Sweet and refreshing summer produces combines with a honey-lemon vinaigrette and feta in this watermelon cucumber salad! This recipe is ready in just 15 minutes using 10 ingredients (plus salt & pepper) and is the perfect addition to summertime meals.
This watermelon cucumber salad is the perfect addition to summertime meals on hot days because it is packed with bright and nutritious summer produce.
The best part? It's actually pretty easy to make and is bursting with flavor.
- Packed with produce: Sweet watermelon combines with bright, crisp cucumber, creamy avocado, and zesty arugula for a refreshing combination of contrasting flavors.
- Quick & easy: Ready in just 15 minutes using 10 ingredients (plus salt & pepper).
- Dressing: This salad features a sweet and simple honey lemon vinaigrette that ties everything together.
- Versatile: Perfect as a side at BBQs, picnics, and dinner parties during the summertime.
- Dietary features: vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegan optional
This is the kind of salad you want to eat on your front porch, fan blowing and crickets chirping. It's made for summer!
- Arugula adds a bright and almost spicy flavor that is abundant in spring and early summer.
- Watermelon: I like to refrigerate my watermelon the night before making this salad so that the salad is cold.
- Avocado: Choose a just-ripe avocado. The avocado is ripe if it yields slightly to a gentle press.
- Cucumber: I leave the seeds in but you can remove them if you prefer.
- Feta adds a touch of saltiness. Goat cheese crumbles would probably work if you don't like feta.
- Dill: I recommend using fresh dill. Dry dill doesn't work well here. An equal amount of fresh mint can be used if you don't like dill or it's not available.
Choosing a watermelon
The best watermelon salad has the sweetest, juiciest watermelon! Here are a few ways to tell if a watermelon is sweet and ripe:
- Color: It should have dark and dull skin. If it is shiny and light, it is likely not ripe.
- Size: Choose a watermelon that is heavy for its size. This means more water content, which means a juicier watermelon.
- Webbing: Sometimes watermelon has webs that look like scratches. This webbing means sweeter watermelon, especially if there is more of it.
One easy way to save time when preparing this salad is to buy a presliced watermelon. You can usually find this in the refrigerated produce section.
Step by step instructions
You could simply throw all of the ingredients together and end up with a delicious watermelon cucumber salad, but layering the salad is the way to go.
This makes for a great presentation and makes it so that you have a taste of each ingredient in every bite.
Layer your ingredients on a flat dish (I use a bread platter!) for easy serving:
- 1. Arugula
- 2. Watermelon
- 3. Cucumber and a sprinkle of salt
- 4. Avocado
- 5. Feta
- 6. Honey vinaigrette
- 7. Garnish
- Make it vegan: Choose dairy-free feta like Follow Your Heart brand and swap honey with agave to make a vegan watermelon cucumber salad.
- Save time: Slicing your own watermelon is more affordable but takes more time and makes for a lot of extra watermelon. Buy presliced for quicker prep. If you do slice your own watermelon you can freeze leftover slices for a cool treat!
- Prep ahead: The watermelon can be sliced up to 24 hours in advance. Keep refrigerated in a closed containe runtil ready to use.
Make ahead and storage tips
To make ahead
Most components of this salad can be made up 24 hours in advance. To do this, assemble everything except for the avocado. Wait to add the avocado until last minute because it will turn brown when exposed to air (it's still edible but not as attractive!).
You can make the vinaigrette ahead but wait to pour it onto the salad until just before serving.
Storage and leftovers
This salad is best served immediately but can be kept as leftovers. Leftovers will keep covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days. Avocado will brown when exposed to air so it is really best served immediately.
I recommend leaving off the dressing if you plan to keep it as leftovers because the dressing will wilt the greens when kept as leftovers.
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Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1-2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt divided in half
- 2 handfuls arugula about 2 cups
- 1 pound cubed watermelon
- ½ large cucumber half moons
- 1 large avocado cubed
- 2 tablespoons feta
- red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- fresh dill for garnish
- Make the vinaigrette in a small bowl by whisking together: olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, honey and ¼ teaspoon coarse salt. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad in a shallow serving dish. Make a bed of arugula. Sprinkle layers in the following order: cubed watermelon, sliced cucumber, sprinkle remaining ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, cubed avocado, feta.
- Just before serving, drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste. Garnish with fresh dill. Enjoy!