This watermelon basil salad is a light and refreshing salad for your summer meal! It has delicious fresh flavor and texture. This quick and easy summer side dish salad only takes 20 minutes to prepare. Eat this watermelon salad with feta for lunch, at a picnic, BBQ, or potluck, or as a refreshing salad on a hot day.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This watermelon basil salad is a light and refreshing summer salad recipe.
- It uses fresh herbs like basil or mint that give bold flavors.
- The quick and easy recipe only takes 20 minutes to make.
- Perfect texture, flavor, sweetness, and freshness.
- Hydrating and refreshing recipe for hot summer days!
- A unique summer salad with fruit.
- Naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and can be made vegan.
- Great side dish for BBQs, summer picnics, or potlucks.
- Try some of our other unique summer salads like goat cheese and strawberry salad, gluten-free pasta salad with veggies, or this orzo and spinach salad.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this recipe. Reference the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements and the notes below for substitution ideas.
Watermelon is a great fruit to eat during the hot summer months. It has a high water content making it great for hydration on a hot day.
Select a fresh seedless watermelon. Look for a ripe watermelon.
Fresh basil or mint provides a fresh and herbed flavor that balances the sweetness of the watermelon.
Feta cheese adds creaminess, salt, and a rich flavor to offset the sweetness of the watermelon. Substitute feta for goat cheese, burrata, or halloumi, or make watermelon feta salad without goat cheese for a vegan version.
English cucumbers add freshness and texture without seeds.
Lime zest and lime juice along with champagne vinegar add acidity which helps to balance the sweetness of the salad.
Salt provides subtle flavor to complement the fresh salad components.
Variations & Substitutions
Add in chopped red onions for a bolder flavor or some chopped jalapeños for a spicy version.
Stir in some chopped avocado for some healthy fats.
Make a full entree salad by adding in some arugula or spinach along with some toasted almonds.
A drizzle of balsamic glaze can add depth and tanginess to the salad.
Berries like blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries add an additional layer of sweetness and summer fresh flavors.
Taste and Texture
Watermelon basil salad tastes fresh, sweet, citrusy, and balanced. It is a great recipe to make on a hot summer day.
This watermelon salad with basil has a variety of textures. The watermelon has a juicy and crisp texture which complements the crispy cucumbers, soft feta, and herbed basil or mint.
How to Make This Recipe
This is a step-by-step walkthrough of how to cook this recipe. The recipe card at the bottom shows the exact cooking time and temperatures.
Cut the watermelon into 1-inch cubes. Add cubes to a large bowl.
Add the cucumbers, feta, and basil or mint to the bowl.
In a small bowl, add the olive oil, pepper, lime zest, lime juice, and champagne vinegar. Whisk the dressing together until incorporated.
Drizzle the lime vinaigrette over the watermelon salad with basil and gently stir to incorporate. Season with salt to taste.
- Select a fresh and ripe watermelon for the best sweetness and flavor. Whole watermelon is recommended over pre-cut.
- Using fresh basil, mint, or even cilantro is recommended rather than using dried herbs. Fresh herbs have a more vibrant flavor and aroma.
- Served chilled to enhance the salad's refreshing qualities. Use chilled watermelon before assembling the salad.
- If possible, refrigerate the salad for 30 minutes before serving to keep it cool.
How to Serve and Store Watermelon Basil Salad
Serve as a fresh and healthy summer salad at summer picnics, parties, BBQs, or potlucks.
Watermelon has a high water content, and it can release its juices when mixed with other ingredients. To prevent the salad from becoming too watery, it's best to prepare and serve the salad immediately before consumption.
The watermelon will lose its juice to the bottom of the bowl the longer it is stored. If making ahead, use a slotted spoon to transfer the salad to a serving bowl.
Make ahead no more than one day in advance for optimal flavor and texture and keep the ingredients separate until right before serving. Watermelon basil salad is best served the day it is made.
If serving outdoors or in a warm environment, place the bowl of basil watermelon salad on a container of ice to keep it chilled.
Serve on skewers for a fun presentation!
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Wash the outside of the watermelon rind thoroughly. Place the watermelon on a clean cutting board.
Using a sharp knife, slice off both ends of the watermelon. Stand the watermelon upright on one of the flat ends. Carefully cut the watermelon in half horizontally.
Take one half and place it cut-side down on the cutting board. Cut the watermelon lengthwise into 1-inch slices. Rotate the watermelon and cut crosswise to create 1-inch square pieces. Do the same with the other watermelon half.
Watermelon and cheese create a delightful balance of flavors when paired. They have contrasting characteristics of sweetness and savory flavors that can complement each other well.
Other Fresh Summer Salad Recipes
Light and Refreshing Watermelon Basil Salad
- Cut the chilled watermelon into 1-inch cubes. Add to a large bowl.1 large watermelon
- Add the cucumber, basil, and feta to the bowl.1 standard English cucumber, ¼ cup basil or mint, ½ cup feta cheese
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, champagne vinegar, and pepper. Drizzle over the watermelon basil salad and very gently use salad utensils or salad tongs to incorporate.1 standard lime, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Season with salt to taste and serve.salt