Watermelon, Feta, and Cilantro Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
Watermelon, Feta, and Cilantro Salad is a symphony of crave-worthy flavors in every bite. Made with juicy watermelon, tangy feta cheese, and fresh cilantro coated in a zesty lime vinaigrette, this dreamy salad is perfect for your next backyard barbeque or dinner party!
While watermelon amd feta salad is a classic summer salad and a personal favorite of mine, lately I've been swapping out the mint for some cilantro and a light lime vinaigrette to switch things up. I must say, the fusion of sweet and salty flavors with a punch of citric goodness is absolutely tantalizing. Watermelon, feta, and cilantro salad is definitely a winner in my book. Looking for the classic version with mint, here’s a delicious recipe.
This quick and easy salad packs a beautiful combination of sweet, salty, and tangy flavors that are guaranteed to make you swoon. It’s such a fun play on the salad that took the world by storm a few years ago—especially if you love cilantro as much as I do!
Delicious, refreshing, and super easy to make, this new twist on the summer classic is definitely here to stay. Serve it as a starter salad, a healthy snack, or even a light meal by pairing it with some grilled chicken or steak. Once you've had a taste, this versatile salad is sure to become your go-to choice for the summertime!
Watermelon lovers also won’t want to miss this amazing Grilled Watermelon Salad. Trust me.
Here are the key ingredients that you will need to whip up this watermelon and feta salad:
- Watermelon: You can cut your watermelon into cubes or wedges, or you can go for store-bought cubed watermelon to minimize the prep time. For a fancier touch, get a melon baller and make melon balls instead of cubes or wedges.
- Feta cheese: The creamy texture and salty, tangy flavor of feta cheese beautifully complements the natural sweetness of the watermelon. These are two foods that don’t seem like they would go together, but they just work!
- Red onion: Onions add a sharp flavor and irresistible crunch, not to mention a beautiful pop of color. Find them overwhelmingly pungent? Soak them in water for about 15 minutes before adding them to the salad.
- Cilantro: The sharp bite and heavenly aroma of fresh cilantro make it an ideal addition to this refreshing summer salad. And if you’re part of the cilantro hater brigade, you can swap it out for mint or basil.
- Dressing: The zesty lime vinaigrette wonderfully brings out the overall flavor of the salad. All you need is lime juice, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
Here are some of my top tips, tricks, and substitution ideas to help you make the best watermelon, feta, and cilantro salad every time:
- Choose the best watermelon. Look for the ripest, juiciest watermelon at the store. I prefer the seedless varieties but if you can’t find those, try to remove as many large seeds as possible. To achieve the best taste, chill it for a few hours before tossing the melon into the salad.
- Brined vs dry feta. I highly recommend going for the brined feta. Brine ensures that the feta remains fresh, moist, and flavorful.
- Prepare in advance. Prepare the vinaigrette shortly before you begin putting together the salad. This gives the flavors some time to develop, ensuring extra delicious results.
- Salt it right. Since feta has its own innate saltiness, I would advise tasting the dish before adding any additional salt. Then, add just a little bit at a time, tasting as you go until you’ve got the flavor profile you want.
- Swap out the cheese. Not a fan of feta? Feel free to try this dish with another tangy cheese like goat cheese or leave out the cheese altogether.
- Play around with the dressing. For a twist on the classic citrusy flavor of lime vinaigrette, try adding a honey mustard vinaigrette instead or leave out the dressing altogether and just add a squeeze of lime juice to brighten up the dish.
Ways to Serve Watermelon Feta Salad
My favorite thing about this salad is how versatile it is. While it tastes absolutely divine all on its own, you can also jazz it up by pairing it with another flavorful dish.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are some of my favorite ways to serve this salad:
- Greens and berries. Throw in a bed of light greens like arugula or spinach to make your salad bowl greener and healthier. Blueberries, tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and avocado chunks also make for wonderful add-ons.
- With lean protein. For a well-balanced meal, try pairing this salad with a delicious protein source like my Grilled Basil Lime Chicken Breast or this Easy Grilled Salmon with Cajun Seasoning.
- With other summer staples. The secret to the ultimate summertime meal? Don’t overthink it. Serve this watermelon and feta salad with other classics like these juicy Ranch Burgers, a perfectly crunchy coleslaw, or even the ultimate beachy classic—Fish Tacos!
How to Store Watermelon Salad
This watermelon, feta, and cilantro salad is best enjoyed fresh. However, if you want to store your ingredients to plan ahead for meals, refrigerate your cubed watermelon and dressing separately in airtight containers. Add the fresh herbs, feta, and red onion when serving. The watermelon should be good to go for up to 3-4 days.
The leftover salad that’s already been mixed together can be stored for around 2 days, but the watermelon will release a lot of liquid, so you will need to strain it before serving.
Avoid storing this dish in the freezer; watermelon doesn’t freeze well due to its high water content and will likely thaw into a pile of mush.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this watermelon, feta, and cilantro salad recipe:
Do I need to add the feta cheese? What's a good substiute?
Feta is one of the more popular pairings when it comes to watermelon. The sweet and salty flavors balance each other out and the creamy, crumbly texture of the feta is a great contrast to the watery crunch of the watermelon.
They do say that opposites attract! All that aside, you can easily leave out the feta and still enjoy a delicious watermelon salad. You could also swap in goat cheese, which has a more mild flavor.
How to pick the best watermelon?
When picking a ripe watermelon at the store, look for a dull one with well-defined stripes. It should feel heavy for its size and have a large yellow spot on its underbelly. You can also give it a quick knock—if the sound is hollow, the watermelon is ripe.
What can I use instead of cilantro?
While I absolutely love the taste of fresh cilantro, I know there are many people who do not. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry! Watermelon and feta salad tastes wonderful with fresh mint or basil as well.
Watermelon, Feta, and Cilantro Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
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- 8 cups watermelon, cubed
- 1 cup feta cheese (crumbled or cubed)
- 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
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* 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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