Fresh Herb and Watermelon-Feta Salad

CATEGORIES: Kate, No-Cook, Salads

The first time I’d ever heart of watermelon salad with feta was on the last season of The Next Food Network Star. And I won’t lie, I thought it sounded pretty grim. But throughout the last year, I’ve seen it popping up here and there in magazines, cooking shows, and the blogosphere and I finally decided to get up the guts to try it. And I’m so not regretting it.

I remember being a kid when my dad would sprinkle salt on his watermelon and I thought he was nuts until I tried it myself. The same idea is in action here–the salty creaminess of the feta complements the sweet crispness of the watermelon really nicely. In fact, for all the reputation that feta has for being a strong flavor, in this salad, the feta is probably the most subtle of all the flavors. With the spiciness of the onions and basil and the sweetness of the mint and watermelon, the gentle tangy-ness of the feta balances things out perfectly.

This salad is super easy and if you buy chunks of pre-cut watermelon it’s even easier. In a serving bowl, you’ll just combine the watermelon, fresh basil, fresh mint, thinly sliced onions, crumbled feta, lime juice, and coarse salt:

Aren’t those colors gorgeous??
 

The recipe I adapted from calls for watercress, but I LOATHE watercress, so I substituted cilantro. If you hate cilantro and watercress, try Italian parsley or chopped fresh spinach.

Then you just give it a quick toss and serve it ASAP. And I’ve gotta tell ya…you know how there are some foods that just make you feel good after you eat them? Like your body is just thanking you for giving it some of the good stuff? This salad is totally that way. Not only is it super low in calories, but you just feel nourished after you eat it, like you never want to have a chocolate hangover again. If only I could bottle that feeling…

Fresh Herb and Watermelon-Feta Salad
With the spiciness of the onions and basil, and the sweetness of the mint and watermelon, the gentle tangy-ness of the feta balances things out perfectly. Great for a summer shin-dig!
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Ingredients
  1. 6 c. cubed (1/2" cubes) watermelon
  2. 1 c. minced cilantro*
  3. 1/2 c. thinly sliced red onions (about 1/2 of a small red onion, maybe a bit more)
  4. 1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  5. 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  6. Juice of 2 limes (3-4 Tbsp.)
  7. 1 4-oz. package of Athenos crumbled feta cheese, divided
  8. 1/2 heaping tsp. Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Gently combine the ingredients (reserve 1/4 c. of feta). Sprinkle with reserved feta, garnish with basil and mint leaves, and lightly sprinkle with additional salt. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. The original recipe calls for 2 c. of watercress. If you prefer watercress, feel free to substitute it for cilantro in this recipe. If you don't like cilantro or watercress, try substituting 1 c. minced Italian parsley or 2 c. chopped spinach.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
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13 comments

  1. I've made a variation of this salad. It's very tasty! I just sent the recipe to my mom a few weeks ago, so I'm pleasantly surprised to see it turn up here too :).

  2. I first had this salad a few years ago and it was instantly my fav new summer salad. People think I'm crazy when I tell them about it. Once I even took it to a BBQ and I was the only one who would try it. Joke on them, more for me.
    I love all your recipes and I'm glad to get a little validation on an amazing recipe. By, the way, made the greek pita…Yum. I could drink that yogurt sauce!!

  3. My first thought was "ARE THEY CRAZY??", but I will admit, you have me intrigued. I do think it looks pretty strange, but I really love strange flavors that don't seem like they'd go together but actually do, so I'm going to try this. I love all the ingredients individually, so I'm sure I will enjoy it. And for the record, I love salt on watermelon!

  4. I am trying this tonight and I think it will go perfectly with the grilled lamb tips, tzatziki and zucchini I'm making. So excited!

  5. I've got to admit I'm hesitant to try feta with watermelon. But you guys haven't led me wrong before, so I'll have to give it a try.

  6. So I LOVE this sight, but enough with the feta already. How much longer are you doing it again? Hopefully not much! 🙂

  7. Tried it. Surprising good.

    I made it using warm watermelon straight from the store. I then stored it in the fridge to get cold. Bad Idea. By the time we went to eat it, it was very watery and although good. Not very pretty. so, I'd advise, chilling the watermelon and then serving immediately.

  8. I've heard of this recipe, but always thought it sounded too strange. I only tried it because I trust your tastes implicitly.

    It was delicious! Thanks!

  9. My family calls this “that weird salad” because they just don’t get it but I don’t mind, I can eat it all myself and be perfectly happy. It’s a sneaky way to get my kids to slow down on the watermelon and get more myself.

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