Sweet and salty pair perfectly in this refreshing Watermelon Salad with Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette!
Growing up, our summertime meals consisted mostly of fresh veggies.
Sweet grilled corn on the cob; sliced red tomatoes with my mom’s sweet creamy white dressing; zucchini sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and salt; steamed green beans with butter; bowls of leafy greens. It was bliss, all of it, and it’s no wonder that to this day my sister and I both prefer veggies over meat or junk food. (Thank you, Mom!)
Most of the time fresh fruit was for dessert, and if we were really lucky, it was watermelon.
I remember my dad sprinkling a little salt on his watermelon wedges and as a kid I always thought it was the strangest thing ever. Now as an adult I think it’s pure genius. It’s amazing how just a tiny bit of salt contrasts the natural sweetness of watermelon so perfectly that it actually tastes sweeter.
Which brings me to my Watermelon Salad with Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette. A while ago I saw Cooking Light’s Watermelon Salad with Feta and Cucumber Pickles on Instagram, and it immediately caught my attention. As in, I ran out and bought a watermelon that same day because it was calling to me something fierce.
I put my own spin on that recipe, using fresh cucumber slices instead of taking the time to make pickles (but I definitely want to take the time to try the pickled version too!), goat cheese instead of feta, and a sweet and spicy vinaigrette that really accentuates the natural sweetness of ripe watermelon. It’s a winning combo of flavors all around.
This salad is so refreshing, it’s perfect for those hot summer days when you’re hungry, but don’t really feel like eating and nothing quite sounds good. And it would be the perfect side dish to bring to a BBQ, potluck, or pool party.
Here are some more delicious looking watermelon recipes from around the web…
Grilled Halibut Tacos with Watermelon Salsa from Heather Cristo
Hibiscus and Minty Watermelon Popsicles from Half Baked Harvest
Stacked Watermelon Salad from Fifteen Spatulas
Watermelon Pizza from Not Quite Nigella
Watermelon Spritzers with Lemon and Honey from Bev Cooks
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon each sea salt, ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cups cubed red watermelon (preferably seedless)
- ¼ English cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ small sweet white onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, mint, or dill
- ¼ cup whole Kalamata olives
- 2 oz (60 g) crumbled goat cheese
- Whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette.
- Arrange all salad ingredients on a large platter and drizzle the vinaigrette on top.
To Make Ahead: Make this salad up to 2 hours ahead (adding everything except the cheese), and keep it refrigerated until serving. Sprinkle the cheese on top right before serving.