Watermelon Salad Recipe – Cookie and Kate

watermelon salad recipe

If you enjoy watermelon, this is your new summer salad. This simple watermelon salad recipe features classic Mediterranean flavors like tangy crumbled feta and fresh mint. Roughly chopped pistachios, lightly pickled shallots and a drizzle of olive oil make it taste incredible.

The layering method might make this salad look fancy, but it’s easy to make and yields a stunning display. Grab your largest platter for this recipe so the ingredients can be evenly distributed and scooped without stirring. The composition of this salad helps avoid the watery watermelon, messy-looking feta situation that plagues many watermelon salads.

watermelon salad ingredients

This watermelon salad was inspired by one we tasted in Tampa last summer. I loved the pistachios sprinkled on top. They offered the perfect crunch, and the green color contrasted beautifully with the bright red watermelon.

I’m still obsessed with the vinegar-soaked shallot that I used on this Watermelon Salad with Herbed Yogurt Sauce, and it worked just as well here. The shallots are lightly pickled, so they’re tangy but less pungent, and a drizzle of the leftover vinegar brightens up the whole salad.

Isn’t it lovely? This beautiful salad is sure to be a hit at your summer parties.

shallots on cubed watermelon

How to Choose Your Watermelon

To make the best watermelon salad, start with a great watermelon. It’s a bummer to slice into a watermelon and find pale, flavorless fruit. I’m partial to the Sugar Baby heirloom variety that you see in these photos. Sugar Babies are almost solid, dark green on the outside, often nearly seedless, with a wonderfully sweet flavor.

When you choose a watermelon, look for one that is:

  • Heavy for its size
  • Dull, not shiny
  • Evenly shaped
  • Darker green, with a yellow to orange “field spot” that indicates it sufficiently ripened on the vine (the stronger the yellow-orange color, the better)

Uses for Leftover Watermelon

For this recipe, you’ll need half a small watermelon (3 pounds, or about 4 cups cubed). Our toddler loves watermelon, so she takes care of the leftovers for us. 

If you don’t have a watermelon-obsessed tot in your household, here are some more ways to enjoy watermelon:

how to make watermelon salad

Watermelon Salad Serving Suggestions

This refreshing watermelon salad could inspire a full summertime spread. Try serving it with other warm-weather favorites that won’t heat up the house, like Caprese sandwiches or grilled options like pizza or veggie burgers. For complementary flavors, look for recipes using fresh mint, basil or pesto. Here are a few of my top recommendations:

watermelon salad with feta and mint

More Salads to Make This Summer

These refreshing salads make the best of summer produce like ripe berries, tomatoes and cucumber.

Please let me know how your watermelon salad turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.

watermelon salad on plate

Watermelon Salad

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Yield: 6 to 8 side servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: By hand
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 1 medium-to-large shallot or ½ small red onion, sliced very thinly (about ½ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 pounds ripe seedless watermelon (about ½ small round watermelon or 4 cups cubed), cut into ¾″ cubes
  • ½ cup crumbled feta (about 2 ounces)
  • ⅓ cup roasted and salted pistachios, chopped
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Small handful of fresh mint and/or basil leaves, torn if large, for garnish
  • Flaky salt or kosher salt, to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine the sliced shallot with the vinegar and fine salt. Toss to combine, and place in the refrigerator to lightly pickle while you prepare the remaining ingredients (at least 10 minutes).
  2. Spread the cubed watermelon over a large platter or shallow serving bowl. Arrange the pickled shallot on top, and spoon the leftover vinegar over the salad. Sprinkle the feta and pistachios on top. 
  3. Drizzle the olive oil all over. Finish the salad with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and flaky salt. This salad is best enjoyed within an hour or two, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.