This recipe has been on repeat in my kitchen all summer, but it only occurred to me recently to photograph it for the blog.
See, I tend to buy watermelons more often than I should, and since Kevin isn’t into watermelon, I end up needing to eat the whole darn thing myself, every time. I have the same issue with Feta- my favorite one comes in a pound container, and, you guessed it, I’m the only one in the house who likes the salty, tangy, briney, glorious flavor of feta cheese.
Naturally, I did what any good watermelon and feta hoarder would do: I started making salads out of them. But, I didn’t think they were anything special- certainly nothing worthy of blogging about. It was a meal born out of excess, necessitated by the relentless hot days and my inability to stop buying watermelons. I didn’t think the world really needed to see another watermelon and feta salad.
What started as a bowl full of watermelon and feta chunks dressed with a squeeze of lime juice has morphed into an entire meal, complete with arugula, cucumbers, red onion, cayenne-toasted pumpkin seeds, and a lime vinaigrette made with tons of fresh mint.
There’s just something about the juicy sweet watermelon paired with salty feta, slightly bitter arugula, crunchy, spicy toasted seeds and tangy, herbaceous dressing that’s perfect in every way. Need a quick, light meal for a hot day? This salad has your back. Looking for a salad to impress your guests at your next dinner party? Check. Need a dish to bring to your next backyard barbecue (cough, Labor Day Weekend, cough)? Look no further. Watermelon and feta are here to rescue you.
A word of advice: buy a mini watermelon. I know, I know, it’s more economically savvy to go with the big one for only another dollar or two, but, when was the last time you successfully ate an entire watermelon? Take it from a lady who has spent an entire summer buying more watermelon than she can eat: there’s a lot more fruit inside that giant watermelon than you’d expect.
If, by chance, you find yourself unable to resist the lure of the giant melon, know this: watermelon freezes beautifully, and is a great addition to smoothies (and frozen cocktails, if you’re into that). Just line a sheet pan with plastic wrap or parchment, spread out your extra watermelon chunks, and freeze them on the pan. Then, once they’re frozen, transfer the watermelon chunks to a freezer bag or other storage container and you’re good to go.
Now that we have our watermelon issues squared away, let’s talk about this salad. To make it, all you need to do is: spread a few handfuls of arugula out on a platter.
Add some thinly sliced cucumber and red onion.
Top with chunks of watermelon and feta.
Stir together the juice and zest of a lime with a mountain of chopped fresh mint, some avocado oil and salt, and drizzle it over the platter.
Heat a skillet and toast up some pumpkin seeds with cayenne pepper, salt, and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. Then, add your salty, crunchy, spicy seeds on top of the salad.
So simple, but so very satisfying.
- 2 big handfuls baby arugula (about 2oz, or enough to cover the bottom of your platter/bowl)
- 1/2 of a large hothouse cucumber (the big ones that come in plastic)
- 1/4 of a red onion
- 1/2 of a mini watermelon*
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- 2 limes, juice and zest
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil (can sub olive oil)
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1. Start by making the pumpkin seeds. Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add the seeds to the pan. Toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until seeds start to pop and look slightly golden. Add all remaining ingredients, stir, and turn off the heat. Let seeds cool in the pan.
- 2. Next, thinly slice the cucumber and red onion, and dice the watermelon (a half of a mini watermelon should yield about 2 cups of watermelon chunks, give or take). Cut the feta into small cubes.
- 3. Spread out arugula on a large platter or salad bowl. Top with cucumber slices, red onion, feta, and watermelon.
- 4. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette (I sometimes do this in a small jar with a lid and just shake to combine). Pour vinaigrette over the salad, then top with toasted pumpkin seeds. Eat immediately.
- *A half of a mini watermelon should yield about 2 cups of watermelon chunks, give or take. Feel free to use a larger melon and save the rest for snacking, or buy pre-cut watermelon to make this salad even easier!
- Because of how juicy this salad is, it does not keep well in the fridge. If you're looking to make it ahead for a party, I recommend chopping everything and keeping them in separate containers in the fridge, then assembling the salad and topping with the vinaigrette and seeds when ready to eat.
Pssst! You can find all the products I love using in my kitchen on my PANTRY STAPLES page, including the avocado oil used in the vinaigrette for this salad!