Watermelon and arugula salad

If there’s one thing we can’t seem to get enough of during these hot summer months, it’s watermelon.  Sweet, juicy and oh so refreshing.  We are all having a serious watermelon moment in our house.

So naturally I’m trying to find ways to sneak one of our favorite summer foods into some of my other favorite recipes.  And I have to tell you, I think this is one of my favorites.

This watermelon and arugula salad is so light and refreshing, with the perfect balance of sweet and savory.  It will have you craving for more, long after these hot summer months.

The base of the salad is a peppery wild arugula and a few thinly sliced red onions.  I like to keep my red onions very finely sliced, so I shave them on a mandoline to keep them paper thin.  Next I added a sprinkle of salty fetta and a handful of pistachios for some crunch.

The star of the salad though are the big juicy hunks of diced watermelon.  I used a lot of watermelon in this particular dish, and I’m so glad I did.  Almost as much watermelon as arugula, and the balance was great.  It really felt like a watermelon dish. 

For the dressing I wanted to do something that would compliment the sweetness of the fruit, and not overpower it, so I made a vinaigrette with lemon, mint and basil.   The earthy herbaceous notes of the dressing were such a great balance with the sweet fruit.  Mint and basil are my favorite herbs to combine in a dressing, and just so happen to be my favorite herbs to pair with watermelon so it was a natural combination.

I am so happy with the way this salad came together, and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.  Light, healthy, delicious, and can we talk about those colors?  A gorgeous salad for easy entertaining, but simple enough for a quick weekday lunch.

Watermelon and arugula salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 cups of arugula, rinsed and dried
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced (I like to use a madoline for this)
  • ¼ cup of good quality fetta cheese
  • ¼ cup of pistachios
  • 4 cups of watermelon (cut into ½" cubes)
  • handful of chopped mint
  • handful of chopped basil
  • For the dressing
  • 1 shallot
  • the juice and zest of one lemon
  • ¼ tsp of kosher salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 5 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3-5 mint leaves
  • 3-5 basil leaves
  1. Rinse and dry arugula and arrange in serving bowl or platter
  2. top with thinly sliced red onion, fetta and pistachios
  3. Delicately top with pieces of cubed watermelon
  4. For the dressing
  5. In a high-speed blender add shallot, lemon juice/zest, salt/pepper, mustard, honey, and olive oil. Blend of medium speed for 30 seconds. Taste and adjust amount of seasoning and/or oil as necessary (I find that depending on how much juice I get from one lemon, I need to add more/less olive oil to get a consistency I like).
  6. Add chopped basil/mint to the blender and blend on low speed for 15-20 seconds (don't over blend herbs).
  7. Pour dressing into a small glass container.
  8. To finish salad, drizzle a generous amount of the herb vinaigrette on top of watermelon. Toss gently. Garnish with chopped basil and mint. Add additional fetta, pistachios according to personal preference.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

For other salad inspiration check out my wild arugula and pansy salad, or my crispy chickpea and kale salad.

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