Simple & Savory Watermelon Salad

A couple months ago we went to a friend’s house for a lazy Sunday morning brunch and I had the most wonderful watermelon salad. I’ve since seen quite a few variations on it but I think it’s best when kept simple. Let the sweetness of the watermelon be balanced by a bit of olive oil, mint, and cheese.

There are no surprises here. The first paragraph pretty much captures the recipe which is why I like this salad — it’s simple, yet interesting. I cubed fresh watermelon and arranged on a platter. You can chap and sprinkle the mint leaves haphazardly or place a small leaf on top of each watermelon cube. I must have been having a ‘neat & tidy’ day and felt the need to precisely place the leaves, very unlike me.

For the cheese, my friend used feta but I wanted to try a cow’s milk cheese, so I choose queso fresco. It is a crumbly, tangy farmer’s cheese. I like the fresh and light taste that it brings to the dish. Once again, you can sprinkle it on or precisely arrange the cheese. The final fleurish is a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

I thought my friend was a genius when I tried her salad since it’s not a common usage of watermelon here. I enjoyed the savory edge and look forward to trying watermelon paired with other savory items. Later this week I’ll be posting about a watermelon salsa which uses onions and jalapenos :-)

For more watermelon salad ideas, I’ve put together a list of 10 interesting recipes that I’d like to try.

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  1. Awesome presentation. I bow down at your feet :) I can totally see this at an upscale (hoity-toity? heh) restaurant with an iota of caviar or something at the side :)

  2. What a lovely idea. I’ve used these ingredients in a salad before, but never thought to construct them as individual bites. It is a wonderful combination of flavours.

  3. I’m loving your whole watermelon series. This is a great idea Allen and its often served in Greek households using feta. But I actually prefer the cheese you’ve chosen for this…just delicious!

  4. This is one of the best salads EVAH, Allen…deliciously light and refreshing, and that fabulous punch of tang from the cheese. YUM.

  5. that indeed is genius. i made a watermelon gazpacho that was great and i know that watermelon lends itself very well to savory flavors.

  6. Now, that’s a new way of serving watermelon! I never would have thought of creating a sweet and savory dish. I’m looking forward to the salsa recipe… very interesting!

  7. Oh yeah, watermelon in salads is also great. There are so many ways to eat it and all your watermelon recipes look so tasty that I am about to go get one :p Yummy!

  8. I saw something similar in one episode of “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” and was intrigued but it. Your salad looks fresh, light, healthy and delicious, Allen!

  9. I love watermelon in savory dishes, and your presentation is impossibly appealing.

  10. I make a similar salad. It is such a refreshing choice for a hot summer day. Lovely pictures.

  11. This is definitely “understated” elegance superbly presented.

  12. This is a wonderful idea! It must be so light and refreshing…I hate when salads are so heavy you don’t want to eat the entre. Beautiful presentation!

  13. I’m lovin’ the neat presentation :) I’ve tried it with feta and also with goat cheese, never with queso fresco (yet). Sounds like a fun little salad. And it’s cute too.

  14. Hi Allen, this is one of my all time favourite salads – I was so annoyed when Nigella made it famous – I had been eating it for ages! Anyway, I love the savoury edge as you say and I actually have a post on this next week! yummy. I like your neat presentation too – sometimes its good to be neat!

  15. As your Stumbledupon friend, Once again you have out-done yourself on the presentation of such a good dish for all to enjoy.


  16. Thank you to everyone for your comments. It looks like a few people have seen a take on this salad before. It’s worth trying it you haven’t had it before. I bet basil would also go well with the watermelon in place of the mint.

  17. The thing is the saltiness of the cheese. Salted watermelon on its own is awesome – the salt brings out the taste and combined with a firm white cheese that is extra salty, the watermelon moves into a different taste realm.
    The mint is a nice touch and olive oil … well I prefer to save that for less sweet treats, but I must confess I never tried it so will reserve judgment tiull I do.

  18. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to make this soon! And your photo is terrific — so artful!

  19. WOW, I will definitely try this if I can still find a watermelon this late in October. Looks so amazing.

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