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The Watermelon Arugula Salad is a delightful and vibrant dish featuring crisp watermelon, zesty arugula, rich feta cheese, and crunchy pecans coated in a refreshing lemon dressing and garnished with finely chopped mint leaves.

An arugula salad with watermelon and feta.

Today’s delicious salad screams summer! Each bite of the salad with watermelon and feta transports you to the poolside, sipping on a summery cocktail and soaking up the sun.

And don’t get me started with this lemon salad dressing recipe, y’all. It’s the perfect bright taste to bring this recipe to the next level, but it can boost the flavor of just about any salad!

I’m so excited to start sharing more and more warm weather and sunshine-inspired recipes! If you’re looking for more fruity Summer Salad Recipes, try this Strawberry Spinach Salad with refreshing lemon vinaigrette and crunchy walnuts.

Or skip the leafy greens and enjoy this mouth-watering Mexican Fruit Salad packed with sweet and spicy flavors! Another of my favorites is the Creamy Grape Salad recipe with pecans, brown sugar, and juicy grapes.

Ingredient Notes

  • Watermelon: Choose a ripe and sweet watermelon for the best flavor. Seedless watermelon gives each bite a crisp texture and a sugary-sweet taste.
  • Baby Arugula: I love how the baby arugula’s peppery flavor beautifully contrasts the sweet watermelon and rich honey in the lemon salad dressing– YUM! Use baby arugula for a milder flavor, but if you prefer a more peppery taste, you can use regular arugula.
  • Feta: Crumbled feta cheese also enhances the sweeter notes in this salad recipe and lends a creamier, more savory taste.
  • Red onion: The intense flavor of bright diced red onions gives the salad a kick!
  • Pecans: Include chopped pecans for more diversity in texture and much-needed protein. Walnuts or almonds will also do the trick! 
  • Mint: To top it all off, sprinkle the salad with chopped fresh mint leaves for a final layer to the refreshing summer flavors in this recipe. Trade the mint for fresh basil if you prefer a more mild taste.
  • Lemon juice: For plenty of citrus flavor, add freshly squeezed lemon juice to the dressing.
  • Olive oil: I prefer extra virgin olive oil, which has a smooth flavor that compliments the sweet honey and bright lemon.
  • Honey: Add sweetness to the dressing with rich honey that brings out more watermelon flavor.
  • Lemon zest: Boost the lemony taste with zingy lemon zest!
  • Salt and pepper: Finally, round out the flavors with a dash of salt and pepper to your liking.
Image of labeled ingredients needed to make watermelon arugula feta salad.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Alternative Greens: Not everyone is a fan of peppery arugula. So, if preferred, make this salad on a bed of baby spinach, kale, or mixed greens.
  • Make it Less Sweet: For a less sweet take on this salad recipe, omit the rich and sugary honey or replace it with mild agave. Or drizzle the salad with balsamic vinegar for a sweet yet tangy taste. And for something totally different, try maple syrup!
  • Make it a Meal: Serve this salad as a complete meal by adding a protein like chicken.
  • Swap the Cheese: Add more cheese or substitute the feta crumbles with tangy goat cheese, sharp blue cheese, classic parmesan, or even creamy cottage cheese.

How To Make the Best Watermelon Salad Recipe

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Mix the dressing

When making the dressing, whisk the lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper together first, and then gradually whisk in the olive oil to emulsify the dressing.

Collage image showing ingredients for the lemon dressing and the dressing in a glass bowl mixed together.

Step 2 | Coat the arugula with dressing

Next, toss the arugula into a large bowl and swirl the dressing on top. Gently toss the simple lemon salad dressing with the greens until completely coated.

Collage image showing a jar of lemon salad dressing, watermelon being cut on a board, and a bowl of salad.

Step 3 | Add the toppings & serve

Finally, top the arugula salad with feta cheese crumbles, delicious pecans, diced red onion, sweet watermelon, and refreshing mint! Then, serve into salad bowls and enjoy!

Tips

  • Make sure to dry the arugula well before using it in the salad. Wet greens can dilute the dressing and make the salad soggy.
  • Crumble the feta cheese by hand instead of using pre-packaged crumbled cheese. This will give you better flavor and texture.
  • Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until they are fragrant and lightly browned. This will enhance their flavor and crunch.
  • Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the red onion. Soaking the onion in cold water for a few minutes before using it in the salad can help to mellow its flavor and reduce its pungency.
  • Double the Dressing– You can easily double or quadruple the ingredients to store in the fridge and use later in the week. It’s great on grilled meat or other summer salads.  
Lemon vinaigrette dressing being drizzled over a salad.

Recipe FAQ’s

Why do watermelon and feta taste good together?

If you haven’t tried it before, the sound of watermelon combined with feta cheese may sound a bit odd. But you’ll just have to see for yourself– These two simple ingredients are absolutely DELISH together! The sugary sweetness of the watermelon is enhanced because of the contrast with the creamy and salty feta cheese, making a beautiful balance of flavors.

What other dressings go well with watermelon and arugula salad?

Switch things up next time you serve this recipe by drizzling it with another dressing. A popular pick is a simple vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Or try it with a honey lime dressing that includes fresh lime juice, honey, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

How do you choose the best watermelon?

There are a few secrets to finding the tastiest and most ripe watermelon from the local grocery store or farmer’s market. First, look for a yellow spot. This may seem like a bad sign, but the yellow area shows that the melon was sitting in the field a little after it ripened, indicating that it’s super ripe, sweet, and delicious.

You can also judge a watermelon by its weight. It should be heavy, no matter how large or small, indicating it’s filled with plenty of juice. And finally, knock on the surface of the melon to hear a hollow sound. If it sounds dull, it may be overripe.

Storage & Make Ahead Instructions

Make-ahead: You can prepare the individual components of the salad in advance and store them separately. Cut the watermelon and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Wash and dry the arugula and store it in a resealable bag with a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Slice the red onion, chop the pecans and mint leaves, and store them separately in airtight containers.

You can also prepare the dressing in advance and store it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Refrigerate for Later: If you have leftovers or make this recipe ahead of time, I highly recommend storing the salad separately from the dressing, or the greens and other ingredients won’t hold up well in the fridge.

When stored in different airtight containers, both should last up to three days.

Freeze for Long-term Storage: The salad won’t freeze well, but this dressing is perfect for making extra and storing it for later use. If you don’t think you’ll use it within a week of making it, you can freeze the dressing in an ice tray or a freezer-safe container.

Then, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator for use the following day– EASY!

An arugula salad with watermelon and feta cheese on a plate.

What to Serve with Watermelon Feta Mint Salad

Since this watermelon and arugula salad is basically summer in a salad bowl, it’s an excellent side for other summary dishes, like Marinated Grilled Chicken and Rice Pilaf. Or fry it with classic Grilled Steak and Chicken Kabobs, perfect for a summer cookout!

If you’re craving comfort food, I suggest serving this refreshing watermelon and feta salad with warm Grilled Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad that includes crisp veggies and rotini pasta, all tossed in a light dressing.

Delicious Homemade Sauces and Dressings

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An arugula salad with watermelon and feta.
Recipe
5 from 5 votes

(click stars to rate)

Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
The Watermelon Arugula Salad is a delightful and vibrant dish featuring crisp watermelon, zesty arugula, rich feta cheese, and crunchy pecans coated in a refreshing lemon dressing and garnished with finely chopped mint leaves.
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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups watermelon cubes, cut into 1 inch
  • 5 ounces baby arugula, 5 cups
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, chopped (about 5-10 leaves)

Lemon Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • lemon zest, (from 1 lemon)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper until mixed together. Then gradually whisk in the olive oil to emulsify the dressing (until well combined).
  • Place arugula in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing on top, gently toss until well coated.
  • Top with feta cheese, pecans, red onion, watermelon, and mint. Serve promptly.

Notes

  • Make sure to dry the arugula well before using it in the salad. Wet greens can dilute the dressing and make the salad soggy.
  • Crumble the feta cheese by hand instead of using pre-packaged crumbled cheese. This will give you better flavor and texture.
  • Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until they are fragrant and lightly browned. This will enhance their flavor and crunch.
  • Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the red onion. Soaking the onion in cold water for a few minutes before using it in the salad can help to mellow its flavor and reduce its pungency.
  • Double the Dressing– You can easily double or quadruple the ingredients to store in the fridge and use later in the week. It’s great on grilled meat or other summer salads.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 247kcal (12%) Carbohydrates: 12g (4%) Protein: 8g (16%) Fat: 20g (31%) Saturated Fat: 6g (38%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 33mg (11%) Sodium: 440mg (19%) Potassium: 309mg (9%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 7g (8%) Vitamin A: 1555IU (31%) Vitamin C: 16mg (19%) Calcium: 262mg (26%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this salad for lunch today and it was exactly the pick me up I needed! Light, refreshing and delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    I adore watermelon. In a salad with the feta was just next level. The mix of the saltiness and juiciness was a match made in heaven.

  3. 5 stars
    The fresh flavors in this salad combine together with the homemade lemon dressing perfectly.

  4. 5 stars
    The juicy watermelon, tangy feta cheese, and spicy arugula make for a refreshing and satisfying salad, especially during the summer months.