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This easy watermelon salad recipe is a perfect side dish for a weekend dinner or a BBQ. Juicy watermelon, crisp English cucumbers, sweet red onion, salty feta cheese, and smokey pine nuts. All these mouth-watering flavors are coated in a honey-lime vinaigrette dressing.
One of my favorite fruit is watermelon. Juicy and sweet it is a blessing from of Summer. My local farmers market is just starting to get in watermelon from the southern states like Texas and Arkansas. I was so happy to see them that I decided to pick one for my favorite watermelon salad recipe.
How to Pick a Sweet Watermelon
There are are several to look for to pick a ripe watermelon that is sweet and delicious. Watermelon will typically be the sweetest during the summer months of June-August. You can still find a sweet watermelon in May but you have to use super-sleuthing to pick just the right one.
- Look for a watermelon that has a light creamy roughly round area on one side of the watermelon. This is the spot where the watermelon sat on the ground while it matured. Look for one that is creamy yellow.
- Look at the stem of the watermelon. The stem should be brown and dried out. If the stem is green it means that the watermelon was picked too early before it was ripe.
- Thump the watermelon with your finger like you are shooting a marble. You can also knock on the watermelon. The melon should sound hollow. Check several so you can tell the difference.
- Lift the watermelon. It should feel heavy, the heavier the better for ripeness.
Once you have your perfect watermelon, dress it up with this recipe for Sweet and tangy Watermelon Salad. This dish is a versatile salad that with its dressing will help boost the flavor of a perfect sweet melon or one that was picked a little early.
Watermelon Salad Ingredients
Here's what you need to make this easy salad:
black beans (optional)
dressing: lime, honey, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
How to Prepare Watermelon Salad
This is a quick and easy salad.
First, start by mixing the dressing ingredients. Whisk ingredients together until all are combined.
Lightly toast pine nuts. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts and cook and stir frequently for about 5 minutes or until you see them start to lightly brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Next, chop your watermelon into one to one and ahalf in pieces. Peel the cucumer. An English cucumber has a thin, soft skin. I like to peel it so that there is some green left on the cucumber and then chop into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and then quarter.
Thinnly slice the onion.
Crumble feta cheese if needed. Drain beans if using.
Add watermelon, cucumber, onion, pine nuts, 1/2 the feta, and beans to a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over watermelon mixture. Lightly toss to coat. Cover and refrigerater for at least one hour. Sprinkle with remaining feta prior to serving.
Once you have your watermelon there are a few things to consider.
- This salad tastes best cold after the flavors have had an hour or more to marinate.
- The honey-lime vinaigrette will cause the juices to expand. So if you are taking this to a BBQ, remember a slotted spoon.
- This salad is forgiving. You can include other vegetables, nuts, or seeds as you have available. So don't panic if you don't have every ingredient.
- I use an English or European cucumber 1 in my salads. They are almost seedless, have tender skin, and a milder flavor.
- You can use balsamic vinegar in place of the honey-lime white wine vinegar mixture if you don't happen to have limes.
- I add black beans to the salad when trying to make sure I am eating legumes. For our table, a whole can of black beans is too much, but a 1/2 can is perfect. Once the beans are rinsed and drained, you can freeze them for up to 3 months for use in another recipe.
If you are looking for recipes for the Mediterranean Diet. This tasty watermelon salad works well. To learn more about this heart-healthy lifestyle, read my post, Mediterranean Diet Basics.
What to Serve with Tangy-Sweet Watermelon Salad
This quick Summer salad is a perfect side dish for burgers, chicken, or steak.