tomato Salad
- Salmon and Couscous Salad with Tomato Confit Vinaigrette
Watermelon Salad with Feta
- 1 seedless mini yellow or red watermelon (about 6 cups, cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 4 Persian cucumbers (about 2 rounded cups, sliced)
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves , finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves , finely chopped
- ½ cup crumbled Feta (about 2.5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly-ground black pepper , optional
- Dice the watermelon by slicing it into 1-inch rounds. Use four cuts to turn the round into a square, removing the rind. Cut the square into about 1-inch cubes. Add cubed watermelon to a large mixing bowl and discard the rind. Repeat until all the water melon is cubed.
- In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, salt, olive oil, and honey. Pour the dressing over the watermelon and toss.
- Cut the cucumbers into thin rounds, discarding the ends. Add to the bowl with the watermelon.
- Finely chop the mint and basil and add to the bowl. Toss the salad gently.
- Top the salad with crumbled Feta. Season the salad to taste with salt (if needed) and freshly-cracked black pepper (if desired).
- Serve immediately. Enjoy the salad within 1 day of making for best quality.