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 dressing 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 melon 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.
- mixed baby greens
- fresh basil leaves - Look for perky bunches of basil and avoid any brown, bruised or yellow leaves.
- seedless watermelon - Indications of a ripe watermelon are strong, consistent stripe pattern and a dull finish.
- feta cheese - Be sure to get a block of feta rather than crumbled. A block of Feta sold in brine is best.
- avocado - Ripe avocados should yield to firm gentle pressure. It should feel slightly soft but not “mushy” to the touch.
- red onion - Choose onions that are firm, heavy for their size and without bruises.
- dried figs - Any variety.
- balsamic vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil - I like this one.
- salt - I use Kosher salt. I prefer it for a few reasons: its larger flake size, it's less refined and usually doesn't contain additives, and it does a great job enhancing the flavor of foods without making them taste salty.
- black pepper - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
Substitutions and Variations
- Feta. 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.
- Dried figs. You can substitute the dried figs with dried cherries, dried blueberries or finely chopped dates.
- Mixed baby greens. 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.
- 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.
How to Make Watermelon Basil Salad
- 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 the Watermelon Feta Basil Salad, 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.)
- 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.
More Summer Watermelon Recipes
- Watermelon Pizza with Lime
- Compressed Watermelon
- Watermelon Cucumber Salsa
- Grilled Chile-Lime Watermelon
- Fresh Melon Cake with Balsamic Glaze
Everyone loves watermelon recipes on hot summer days!
I hope you fall in love with my Watermelon Basil Feta Salad, and that it becomes one of your your go-to summer salad recipes.
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.)