Watermelon just screams summer and this refreshing Watermelon Tomato Salad with Feta and Balsamic tastes great when the summer heat kicks in. The cold, sweet watermelon, topped with arugula, tomatoes, onion and salty feta, gets a drizzle of tangy, sweet balsamic reduction in this mouth watering salad! I love to serve this along side grilled Lemon Garlic Herb Chicken but it pairs well with steak, pork or fish too.
When summer gets going it seems like there is even less time for preparing meals, so having a recipe like this one is ideal. You really just need to assemble this salad and it takes just a few minutes to make the balsamic reduction. The balsamic reduction can even be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator so it is ready whenever you want it. And just look at how gorgeous this looks plated!
How to pick a ripe watermelon:
There are few things as good as a juicy sweet watermelon in the summer. But picking a good one can sometimes be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you select a ripe watermelon:
- Look for a yellow spot on the underside of the melon. This is called the field spot and it is the area of the watermelon that was laying on the ground. If the watermelon doesn’t have a field spot it means it was not sitting in the sun long enough and will likely not be fully ripe.
- It should be heavy for it’s size. Watermelons are about 92% water and when they are ripe and juicy they will be mostly water. So pick the heaviest of the bunch and you will have the ripest one.
- Thump the melon. If it sounds hollow then that is a good sign that it is juicy and ready to eat.
- Avoid a shiny watermelon. This means that it was not sitting in the sun very long and may not be ripe yet.
For the salad
This beautiful salad has some very simple ingredients. Watermelon of course is the main ingredient. Cherry tomatoes, feta, arugula and red onion are the only other ingredients that you need.
For the dressing
I make a very easy balsamic reduction using Balsamic vinegar and sugar. You can use your favorite balsamic vinegar flavor. I have made this in the past with plain, raspberry, pear and fig flavored balsamic vinegars and it is equally fabulous with any of them.
How to make this watermelon salad
Start by making the balsamic reduction. Doing this first will allow it to cool down while you prepare and assemble the rest of the salad. Simply heat the vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pan and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and reduced be half. You know it is done when it sticks to the back of a spoon.
I like to slice the watermelon into half slice triangles about 1/2″ thick. You can also cube it or use a watermelon baller if you want smaller bite size peices.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and slice the onion.
Then assemble the salad by laying the watermelon on a platter, top it with the arugula, tomato, onion and feta and serve with the balsamic reduction.
I recommend not putting the dressing on all of the salad, but rather, pass it and allow everyone to dress their own salad. This will ensure that any leftovers will remain crisp. Store the leftovers covered tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. It will stay fresh and crisp for several days in the refrigerator.
In this recipe I use feta and that is the most common cheese paired with watermelon. The reason this works so well is because the salty feta compliments the sweet watermelon so well. But you can use other cheeses as well. I have made this with goat cheese and with shaved parmesan cheese and they are both delicious substitutions.
If your watermelon is not as sweet as you would like, you can alter the flavor a bit to make it sweeter. You can add a squeeze of lime juice and sprinkle some lime zest on it or you can add a little salt which brings out the watermelon’s natural sweetness.
If you like this salad here are a few others you may enjoy:
Watermelon Tomato Salad with Feta & Balsamic
- 8 slices Watermelon 1/2" thick slices, rinds removed
- ¼ cup Feta Cheese crumbled
- 2 cups Arugula
- 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes halved
- ¼ Red Onion sliced
- 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Sugar
- Mix the balsamic vinegar and the sugar in a small sauce pan set over medium heat. When the balsamic vinegar starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and allow it to cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced by half. The balsamic mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool to room Temperature
Assemble the Salad
- Arrange watermelon on a platter. Spread the arugula, tomatoes, onion and feta evenly over the watermelon. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad and serve.