Watermelon feta salad has become a huge trend in recent years. Admittedly, the sweetness of watermelon pairs perfectly with creamy feta. This salad has become one of my favorite summer recipes which I often serve as a side dish to dinner, at BBQ parties, or even as a light lunch or dinner.
In this article I’m going to share with you my recipe for watermelon feta salad with mint, which I make on repeat – and I’m sure you will too!
Middle Eastern Watermelon Salad?
Before I get to the actual recipe, let me share with you an interesting fact.
Many people think watermelon feta salad is a Middle Eastern recipe, or a Mediterranean recipe at least.
While watermelon is hugely popular in the Middle East (it even grows in countries like Egypt…), watermelon salad isn’t actually a traditional Middle Eastern recipe. Yep, you read that right. In the Middle East, watermelon is most commonly processed to juice (watermelon juice), snacked on its own or added to a fruit platter.
Pairing sweet fruit with salty ingredients such as cheese is more of a recent food trend, rather than a century-old concept. Since the taste is just so incredibly good, more and more people try it, create their own version of it, and share it. Just like myself.
Today, watermelon feta salad has rightly conquered the hearts (and plates) across the US and Europe – and even more and more Middle Eastern chefs.
The good news about watermelon feta salad is that it’s quite versatile. You can add additional ingredients as per your taste and make your own twist of this salad. Depending on the ingredients you use, you can give this salad either a sweet or a hearty twist.
Below are the base ingredients that I use all the time:
- Watermelon: You can find large watermelons throughout the summer (June – September is the best time to buy). Depending on where you live, your local grocery store might carry rather small, roundish watermelons. These are often seedless and fine to use. For the best price, head over to a Middle Eastern supermarket. Many of them have a large container of watermelons of 7-8 kg (15 pound) each for a much better price.
- Feta cheese: You can use conventional feta cheese or soft white cheese (similar to feta). Due to its popularity, feta cheese can be found in most grocery stores.
- Mint: Mint is a hugely popular herb in Middle Eastern cuisine. Many families grow fresh mint in their garden or on their balcony, which gives them large amounts of mint throughout the summer. If you don’t have fresh mint, you can buy it at the grocery store. Stick to fresh mint – dried mint won’t produce the same taste.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality of olive oil, and a must-have for salads.
Those are the basic ingredients for this delicious and simple salad. Naturally, you can enhance the taste even further by adding any of the following:
- Red onions
- Cherry tomatoes
- Nuts e.g. pine nuts or walnuts
- Berries (e.g. blueberries or strawberries, or both)
- Balsamic vinegar
Note: Quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe and can be adjusted according to the amount of servings you’d like to make.
How to Make Watermelon Feta Salad
The best thing about this recipe is that it is very easy and quick to make.
Step 1: Prepare the watermelon
The first step consists of preparing the watermelon. There are many ways to cut a watermelon. Which way is the easiest, depends on the size of your watermelon.
I use the large watermelons, and usually take about half for my salad, and keep the other half in the fridge. To follow this method, cut the watermelon lengthwise into half, then cut again into two or four pieces. Now you can cut watermelon along the rind.
Step 2: Cube the watermelon
Now, cut the peeled watermelon pieces into cubes or wedges. For a salad, you’re looking for bite-size pieces (about 2×2 cm or 1 inch).
If you use a seedless watermelon, you don’t have to worry about any seeds. When using a conventional watermelon, it makes sense to remove the black seeds during preparation. You can simply remove them with a knife and dispose of them. That will make your watermelon feta salad easier to eat.
Place the cubed watermelon in a large bowl.
Step 3: Cut the feta cheese
Remove the feta cheese from the packaging, drain the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place the feta cheese in front of you. Cut lengthwise and crosswise to get feta cubes. Aim for cubes not larger than 1 cm or half an inch. Add the feta to the bowl with the watermelon.
Step 4: Add mint
Pluck the mint leaves one by one from the stems. Dispose of the thick stems. Wash and fry the mint leaves. Place them on a cutting board in front of you and finely chop. Then add the chopped mint leaves to the salad.
Step 5: Add oil
Ideally, you’ll add the oil right before serving. Add the olive oil to the salad and gently mix to combine.
What to Serve with Watermelon Feta Salad?
Watermelon is a sweet and refreshing fruit that makes a great summer recipe. Depending on the occasion and your mood, you can eat the salad on its own, as an appetizer or side dish to hearty dishes.
- Bread (Arabic pita bread or French baguette to make it a light lunch/dinner)
- Middle Eastern salads (e.g. Tabbouleh, Fattoush…)
- As a side to grilled dishes (BBQ), such as kebab, grilled chicken or fish.
- As a starter / side dish to a rice dish
- As a dessert alongside sweets
Make Ahead & Storage
Watermelon feta salad can be perfectly made ahead of time. When serving the same day, you can combine watermelon, feta and mint, and simply add the olive oil when serving.
This salad is a great candidate for meal prep. You can cut the watermelon in advance, as this is the most time consuming part of the salad. You can store cut watermelon in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3-4 days. Simply add feta, mint and oil the day of serving.
Leftovers (with oil) can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Watermelon Feta Salad
- 800 g watermelon
- 200 g feta cheese
- 3 sprigs fresh mint about 10 leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Open the watermelon by cutting it lengthwise. Cut the first half into two or four pieces. Use a knife to cut off the rind.
- Remove any black seeds with a knife. Cut the watermelon into cubes (about 2×2 cm or 1 inch). Transfer into a bowl.
- Remove the feta cheese from the packaging, drain the brine, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place onto a cutting board and cut into small cubes (not larger than 1 cm / half an inch). Add to the watermelon.
- Pluck the mint leaves from the stems. Wash and pat dry. Finely chop. Add to the bowl.
- Add olive oil to the salad. Gently stir to combine. Serve.
- There are many ways to cut a watermelon. Which one is the best largely depends on the size and how much of the watermelon you’d like to use. The method explained above works well for large watermelons (the lengthy ones you’ll find in the Middle East and many Middle Eastern grocery stores). It’s perfect if you’d like to use half of the melon, and keep the other half for later.
- My recipe can be enhanced with ingredients as per your likings. Here are some ideas of ingredients that make great additions to my base recipe: red onions (finely diced), cherry tomatoes, cucumber, nuts (pine nuts or walnuts), berries (blueberries or strawberries), honey, balsamic vinegar.