Watermelon Salad

This is not the watermelon salad of our youth.  Wait a minute…I don’t think there was a watermelon salad of our youth.  We just ate watermelon. Straight up.  No accoutrements. You know what I mean.

Well, times have changed, and while there was a version of watermelon salad with lemon pudding that appeared in my college years (along with a certain someone, but that’s a story for another time) and was downright fantastic, now we have moved on to mixing the sweet with the savory.  The sweet of course is the melon, but also a little lime in the dressing to zaz it up.  The savory?  Onions and feta.  It may sound strange, or not all, as this combination has been around for a while.  I first had it a little over a year ago at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in the Napa Valley.  That version was a tad spicy but still I was sold.  Try this milder one at your next barbecue, or book club (like I did), or anyplace where American fare is the menu du jour.

Adapted from Paula Deen and Pat and Gina Neely.
Serves 8-10.  Halve the ingredients for a smaller group.
  • 6 cups diced seedless watermelon
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • the zest of one lime
  • 1 avocado diced (optional and I don’t recommend if there will be leftovers)

For the dressing

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each)

Obviously, one mixes, then tosses, above ingredients.  However, one important strategy is that once the dressing is made (do this first by putting all the ingredients in a jar and shaking…wait a minute, zest your lime before that), add the sliced onions to the dressing so that they soften a bit while you chop the watermelon and prepare the rest of the salad.  If not serving immediately, keep the onions in the dressing.  When you finally do serve, spoon the onions on top of the salad before adding the dressing as you might not want to add quite all of the dressing.  Add in increments and taste so as not overdress.   If you’re adding avocado, do so at the last minute to avoid browning. 

You can take this salad in other directions by adding arugula, pine nuts, or by swapping red onions and goat cheese for the Vidalias and the feta.  It really doesn’t  matter since the watermelon is the star.  This time I went with simple.  I didn’t want to overpower our menu ,after all, where Molly’s Corn Casserole, Norma’s Japanese Carrots (ok, well, not so American) and Barb’s Roasted Veggies were big hits.

I think you’re going to need those recipes soon as well.  Guess post anyone?


About Liza M.

foodie, francophile, Ann Arborite, teacher, bookworm and self-professed latte-lover--come cook with me!
This entry was posted in salads, sides. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Watermelon Salad

  1. … and where Maeve’s roasted red pepper roll-ups were an unequivocal smash success. (I think you forgot that part, so I’m adding it. I’m sure it was merely an oversight.) 😉

  2. Pat says:

    Looks and sounds great! Michelle gave us a similar recipe a couple of years ago that we have tried and enjoyed.

  3. Cynthia says:

    I like any place named “Cindy”

  4. Chez Loulou says:

    One of my favorite summer salads! I’ve never tried it with avocado though. Great idea!

    • Liza M. says:

      Isn’t it refreshing? Actually, I’m on the fence about the avocado. I wrote optional because I’m not sure it did much for the salad. Avocados were on sale that week so I went with it, but it looked kind of gross the next day as you can imagine.

  5. Love it, must bought my first watermelon of the season and this is on my list to try. PS mentioned it on my blog post this week, it looked so good!

  6. Pat says:

    I’m reviewing your posts and see you requested Michelle’s (actually David’s) watermelon salad recipe. It isn’t on the computer, so I have put it on my to-do list to get it to you.

    • Liza M. says:

      No worries, Pat. I looked at the recipe when Rick and I were talking. It’s basically same as mine with some arugula. I’ve actually made that version before as well.

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