When it comes to summer salads, this watermelon salad with basil and feta is at the very top of my list. There is no cooking involved and very little chopping and just a few simple, summery ingredients.
It’s also very customizable and you could add all kinds of ingredients to it to make it yours.
While some watermelon salads use feta just crumbled on top, I like to make a base of whipped feta to serve the watermelon salad on. It’s creamy, tangy, and the perfect complement to sweet summer watermelon.
How to make the whipped feta
The whipped feta is really the only thing you have to prepare for this recipe. Add your feta to a food processor along with some fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Process that mixture until it’s creamy and smooth.
If you can I would buy a block of feta for this recipe rather than the crumbled feta which tends to be dryer. If that’s all you can find, you can definitely use it but you might need to add a little more lemon juice or even water to loosen the feta a bit.
The final texture should be spreadable, but not pourable.
What flavor mixes well with watermelon?
Is there anything better than a slice of perfectly ripe watermelon in the summer? The answer is yes.
Pairing watermelon with herbs and bright flavors completely takes it to another level. Even just drizzling your normal slice of watermelon with a little olive oil and good salt will prove my point!
But, if we are making a salad, I like the star to be the watermelon so I don’t like to add a ton of other ingredients. I kept this version pretty simple with some sliced red onions, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and good salt.
Be sure to check out the substitutions section below for some ideas for other riffs on this watermelon salad with basil.
What goes well with watermelon salad?
This is a bright and fresh salad and should be served alongside anything grilled or roasted. It would go really well with something like this Grilled citrus chicken or these grilled pork shoulder steaks!
I wouldn’t be afraid to serve this salad next to big, sturdy flavors or spicy flavors. It holds up well.
Other ingredients you could add to this salad
The substitution list for this salad could go on and on! Here’s a start to get your brain thinking.
- Beef up the add-ins with sliced cucumbers, sliced peppers, or crunchy nuts like pine nuts.
- A wide variety of fresh herbs would be fine in this salad, but fresh mint is an obvious substitution for the basil if you prefer that.
- Change up the cheese by using goat cheese (which you can also whip) or use cubed feta cheese if you don’t want to bother with the whipping.
- To add some extra flavor to the salad, try a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top.
- Make it spicy! Add some fresh chili to the salad and hit it with some Tajin spice before serving.
How to make this watermelon salad in advance (storage)
This salad is great to make in advance, but I would keep the whipped feta separate until just before you serve it. If you combine them too early, the feta will draw a lot of moisture out of the watermelon and get watery.
If the feta gets too hard in the fridge, let it come to room temperature and then blitz it in the food processor again right before serving.
Cube up the watermelon and add it to the whipped feta either on a large plate or in a large bowl. I think a plate works best for the whipped salad version.
This salad is a total crowd pleaser and will be a hit at any summer meal.
Watermelon Salad with Basil and Whipped Feta
- 6 oz. feta
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small lemon, juice only
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 6 cups chopped watermelon, seedless
- ½ red onion, sliced thin
- Fresh Basil, garnish
- Olive oil
- Flakey Salt
- To make whipped feta, add feta to a food processor with lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Process until smooth, about a minute. Adjust until you have the right consistency. You might need more liquid depending on your feta.
- Spread whipped feta out on a large platter. Top with cubed watermelon. (Seedless is best).
- Top with slivered red onion and fresh basil.
- Drizzle with good quality olive oil and flakey salt.
- Serve immediately.