This savory Grilled Watermelon Salad is packed with feta cheese, mint, basil, and onion, and is bound to be the summer salad of your dreams.
Watermelon was destined for so much more than just eating fresh. We’re breaking through two myths today:
- Watermelon can’t be savory
- Watermelon can’t be cooked
Because by cooking watermelon with a bit of salt and pepper, then combining it with an abundance of savory summer ingredients, you get…a masterpiece. Weird food combination? Yes. So so delicious? Also yes.
We’re cooking up a Grilled Watermelon Salad with salty feta and peppery arugula. If you’ve never tried a savory watermelon recipe before, you need to get on it. It’s all the healthiness of watermelon and all the flavor of a meal!
“Try cooking down the balsamic vinegar for a bit for a more ‘syrupy’ and dense dressing that gets sweeter as it cooks. Great recipe!” —Jane
Ingredients For Watermelon Salad
This grilled watermelon with feta salad is packed with tons of fresh ingredients that make this a flavor-packed meal! These are all easy-to-find ingredients that require very little effort to turn into this amazing salad.
- Watermelon: The star of the show! To find the best watermelon, look for one that is “sun-kissed”. This means it should have a large yellow spot with many veins on it. This is where the watermelon sat in the dirt and ripened. The larger the spot, the longer it was allowed to ripen! (Get our guide to watermelon here.)
- Arugula: Arugula is my favorite green. It has a lemon-like flavor with peppery notes if that makes sense? Cooking shows always describe arugula like that and it weirdly is incredibly accurate.
- Feta: This is a salty cheese that can be found cubed or crumbled. Either works great!
- Red Onion: Red onions are typically more pungent than white or yellow onions, making them a great addition to the salty feta and sweet watermelon. Plus, they add a nice color pop!
- Mint & Basil: Mint and basil add a lovely refreshing flavor profile that screams summer! Fresh herbs absolutely make a great salad.
- Dijon Mustard: Mustard is a super sneaky ingredient that packs a flavor punch! It’s also included for the scientific reason that it will bind the oil and vinegar, making the delicious dressing for this salad.
- Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil: The best base for a salad dressing! (You could even spruce it up by making a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette – similar ingredients but even more summery!)
When working with watermelon, the super high water content can be an issue for storing any leftovers. For this reason, I recommend only cutting up enough watermelon for what you think you will eat that meal. Then, you can store the rest of the salad that is prepared in the fridge and add watermelon when ready to eat.
How To Make Watermelon Salad
This grilled watermelon and feta salad is so easy and so tasty! It only takes 20 minutes for this hearty meal.
Step 1: Cook Watermelon
Cut watermelon into 1 inch (2 ½ cm) thick slices and remove the rind. Brush watermelon with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. In a grill pan, saute pan, or on the grill, cook watermelon at medium/high heat until char lines develop and watermelon lightly browns, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from heat and chop into large chunks.
Step 2: Assemble
In large bowl, gently combine watermelon, arugula, feta, red onion, mint, and basil. Whisk together remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil, balsamic (more to taste), mustard, salt, and pepper. Gently combine with the rest of the salad. Serve warm or chilled.
What does Grilling Watermelon do?
Grilling watermelon allows the flavors and the sugars to concentrate and really shine! It is very similar to cooking squash except as it cooks, it firms up instead of softens. How cool! Check out my watermelon steak for another great way to enjoy grilled watermelon.
If you have leftovers from this recipe, simply keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Water may release as it is stored from the watermelon. Simply drain this water each day to extend the time the salad stays fresh! With the grilled watermelon and balsamic, the greens will become pretty wet when stored, but are still delicious!
More Summer Salads you’ll love
If you liked this salad, I highly recommend some of these other summer essential salads!
Make the meal complete (and finish up the rest of that big watermelon) by serving this Watermelon Sorbet for dessert!
- ¼ medium watermelon
- 2 Tbsp olive oil 30 mL, divided
- 2 cups arugula 30 g
- ½ cup crumbled or cubed feta cheese 95 g
- ½ cup sliced red onion about ½ of an onion
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar 5 mL
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp each salt and pepper
- Cook Watermelon: Cut watermelon into 1 inch (2 ½ cm) thick slices and remove the rind. Brush watermelon with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. In a grill pan, saute pan, or on the grill, cook watermelon at medium/high heat until char lines develop and watermelon lightly browns, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from heat and chop into large chunks.
- Assemble: In large bowl, gently combine watermelon, arugula, feta, red onion, mint, and basil. Whisk together remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil, balsamic (more to taste), mustard, salt, and pepper. Gently combine with the rest of the salad. Serve warm or chilled.