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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 sweet and tangy honey-lime vinaigrette dressing.
One of my favorite fruit is watermelon. Juicy and sweet it is a blessing from 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 Mediterranean watermelon salad recipe.
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 too early.
Here's what you need to make this easy salad:
- English cucumber
- feta cheese
- pine nuts
- black beans (optional)
- dressing: lime, honey, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
Step 1. Add the dressing ingredients, to a glass bowl. Start by Whisking #ad vinegar into olive oil. When well combined, the liquid will form a golden mixture. Next, whisk in lime juice. Heat honey for a few seconds in the microwave and add to the mix. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients together until all are combined. Set aside.
Step 2. 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.
Step 3. Chop the watermelon into one to one and a half-inch pieces. Peel the English cucumber. I like to peel it so that there is some green left on the cucumber and then chop it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and then quarter. Thinly slice the onion. Crumble feta cheese, if needed. Rinse and drain beans, if using.
Step 4. Add watermelon, cucumber, onion, pine nuts, 1/2 the feta, and beans to a large bowl.
Step 5. Drizzle dressing over watermelon mixture. Lightly toss to coat.
Step 6. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Sprinkle with remaining feta prior to serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.
Tips and Substitutions
- This watermelon cucumber salad tastes best cold after the flavors have had an hour to marinate. This recipe is best prepared and served on the same day.
- The honey-lime vinaigrette will cause the juices to expand. So if you are taking this to a BBQ, remember a slotted spoon. I use one like this one #ad.
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several criteria to look for to find 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.
1. 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.
2. The stem of the watermelon should be brown and dried out. If the stem is green then it may mean that the watermelon was picked too early before it was ripe.
3. 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.
4. Lift the watermelon. It should feel heavy, the heavier the better for ripeness.
Toasting nuts helps bring out their nutty, rich flavor. A few extra minutes added for this step helps add depth and dimension to your finished recipe.
You can toast pine nuts on the stovetop in a dry frying pan over medium low heat 5- 7 minutes. Stir nuts every few minutes to prevent over browning.
An alternative method is to spread the nutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 5-6 minutes at 375F. Watch them closely to ensure they don't overbrown.
What to Serve with Watermelon Salad
This quick watermelon cucumber salad is a perfect side dish for burgers, chicken, or steak. For more options, check out my Salad Recipes.
You might like it with one of the following recipes:
Baked Chicken with Sweet & Smokey Spice Rub - a mixture of spices, a little brown sugar, lime juice, and olive is all you need for this moist and juicy simple chicken dish.
Other Tangy Salad Recipes for You
April 2022 Update: Added Instruction and Other Recipes for You sections to post.