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Watermelon and Arugula Salad is a delicious blend of sweet watermelon, peppery arugula and creamy feta cheese. It’s drizzled with an addictive dressing of fresh lime juice, Champagne vinegar and buttery olive oil with a gentle jalapeño kick, that’s so good you’re going to want to put it on everything!

watermelon and arugula salad with feta served in a white ceramic bowl

It feels wrong to admit that watermelon isn’t my favorite. Growing up, I remember looking around at other kids blissfully devouring huge wedges of it – lifting their dripping faces now and then to spew little black seeds. It baffled me. And it wasn’t the dripping and seed spitting I was opposed to, I didn’t especially like the flavor. To me it tasted – still does – like sugar water.  But a big wedge of cantaloupe or honeydew melon, that’s a bliss I understand. They’re sweet, yes, but they burst with that unique, ‘melony’ flavor. Watermelon, not so much.

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Feta Cheese in a ceramic bowl photographed from above

Today, though, I’m excited to report that I’ve been redeemed. It turns out that I like watermelon – a lot actually – when it’s combined with other flavors that I love. Its watery, cool sweetness is the perfect foundation, and a critical element, to one of the better summer salads I’ve ever had.

I must give a nod to Hermiston farmers here – they grow a mean melon. Even watermelon, even seedless watermelon (which I’ve always heard has less flavor than its seed-filled counterpart). Maybe if I’d grown up in Eastern Oregon and had this Watermelon and Arugula Salad early on, it wouldn’t have taken me four decades to find a place in my heart for this much-beloved summer fruit.

Recipe Options

  • Add a little extra heat with some thinly sliced red onion.
  • Use goat cheese or shaved parmesan in place of the feta.
  • Add several leaves of fresh mint along with the arugula for added flavor depth.

What to Serve with Watermelon and Arugula Salad

This salad is hearty enough to be a meal on it’s own and a perfect pair to so many summer main dishes. Especially anything you are grilling like: Carne Asada, Grilled Lamb Chops, Grilled Swordfish, Grilled ShrimpChicken Kabobs or Lamb Kabobs! (And, for summer pairing, this simple Arugula Salad is also a must try!)

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Calories: 328
Servings: 4 people
Even if you’re not a big watermelon fan, please give this a try. The sweet watermelon, peppery arugula, salty feta, and little jalapeño kick combine for a flavor far above the sum of the parts.

Ingredients  

For the jalapeño chile vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice juice of 1 whole lime
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1/2 small jalapeño seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Watermelon and Arugula salad:

  • 1/2 small seedless watermelon ‘small’ is a 5-6 pound watermelon, see recipe notes
  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 4 ounces feta cut into 1/4-inch squares or crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • To make the vinaigrette: Combine lime juice, vinegar, shallot, jalapeño and thyme leaves to a blender pitcher and blend until smooth, scrape down sides as necessary. With the blender running, add oil in a steady stream and blend until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to small pitcher for drizzling. 
  • For the salad: arrange watermelon, arugula and feta on a serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.

Notes

According to the Watermelon Board, the average size of a watermelon is 15-20 pounds, but often you can find small seedless watermelons in the grocery store – in the 5-6 pound range. You’ll need 1/2 of a small or a 1/4 of a large watermelon for this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 148mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1010IU | Vitamin C: 9.2mg | Calcium: 201mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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31 Comments

  1. mimi rippee says:

    This is fantastic. It’s incredible how many variations there of of watermelon and cheese salads, and even watermelon and arugula salads there are. Cause they’re all amazing!!! And I love this one – simple but full of flavors.