This watermelon basil salad pairs juicy sweet watermelon with fresh basil in a spectacular summer side salad recipe. While watermelon isn't your traditional salad topping, it pairs beautifully with all the fresh flavors and crisp textures in this dish. Finished with freshly torn basil, crumbled feta, and balsamic glaze, you should make this easy, flavorful watermelon feta basil salad recipe today!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- If you like fruit on your salads, you'll like this. Most fruity salads use fruits like dried cranberries, berries, apples, and mandarin orange segments -- so the watermelon on this salad is a little unusual and may be unexpected, but it's very delicious!
- To me, a good salad has lots of interesting flavors and textures, and this salad is no exception. It's got peppery arugula, creamy feta, aromatic fresh basil, sweet and juicy watermelon, crisp cucumber, crunchy sugar snap peas, and is finished with a tangy sweet balsamic glaze - yum! (Check out my article for more delicious salad topping ideas!)
- This salad is light and refreshing, making it the perfect summer side dish for dishes like grilled barbecue chicken and zucchini skewers, pesto crusted salmon, zucchini corn chowder, and even an air fryer tortilla pizza for those super easy meals.
Watermelon Basil Salad Ingredients
- Arugula - creates a nice fresh base with a peppery taste. If you don't like it, try another light-textured leafy green, like baby spinach or butter leaf lettuce.
- Extra virgin olive oil - you need just a little to toss with your greens.
- Watermelon - fresh, sweet, juicy...it's the star of this salad! If you need help picking a good watermelon, choose a watermelon that is darker green, more matte than shiny, feels heavy, and has a dark yellow spot on the bottom.
- Cucumber - another summer produce favorite, I like to use seedless cucumbers, small Persian cucumbers, or whatever cucumbers I picked from my garden that day!
- Cherry tomatoes - If you can't find cherry tomatoes, try using grape tomatoes or chopped roma or beefsteak (just try scraping out the excess juicy/ seedy insides).
- Sugar snap peas - one of my favorite salad toppings! Slice them into tiny little slivers, no more than a quarter-inch thick, for a fresh, crunchy salad topping.
- Fresh basil - Basil is the other star of this show, so it needs to be fresh! Check the produce section, or even grab a basil plant and stick it in the ground or in a pot by a window/ on your balcony.
- Feta cheese - A little crumble of feta cheese goes a long way, but packs in more flavor and creaminess. Feta not your favorite? Try goat cheese or bleu cheese.
- Balsamic glaze - You can make a balsamic reduction, or you can do what I did and buy a bottle of balsamic glaze. This thick, syrupy condiment is sweet and tangy and can be found in most grocery stores or on Amazon (I just bought this white balsamic glaze to try, too!).
Top Tips When Making This Recipe:
- I chopped my watermelon into small triangles, but you can slice into squares or even use a melon baller if that's easier (it may make it safer and more fun for kids to help that way, too).
- Don't skip tossing the arugula with olive oil and salt and pepper. A little goes a long way, but this helps elevate the taste and texture of the arugula and the salad as a whole.
- With ingredients this fresh, crisp, and juicy, this salad is truly best made right before serving. If you need to prep a little in advance, you can cut up your watermelon beforehand and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. You also can pre-chop your other veggies, too. Save the basil tearing until the last minute though, it'll lose flavor if you cut it or tear it a while before using.
- Taking this salad to a Fourth of July barbecue and want to be a little extra? Slice your watermelon into large rounds, then use a star cookie cutter to make watermelon stars. Feel free to toss on a handful of blueberries for a little extra patriotic flare if you're feeling it!
Watermelon Feta Basil Salad Nutrition:
This salad makes approximately four side salads and each salad contains 81 calories, 3 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, and 1 gram fiber. Each serving is also a good source (meaning it contains more than 10% of the recommended daily value) of calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Eat in a Way That Feels Good to You
Note that as a registered dietitian, I always want to encourage you to eat in a balanced way that feels good to you. This recipe is a great way to add some fruit and vegetable volume and vitamins and minerals to your meal, but isn't a meal itself - so try adding some protein, more healthy fats, and some healthy carbohydrates to round out your meal.
And also note - take serving sizes with a grain of salt! We all have different appetites, so eat to honor yours. For example, you may get more than four servings from this recipe if you have a smaller appetite, or you may only get a couple servings if you have a larger appetite. Both are okay!
More Delicious Salad Recipes:
- Peach Burrata Salad
- Asian-Inspired Carrot and Cucumber Salad
- Balsamic Thyme Tomato Salad
- Broccoli, Kale, and Quinoa Salad
- Greek Lentil Salad
- Cranberry Apple Harvest Salad
Watermelon Basil Salad
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1.5 cups watermelon, chopped
- ½ cup cucumber, sliced
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup basil leaves, torn
- 1 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- Place arugula in your salad bowl or platter and lightly toss with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Top arugula with the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and watermelon.
- Garnish with freshly torn basil and crumbled feta cheese.
- Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the salad and serve.
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