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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  • Manggy August 6, 2008, 2:14 am

    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 :)

  • kathryn August 6, 2008, 2:16 am

    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.

  • Peter G August 6, 2008, 2:23 am

    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!

  • canarygirl August 6, 2008, 3:33 am

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

  • Arundathi August 6, 2008, 6:01 am

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

  • Patsyk August 6, 2008, 6:31 am

    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!

  • Ben August 6, 2008, 10:49 am

    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!

  • kat August 6, 2008, 11:08 am

    Its so beautiful in its simplicity. This is a great series, Allen

  • Patricia Scarpin August 6, 2008, 11:49 am

    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!

  • Anita August 6, 2008, 1:48 pm

    Oh my gosh this look SO good. It’s so pretty. I have to make it now.

  • Susan from Food Blogga August 6, 2008, 2:29 pm

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

  • Lisa August 6, 2008, 3:34 pm

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

  • Angela August 6, 2008, 4:28 pm

    Genius! I love this combination of flavors. And the presentation is stunning!

  • Modern Living Hawaii August 6, 2008, 6:16 pm

    This looks amazing! I have been loving your watermelon posts! Hope you don’t mind, I am going to feature them on my blog this week – Perfect for Hawaii!

  • Mark Boxshus "Cookie Doctor" August 6, 2008, 7:51 pm

    This is definitely “understated” elegance superbly presented.

  • The Food Librarian August 6, 2008, 8:26 pm

    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!

  • RecipeGirl August 6, 2008, 10:43 pm

    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.

  • Jude August 6, 2008, 11:05 pm

    Cool photos and awesome presentation. Man that looks good. Good call on the queso fresco.

  • Helen August 7, 2008, 1:11 am

    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!

  • Walter August 7, 2008, 4:02 am

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


  • Allen August 7, 2008, 8:50 am

    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.

  • Partybluprint Girl August 7, 2008, 7:14 pm

    I just love this!

  • noobcook August 8, 2008, 1:06 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous!

  • paresh August 8, 2008, 9:07 pm

    simple but smart, thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous August 9, 2008, 5:51 am

    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.

  • Zach @ The Bitten Word August 13, 2008, 10:02 am

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

  • Anonymous August 18, 2008, 6:36 pm

    watermelon sashimi. Sexy

  • Steamy Kitchen September 8, 2008, 9:06 am

    Love the photo! great colors and so appetizing!

  • Aylin October 27, 2008, 8:44 am

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

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