Watermelon Feta Salad with Cucumber

5 from 4 votes
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This watermelon feta salad is the perfect summer salad. It’s fun, fruity, and refreshing! More so, this watermelon cucumber salad with feta and mint is gluten-free, oil-free, and can even be made dairy-free!

Watermelon salad in a large bowl

A couple of years ago, I shared my love for watermelon with this watermelon salsa that combined fresh watermelon with jalapeno and mint. This time I’m taking things up a few notches with the addition of shallots, feta, and olives for a sweet, savory, salty, and slightly spicy watermelon feta salad. The resulting salad is the perfect addition to any BBQ, potluck, and picnic table!

I’ve already shared several fruity salad recipes, including a pineapple cucumber salad, Thai green papaya salad, spinach strawberry salad, spinach blackberry salad, and tropical mango salad. However, whenever watermelon enters the picture, you know it’s going to be super refreshing, hydrating, and a must-have summer dish!

A serving of watermelon salad

The combination of ingredients perfectly combines juicy, sweet, savory, tangy, spicy, crunchy, and fresh for a fantastic summer watermelon and feta salad. However, there are also several ways you can adapt the recipe (as listed below) for tons of versatility! Plus, not only does this watermelon cucumber salad look and taste great, but it’s also absolutely packed with nutrients for a truly healthy summer side!

Serve this watermelon cucumber feta salad up to the family or for a larger group alongside other summery appetizers and salads – like this cucumber tomato salad, bruschetta (without or with mozzarella), and vegetable fritters, etc. Don’t forget to include refreshing summer drinks to your spread, too, like this watermelon juice keg, pineapple lemonade, virgin bloody marys, or strawberry mocktails! And for dessert, you could even make some fresh watermelon jello slices and fresh watermelon granita (shaved ice).

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The Ingredients

Ingredients for watermelon salad
  • Watermelon: use fresh watermelon (read the top tips here to learn how to pick the best watermelon). You can use a seedless variety, though it’s fine to eat the seeds.
  • Arugula (Rocket): I love the peppery flavor of fresh arugula. You can alternatively use other baby greens or omit them entirely.
  • Cucumber: I like to try to use smaller low seed/seedless varieties. However, most cucumbers will work fine (leave the peel on unless it’s a garden cucumber with thick skin).
  • Olives: the salty flavor of kalamata olives pairs wonderfully with feta and watermelon. You could substitute the olives with capers if preferred.
  • Feta: use a block of feta (rather than pre-crumbled/cubed) for this salad for the best results. For a vegan watermelon salad, use dairy-free feta-style cheese. You could also substitute the salty feta for a milder option like mozzarella (or vegan mozzarella) or a robust option like goat cheese or grilled halloumi.
  • Dressing: I use a simple dressing for this salad with fresh lime juice (and optionally some zest) and black pepper (no salt is needed thanks to the feta/olives).
  • Mint: I love the combination of this watermelon mint salad. However, you could also use basil for a simple watermelon feta basil salad or even cilantro. You could even use a combination of basil AND mint.
  • Shallot: alternatively, you could use a finely chopped red onion, though shallots are milder in flavor.

Optional Add-ins and Variations

  • Avocado: the creamy texture and healthy fats in avocado make it a good potential add-in for this simple pineapple salad.
  • Vinaigrette: I didn’t add any olive oil to the simple lime dressing for this salad, as the olives already contain oil. However, if you want more of a vinaigrette, you could combine extra virgin olive oil with lime juice or red wine vinegar/champagne vinegar. Alternatively, you could use a balsamic vinegar/glaze (for a bit of sweetness) as a dressing.
  • Yogurt sauce: in place of a vinaigrette, you could use a simple yogurt sauce for a creamy element to this watermelon feta salad. Use Greek yogurt or dairy-free option like coconut yogurt.
  • Nuts/Seeds: for added crunch, you can sprinkle over crushed walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, or even seeds like omega sprinkle, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
  • Other fruit/vegetables: you can experiment with several other add-ins, including celery, figs, grapes, apples, pomegranate seeds (a favorite of mine), strawberries, blueberries, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. I’ve also previously made this as a watermelon radish salad, with lots of slices of radish.
  • Mustard: if you’ve seen the trend on TikTok, you might have realized that mustard pairs surprisingly well with watermelon and this watermelon mint salad. This honey mustard dressing could also work.
  • Bread: you could add in homemade croutons or use larger pieces like in this Panzanella salad.

How to Make Watermelon Feta Salad

Step 1: Chop the watermelon

First, chop the watermelon into small bite-sized pieces. There are several ways you can do this. For example, I like to slice the watermelon in half, then place it slice-side down on my cutting surface.

Next, use a sharp knife to cut slices around 1 inch, vertically and horizontally to create a grid (see images). You can then slice each long piece into cubes.

Steps for cutting watermelon

Step 2: Prepare the remaining ingredients

Cut the cucumber and onion. I sliced coins from the cucumber but feel free to chop half or quarter-moons. I then cut fine slices of the shallot/red onion.

You can optionally halve, quarter, or slice the olives – but I left them whole.

At the same time, lightly rinse and pat dry the arugula (if needed).

Steps for preparing watermelon salad

Step 3: Assemble the salad

Add the arugula and chopped ingredients to a large serving bowl. Crumble in the feta cheese, and then add the lime juice and pepper.

Then use salad tongs (or just a large spoon) to carefully toss the salad until it’s thoroughly combined. I recommend allowing 15 minutes for the flavors to meld (in the fridge) before serving. Enjoy!

Watermelon and feta salad in a bowl

How to Make Ahead and Store

Make ahead: you can chop the watermelon up to a day in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

Store: store any leftover watermelon feta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Watermelon quickly starts to release its juices and loses quality, so I recommend enjoying it as soon as possible.

Mixing watermelon salad

FAQs

Can you eat watermelon seeds?

Yes, while there were many myths about growing watermelon plants in your tummy after eating seeds and other funny stories, don’t worry, they aren’t true! In fact, watermelons seeds contain several vitamins and minerals.
The only reason why most avoid seeds is due to their texture. If you think that you’ll find it unpleasant to bite into a seed while eating this salad, then you can remove them or simply use a seedless melon.

Can I swap or omit the onion?

If you’re not a fan/are allergic to onions/shallots, feel free to omit it entirely. However, if you’d just like it to be more mellow in flavor, you can soak the sliced onion/shallot in an ice bath for 15 minutes before adding it to the salad, and that tames the harsh bite of its rawness.

How to serve watermelon and feta salad?

Just like this pineapple salad, this refreshing and fruity watermelon cucumber salad is a wonderful addition to BBQs, potlucks, and picnics. It pairs particularly well with grilled foods and tacos!

Watermelon salad in a small bowl

Recipe Notes

  • Enjoy it chilled: the best thing about watermelon on a hot summer’s day is when it’s chilled to perfection. The same thing goes for this watermelon feta salad. If you’re not planning on eating it immediately, then chill it until you’re ready. I always store my watermelon in the fridge too, so it’s cooled before chopping.
  • Marinate for best results: all you need is 15 minutes to allow this watermelon feta salad to marinade and allow the flavors to meld.
  • Omit the greens: if you’re not a fan of arugula, or want a stripped-back watermelon salad, feel free to omit the leafy green entirely. This salad will still taste amazing!
  • Use high-quality feta: it may not seem important, but high-quality feta can make a massive difference with this simple watermelon arugula salad. I recommend using a high-quality block of feta that’s either French feta (which is creamier) or Greek feta.

Other Healthy Salad Recipes

If you try this watermelon feta salad recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Watermelon Feta Salad with Cucumber

5 from 4 votes
By: Samira
This watermelon feta salad is the perfect summer salad. It’s fun, fruity, refreshing, and made with just 9 ingredients! More so, this watermelon cucumber salad with feta and mint is gluten-free, oil-free, and can even be made dairy-free for a delicious vegan treat.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
 

  • 5.5 lb watermelon or 3.3 lb/1.5 kg without the rind; seedless or with seeds
  • 4 oz arugula (rocket) or other baby leaf greens
  • 10 oz cucumber 3 small ones
  • 4 oz olives kalamata olives
  • 3 oz feta cheese or vegan feta; or goat cheese, mozzarella, or halloumi
  • 5.5 oz lime 2 small ones
  • 2.2 oz red onion or shallot; 1 small one
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 oz fresh mint leaves or basil or cilantro

Instructions 

Step 1: Chop the watermelon

  • Chop the watermelon into small bite-sized pieces. There are several ways you can do this. For example, I like to slice the watermelon in half, then place it slice-side down on my cutting surface. Use a sharp knife to cut slices around 1 inch, vertically and horizontally to create a grid (see images on the blog). You can then slice each long piece into cubes.

Step 2: Prepare the remaining ingredients

  • Cut the cucumber and onion. I sliced coins from the cucumber but feel free to chop half or quarter-moons. And I cut fine slices of the shallot/red onion.
    You can optionally halve, quarter, or slice the olives – but I left them whole.
  • Lightly rinse and pat dry the arugula (if needed).

Step 3: Assemble the salad

  • Add the arugula and chopped ingredients to a large serving bowl. Crumble in the feta cheese, and then add the lime juice and pepper.
  • Use salad tongs (or just a large spoon) to carefully toss the salad until it's thoroughly combined. I recommend allowing 15 minutes for the flavors to meld (in the fridge is best as this salad tastes best when chilled) and marinate before serving. Enjoy!

How to Make Ahead and Store

  • Make ahead: you can chop the watermelon up to a day in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
    Store: store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Watermelon quickly starts to release its juices and loses quality, so I recommend enjoying it as soon as possible for the best flavor.

Notes

  • Enjoy it chilled: the best thing about watermelon on a hot summer’s day is when it’s chilled to perfection. The same thing goes for this watermelon feta salad. If you’re not planning on eating it immediately, then chill it until you’re ready. I always store my watermelon in the fridge too, so it’s cooled before chopping.
  • Marinate for best results: all you need is 15 minutes to allow this watermelon feta salad to marinade and allow the flavors to meld.
  • Omit the greens: if you’re not a fan of arugula, or want a stripped-back watermelon salad, feel free to omit the leafy green entirely. This salad will still taste amazing!
  • Use highquality feta: it may not seem important, but high-quality feta can make a massive difference with this simple watermelon arugula salad. I recommend using a high-quality block of feta that’s either French feta (which is creamier) or Greek feta.
 
 
Optional Add-Ins and Variations
  • Avocado: the creamy texture and healthy fats in avocado make it a good potential add-in for this simple pineapple salad.  
  • Vinaigrette: I didn’t add any olive oil to the simple lime dressing for this salad, as the olives already contain oil. However, if you want more of a vinaigrette dressing, you could combine extra virgin olive oil with lime juice or some red wine vinegar/champagne vinegar. Alternatively, you could use a balsamic vinegar/glaze (for a bit of sweetness) as a dressing.
  • Yogurt sauce: in place of a vinaigrette, you could use a simple yogurt sauce for a creamy element. Use Greek yogurt or dairy-free option like coconut yogurt.
  • Nuts/Seeds: for added crunch, you can sprinkle over crushed walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, or even seeds like omega sprinkle, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
  • Other fruit/vegetables: you can experiment with several other add-ins, including celery, figs, grapes, apples, pomegranate seeds (a favorite of mine), strawberries, blueberries, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. I’ve also previously made this as a watermelon radish salad, with lots of slices of radish.
  • Mustard: if you’ve seen the trend on TikTok, you might have realized that mustard pairs surprisingly well with watermelon and this watermelon salad.
  • Bread: you could add in homemade croutons or use larger pieces like in a Panzanella salad.
 
 
Check the blog post for more tips and answers to top FAQs.
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 1-2 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 697mg, Potassium: 1029mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 43g, Vitamin A: 4795IU, Vitamin C: 72mg, Calcium: 253mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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