Nothing says summer quite like a delicious Watermelon and Feta Salad! This elegant combination of sweet summer melons, creamy Persian feta and fresh aromatic mint makes a perfect accompaniment to any elegant dinner.
This Persian Watermelon Feta Salad graced our Christmas table in 2016 and comes from “The Healthy Chef”, made with a few changes to suit my family's tastes and to make it more festive.
Bursting with juicy watermelon, peppery rocket/arugula, ruby red pomegranate, creamy Persian feta, and aromatic mint, this salad is sure to be a showstopper, just like our Mixed Leaf & Cherry Salad. or even our Shaved Fennel & Mandarin Salad.
❤️ What I Love About This Salad ❤️
Watermelon Feta Salad is the perfect way to enjoy the sweet flavour of refreshing watermelon. Paired here with some creamy Persian feta and complemented beautifully by fresh mint and the pomegranate's tart sweetness, each bite of this salad brings together a delightful mix of colours, flavours and textures.
For summertime vibes and the best way to enjoy watermelon this season, look no further than this mouth-watering salad!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Watermelon - a seedless watermelon variety would be ideal. Need help picking the best watermelon, then check out our tips below.
- Persian Feta - is much more creamy than ordinary feta; we have added it for its creamy tanginess. Some goat cheese would work, or at a pinch, use ordinary crumbled feta cheese, but it will be a bit more salty.
- Rocket/Arugula - added for its pepperiness, it works well with the sweet melon and salty Persian feta. Swap for some salad greens or baby spinach if you prefer.
- Pomegranate - added for a pop of ruby red colour and bursts of tart sweetness. You can add some blueberries or blackberries instead.
- Fresh Mint - is used for its wonderful aroma, and it pairs beautifully with watermelon and Persian feta; it can be substituted with basil.
- Pistachios - added for some texture and crunch; you can leave them out if you prefer or swap them for roasted almonds or creamy macadamias.
- Lime Dressing - we used extra virgin olive oil and fresh lime juice to make a simple vinaigrette. But a balsamic vinegar dressing or a balsamic glaze are great alternatives.
The Changes We Made
This delicious Persian Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe has been adapted from the original recipe to suit my family's preferences, the available ingredients and to make it even more festive: - Watermelon - we cut ours in stars when we served it for Christmas or triangles for every day. - Mint - we just used lots and lots of mint and left out the parsley - Persian feta - we used creamy Persian feta over the labneh - We left out the onions (the girls hate them) and blackberries (at $12 for a tiny punnet, I thought I would give them a miss) - Replaced the zesty lemon with aromatic lime. We added some rocket (arugula) to bulk it up, as there were 20 of us for lunch. - We also added some sweet pomegranate arils and crunchy pistachios for Christmas colour.
How to Make This Salad
Step 1 - Cut up the Melon
Wash the outside of the melon, lay it flat on a chopping board then cut it in half to make two manageable pieces, then cut it into quarters.
Hold your watermelon quarter firmly and using a sharp knife cut between the rind and the pink flesh to separate them, avoid the white part.
Lay the peeled watermelon flat and cut it into bite-sized watermelon chunks or pretty triangles.
To make stars, cut the watermelon into round slices, then use a star-shaped cookie cutter. Keep the good stars for decorating on top and save the “end bits” and not-so-good stars for ‘inside’ the salad. You will also need to allow a further 15-20 minutes as it was pretty time-consuming.
Step 2 - Prepare the Remaining Ingredients
Wash your rocket (arugula) in a colander under cold running water. Remove any damaged or wilted leaves. Then either pat dry with a towel or spin dry using a salad spinner.
Remove the arils from your pomegranate and reserve two tablespoons to use as a garnish. You will step-by-step instructions in our Walnut Pomegranate post.
Wash your mint, shake and pat dry, then pick the leaves from the stems and a few sprigs for a garnish.
Whisk together olive oil and lime juice.
Step 3 - Assemble Your Watermelon Salad With Mint
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, rocket/arugula, pomegranate arils, crumbled Persian feta, pistachios, and mint, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
Very gently toss the salad until well combined; taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
Arrange the salad on a salad platter and garnish with reserved mint sprigs, pomegranate arils and extra pistachio nuts. Serve immediately.
Serving Ideas 🍽
This refreshing watermelon feta salad is perfect for the summer! You can serve it with anything from meat, poultry or seafood. Or for any occasion, it is great for potlucks, summertime barbecues, elegant dinners or on your festive table.
Tips and Questions
How to Choose the Best Watermelon.
- Shop in watermelon season. The only way to guarantee you'll get ripe, delicious fruit.
- Look for the field spot. Most watermelons will have a patch on the bottom, where it rested on the ground before being picked. If the patch is yellow, the watermelon is ripe. If it's white, it's unripe.
- Inspect the weight. A ripe watermelon should feel heavy for its size, so give those muscles are workout and lift those melons.
- Finally, give it a gentle thump. A ripe watermelon will sound hollow when thumped lightly (our family's favourite method).
Can I Make it Ahead and Tips?
- Fresh is best when it comes to this salad; the arugula will become limp, the mint will discolour, and the melon will soften if kept too long in the fridge. Here are our best tips:
- Cut watermelon releases a lot of water, so it is best to cut your watermelon and store it separately in an airtight container. Then on the day, take out the chilled watermelon, drain off the excess water and make up your salad but only just before serving.
- You can prepare the pomegranate the day before and store the arils in a covered container in the fridge.
- Make up the dressing in a glass jar so that it is ready to shake up and pour over the salad; you will need to bring it to room temperature first.
What Can I Do With the Leftovers?
Any leftover salad will keep covered in the fridge for 1-2 days at the most, but it will be a bit soggy and water-logged. Definitely not dinner party worthy but a great snack or easy lunch the next day.
- This watermelon and feta salad recipe is an indulgent salad for special occasions; each serving contains 304 calories with 20 grams of net carbs.
- Use ordinary feta to make it suitable for Paleo, and use vegan feta chees to make it suitable for vegan and dairy-free eaters.
- For nut-free, swap the pistachios for seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower.
More Watermelon Salad Recipes
Who doesn't love a refreshing watermelon salad during the summer? Watermelon is probably my favourite summer fruit, and we always keep a bowl of cut watermelon in the fridge to snack on; it doesn't last for more than a day at our house.
- Salad Spinner
- Sharp chef's knife
- 800 grams watermelon (cold, without skin, approximately 28.2 ounces)
- 250 grams Persian or goats feta 1 (one small pack, approximately 8.8 ounces)
- 100 grams baby rocket/arugula (appoximately 3.5 ounces or 3 very full cups)
- 1 cup pomegranate arils (arils from one pomegranate)
- 1 ½ cup fresh mint leaves (reserve ½ cup to use as a garnish)
- ⅓ cup pistachio nuts, roughly chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon to use as a garnish)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup lime juice (approximately 2 heavy limes)
- Wash the outside of the melon and cut-off the rind.
- Lay the peeled watermelon flat and cut it into bite-sized watermelon chunks or pretty triangles.
- Wash your rocket (arugula) then either pat dry with a towel or spin dry using a salad spinner.
- Remove the arils from your pomegranate and reserve two tablespoons to use as a garnish.
- Wash your mint, shake and pat dry, then pick the leaves from the stems as well as a few sprigs for a garnish.
- Whisk together olive oil and lime juice.
- Place all the prepared ingredients in a large bowl, add the crumbled Persian feta, pistachios, and mint, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
- Very gently toss the salad until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.
- Arrange the salad on a salad platter and garnish with reserved mint sprigs, and pomegranate arils. Serve immediately.
- You will find Persian feta in the deli section of your supermarket or with the other packaged cheeses in the refrigerated section. You can replace it with Goats Cheese if you cannot find it.
- NOTE - Fresh is best when it comes to this salad; the arugula will become limp, the mint will discolour, and the melon will soften if kept too long in the fridge.
You will find our best make-ahead tips in the "Tips & Questions" section in the post.