This Watermelon Basil Salad is a unique, delightful summer salad with beautifully blended, delicious vibrant flavors. An easy salad to whip up, the combination of sweet watermelon with balsamic glaze and a handful of other simple ingredients is out of this world.
It's beautiful, hearty, refreshing, packed with amazing flavors and it's screaming with summertime deliciousness.
This Watermelon Basil Salad is an exciting twist and deviation from the classic watermelon salad recipe made with feta cheese and fresh mint leaves.
Seriously, you won't be able to get enough, and it will certainly be a crowd pleaser.
What are the ingredients in this recipe?
- mixed baby greens
- fresh basil leaves
- seedless watermelon
- red onion
- dried figs
- balsamic vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt, black pepper
How to Make Watermelon Basil Salad
- In a large bowl, gently toss all of the ingredients together, except the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. (Here's How to Cut a Watermelon into Cubes, and How to Cut an Avocado.)
- Next, make a balsamic reduction. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. Bring to a strong simmer and cook to reduce by at least half, until you have a thick syrup.
- Just before serving, drizzle the balsamic reduction and olive oil over the salad, toss, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- As with most salads, it's best to cut and prepare all of the fresh ingredients as close to serving time as possible. That said, if you do want to chop things ahead of time, drizzle fresh lemon juice or fresh lime juice over the avocado so it keeps its color.
- The reason a watermelon feta salad is so popular is because of how amazing the salty feta is in combination with the juicy sweetness of the watermelon. However, if you'd like to use a substitute cheese, goat or blue cheese would also be delicious.
- You can substitute the dried figs with dried cherries, blueberries or finely chopped dates.
- Feel free to use any lettuce you like. I love the mixed baby greens because they add slightly different flavors and colors to the salad.
- If you want added crunch, pine nuts or pistachio nuts would be very tasty.
- This Watermelon Basil Salad recipe is one of my favorite summer side dish recipes, and it's also great for an entrée salad.
- It's perfect for a picnic or barbecue -- really, any summer lunch or dinner.
- One of my favorite ways to serve it is alongside Grilled Coffee Balsamic Steak or with Grilled Jalapeño Turkey Burgers.
Everyone loves watermelon recipes on hot summer days!
I hope you fall in love with my Watermelon Basil Salad, and that it becomes one of your your go-to summer salad recipes.
More summer watermelon recipes:
- Watermelon Pizza with Lime
- Compressed Watermelon
- Watermelon Cucumber Salsa
- Grilled Chile-Lime Watermelon
- Healthy Watermelon Recipes for Summer
Watermelon Basil Salad Recipe
- 8 cups loosely packed mixed baby greens
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (if leaves are large, tear or cut them into smaller pieces)
- 3 cups seedless watermelon, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 cup avocado, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 cup feta, cut into bite-sized cubes
- ¾ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ cup dried figs, cut into a small dice
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Combine ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, excluding the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, toss all of the ingredients together.
- Make balsamic reduction. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a strong simmer and cook to reduce by at least half, until you have a thick syrup. This should take less than 5 minutes.
- Assemble. Now drizzle the balsamic glaze and the oil over the salad, toss, and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
Such a gorgeous, delicious salad! I always love the addition of dried fruit, so this won me over immediately!
Thanks, Liz. Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
The recipe for this delight is already in the kitchen ! Altho' I rarely eat by the seasons the Antarctic gales upsetting the local applecart at the moment do not make one feel like purchasing watermelon ! Feta and figs sound great and the salad vibrantly appetizing . . . . thanks and hugs . . .
Thanks, Eha! And hugs right back to you. 🙂 ~Valentina
I could definitely see this salad in my future! Just perfect for the summer months. So many delicious colours, flavours and textures in this one, Valentina! Love the suggestion of adding some nuts, too. Can't wait to give this one a go, I know I'm gonna love it!
Thanks so much, Dawn. Hope it's a hit! 🙂 ~Valentina
I’ve played around with watermelon in salads for years, but usually keeping it simple, like watermelon and pecorino, or watermelon and tomato. But I love what you did here - just put all of the flavors and textures together and indulge!!!
Thank you! I'll try it with Pecorino next. Sounds delicious. 🙂 ~Valentina
David Scott Allen
A perfect summer salad. I would never have thought to add figs, as they seem so dark compared to the watermelon - but I bet you that is exactly why it works so well. Contrasts! Just sent this to a friend who is obsessing over watermelon salads this summer. (Already!)
Thanks for sharing the recipe, David. 🙂 ~Valentina
John / Kitchen Riffs
Love basil with watermelon. Your recipe looks great -- so many different flavors going on. Really good stuff -- thanks.
Thanks so much, John. Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop
This is a perfect summer salad!
Thank you! 🙂 ~Valentina
Growing up, I was one of those weirdo kids who didn't like watermelon. But as an adult, I've discovered that I love its cold, crunchy sweetness in salads. This one looks absolutely divine! Figs, feta, avocado and basil, oh my.
Well, I was a weirdo kid who didn't like avocados. I now adore them. 🙂 Happy you've come around on the watermelon. Thanks, Marissa, and enjoy! ~Valentina
It's so hot here! This is just perfect Valentina! Perfect lunch or dinner indeed!
Enjoy! Thanks, Davorka. 🙂 ~Valentina
Jeff the Chef @ Make It Like a Man!
Thanks for the recipe! I've been seeing watermelon in the stores now, and was starting to think that it was high time I bought one. I see a salad in my future!
Seems to me they're super sweet on the early side this year. I'll take it! Thanks for visiting, Jeff. 🙂 ~Valentina