Grilled Watermelon Salad with feta cheese, red onions, fresh herbs, and a honey lime dressing is the best watermelon salad you will ever eat.
If you want to make the best watermelon salad around, start by putting the watermelon on the grill. This easy Grilled Watermelon Salad with all the classic ingredients - feta cheese, red onions, mint, and lime juice - seriously couldn't be more delicious.
My favorite salad to make during hot months is always watermelon salad. The refreshing sweet watermelon paired with feta cheese, red onions, and fresh herbs just couldn't be more delicious. So after grilling watermelon earlier in the week, I knew I had to try it out in a salad and I couldn't believe how tasty it was.
If you haven't tried classic watermelon and feta salad before, it may sound a bit strange. It's not a combination that many people would think to pair. However, trust me when I tell you, it just works. It's sweet and salty and refreshing. There is a reason it has become so popular in the last few years.
The other shift from the classic combination in this recipe is the addition of extra fresh herbs. Instead of just using fresh mint, I like to add fresh basil and cilantro as well. It adds an extra level of freshness to the salad and makes it more interesting.
What's in a watermelon salad?
- Watermelon: In this case, we are swapping in grilled watermelon for the traditional freshly cut watermelon. This grill adds some smoky flavor to the watermelon and gives it a sweet and savory quality that takes this salad to the next level.
- Feta cheese: The next ingredient in a classic watermelon salad is feta cheese. It may seem like a strange combination but the salty feta really works with the sweetness of the watermelon, especially when it is grilled. Both crumbled and cubed feta work. If you don't like feta, consider swapping in goat cheese or fresh mozzarella balls.
- Red Onions: To balance the sweetness of the watermelon, red onions are the perfect option. They are still slightly sweet but have some bite that balances the flavor. In this recipe, the red onions are soaked in lime juice and cold water. This mellows out the intense onion flavor.
- Fresh Herbs: For brightness, fresh herbs are a must. The classic herb for watermelon salad is mint. However, I like to mix things up and use a combination of mint, cilantro, and basil.
- Dressing: This salad doesn't need a lot of dressing since it already has a lot of flavor. Just a simple combination of olive oil, lime juice, and honey is all you need.
What's the best way to grill watermelon?
Grilling watermelon is shockingly easy and doesn't take very long at all. Here's what you need to do:
- Preheat the grill over medium high heat.
- Start by cutting the watermelon into wedges that are about 1 inch thick. Leave the rind on the watermelon.
- Brush the watermelon with olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of salt. Don't use too much since the feta cheese is salty. Add other spices or seasonings if desired.
- Grill the watermelon slices for about 3-4 minutes per side until there are grill marks. Remove and let cool.
Recipe Ideas and Tips
- Try a different cheese: If you want something a little less intense than feta cheese, consider swapping in goat cheese. Goat cheese isn't as salty and has a milder flavor. Other options include queso fresco (a milder Mexican cheese, similar to feta), fresh mozzarella, or leave the cheese out.
- Add spice: If you like things spicy, add some fresh chopped jalapenos to the salad. The bite of the jalapenos is delicious with the sweetness of the watermelon. Another option is adding red pepper flakes to the dressing.
- Add greens: To make this salad more traditional, add greens. My favorite options are arugula or butter lettuce.
- Add vegetables: To bulk up the salad, you can add additional vegetables. Consider trying some crunchy cucumbers, creamy avocado, summer tomatoes, or edamame.
Can this salad be made in advance?
Watermelon releases lots of liquid as it sits so this is a salad that is best served immediately after making it. If you need to do some prep ahead of time, you can make the dressing and prep the red onions. You can also chop the herbs. If you grill the watermelon ahead of time, make sure to drain off any extra liquid before adding it to the salad. I don't recommend grilling the watermelon more than 24 hours in advance.
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Grilled Watermelon Salad
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6 cups grilled watermelon, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint
1/4 cup basil
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp lime juice, divided
2 tbsp honey, divided
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Salt to taste (remember feta is salty)
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To grill the watermelon: Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Cut the watermelon into wedges, leaving the rind on. Brush the watermelon on both sides with half of the olive oil. Cook for about 3 minutes per side until grill marks form and there is some light char. Remove from grill and let cool. Then chop.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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