This simple watermelon salad is easy to make and cools you down with the watery melon taste and splash of flavor.

By Kathryn McLean

This is a very refreshing salad during the hot days of summer, but it’s also versatile. You can include various herbs, add cooked grains, and leave out an ingredient you don’t like.

Consider this template for the watermelon salad:

Cubed watermelon
Cubed (or crumbled) feta cheese
Sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced (or finely chopped) red onion
Kalamata olives
Fresh lemon juice

Start with 2 cups of cubed melon, ½ cup each cucumber and feta, ¼ cup olives, and a few slices of onion.

Gently toss everything in a large bowl, be sure to serve it cold, and aim to eat the entire salad on the same day you prepare it.

Try these alternatives to switch it up?

  • Replace the red onion with chopped chives or green onion for a milder flavour.
  • If you don’t like olives you can leave them out, or offer them on the side for those who do enjoy their briney tang.
  • Feta cheese works well in this salad because the saltiness contrasts so nicely with the sweet melon. If you don’t have or don’t like feta, you can substitute a different cheese. Try adding torn bocconcini, crumbled blue cheese or shredded aged cheddar. Consider adding a pinch of salt to your salad if you don’t use feta cheese.
  • I’ve included cucumber in the base guideline for watermelon salad. It has a naturally refreshing quality, like watermelon, but feel free to leave it out if you don’t want to have cucumber.

What about herbs?

  • Fresh herbs bring a lot of flavour to any dish and adding them to this salad is no different. You can use one herb, or a mix, according to what you like and think will taste good.
  • Start with one of these: basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, tarragon, or thyme.
  • Dried herbs add flavour, too. It won’t be the same, but you can also use dried oregano, parsley, mint or dill.

If you want to make the salad heartier, toss in some cooked grains such as quinoa, barley or rice. Couscous will work well, too.

Suggestions for the dressing

  • Fresh lemon juice makes the best ‘dressing’.
  • If you don’t have lemon, use a lime. Bottled lemon juice is fine, or a splash of vinegar will work, too. You can leave out the lemon all together and just toss everything together gently as is.

Additional ingredients you could add.

  • Consider celery or fennel, and include the leafy tops, too.
  • Add thinly sliced radish.
  • Try combining blueberries and sliced strawberries with the melon if you’re leaving out the olives.
  • Try a mix of melon in place of all watermelon pieces.
  • If you want more crunch out of your salad, add nuts or seeds, like sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Just be sure to add the nuts right before eating/serving so the juices of the salad don’t make them soft.

Melon salad is simple to prepare and easy to change up as you like. There’s really no reason not to try it this summer.