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Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Mint

This Watermelon Feta Salad is summer in a bowl! It’s light, bright and refreshing, with a hypnotic combination of sweet-salty, tangy, herbaceous flavors.  Plus, once you see how easy and versatile it is to make, (add whatever you want!) you’ll be making it all summer long!  This Watermelon Salad recipe is made with sweet juicy watermelon, plump peaches, succulent blackberries, crispy cucumbers, zippy red onions, tangy feta, minty mint, sweet basil and caramelized pecans piled on a bed of peppery arugula drizzled with sweet and tangy balsamic poppy seed dressing.  This Watermelon Feta Mint Salad is perfect for lunches, summer potlucks, picnics and cookouts because it can be made ahead (just add the watermelon), is utterly addicting, and always disappears in a flash.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 -10



  • 6 cups cubed watermelon
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 3 ripe peaches or nectarines, sliced
  • 6 ounces blackberries
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, sliced (or about 1 cup quartered English cucumber)
  • 4 ounces block feta, cubed (may sub crumbled)
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 recipe caramelized pecans



  • Refrigerate whole or cubed watermelon before making the salad so it has time to chill. You may cube the watermelon up to 4 days head of time, but the longer it sits, the less juicy it will become.
  • Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or shake in a jar; refrigerate for a minimum of 20 minutes or up to 3 days. If you’re in rush, pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes to speed up the chilling.
  • Add the arugula to a large bowl followed by all the of the rest of the salad ingredients. Drizzle with desired amount dressing and top with LOTS of freshly cracked pepper. Serve immediately. (Only add the watermelon if serving immediate, otherwise, hold the watermelon until ready to serve because it releases a lot of juices - see MAKE AHEAD tips in the Notes below.)

If expecting leftovers:

  • Toss the arugula, feta, nuts, blueberries and peaches together.  Serve the watermelon and dressing on the side. This will prevent the salad from getting soggy from the melon when storing.


  • Watermelon:  this salad recipe is only as good as the sweetness of the watermelon- so make it a good one! Use my tips and tricks in the post to select the sweetest watermelon you can.
  • Arugula:  please use baby arugula for this recipe!  It is much milder and delicate than mature arugula which is too tart, bitter, and overpowering for this recipe.
  • Caramelized pecans:  might sound odd with watermelon - but think how good they are in strawberry salad! I use my 5 Minute Caramelized Nuts in this recipe because it literally lakes 5 minutes or you purchase candied nuts at Sprouts and Whole Foods.
  • Customize the dressing:  balsamic vinegar varies in tanginess and sweetness, as will the watermelon itself and everyones’ personal preference, so don’t be afraid to customize the dressing.  Make it sweeter by adding more honey (but keep in mind the watermelon and nuts are sweet), or tangier by adding additional vinegar one teaspoon at a time.
  • Variations:  the salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions.  You can add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits as long as you maintain a balance of sweet, tangy, and crunchy; if you swap out an ingredient, replace it with something with a similar flavor profile and texture. 
  • Storage:  this salad is best served right away but keeps for about 3 days in the refrigerator IF you store the watermelon separately. Keep in mind, the longer the watermelon sits, the more juices it will release, so drain off excess juice before serving.

Make ahead

You can prep the Watermelon Basil Salad up to two days in advance without fully assembling by chopping the fruit and preparing the dressing (tips below).  In fact, I encourage you to chop the watermelon ahead of time so it has time to chill. Here’s how to make ahead:
  • Prepare salad ingredients:  the salad ingredients can be prepped 24 hours in advance. Cube the watermelon and store in an airtight container in the fridge; drain of excess juices before using.  Slice the peaches and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Slice the red onions and chop the fresh herbs; store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
  • Nuts: the caramelized pecans can be made up to one week ahead of time and stored in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature. I often like to double the nuts for future use.
  • Dressing:  can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  • Serve:  right before serving, drain off any excess melon fruit juices, toss the nuts and salad ingredients together, drizzle with desired amount of dressing and serve.