It’s so hot all I can eat these days is watermelon salad.
Well… watermelon and anything smoothie like, and whatever leftovers I have cold from the fridge… but mostly just watermelon salad.
I’ve done most of my watermelon eating this summer in the car between New Orleans and Houston. A little summer road trip always calls for a passenger seat full of snacks, including, but not limited, to a giant container of cold cubbed watermelon. Only once did that container fly to the passenger seat floor when I had to unexpectedly hit the brakes. It was less than fun to clean up but I remain undeterred.
When I have the time and kitchen, this salad is my preferred way to watermelon. It’s sweet and juicy (as watermelon go), but also salty, acidic, and crunchy. It’s just about every satisfying texture in one very might and bright salad. This is the sort of fruit meets savory salad that comfortable makes its home at any picnic or summer pizza night or straight from the fridge on a blistering day. Now, let’s!
Here’s what you need to make this easy summer watermelon salad:
• a watermelon – I like the 5 pound seedless variety.
• an English cucumber, skin on and sliced thin
• salt, sugar, and rice wine vinegar to quick pickle the cucumbers.
• feta cheese though goat cheese is a good substitute if feta feels too salty for you.
• roasted and salted pistachios for crunch and fresh chives and mint for brightness.
• olive oil and red wine vinegar to bring all of the ingredients together.
• sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper for extra credit.
Before I cube the watermelon, I like to quick pickle the cucumbers.
This will give them a shock of acid, salty, sweet flavor to the otherwise bland cucumbers. They don’t need a long soak – just as long as it takes to cut up the melon.
I pick a watermelon by looking for the heaviest melon with a yellow sun spot. That’s how you know the watermelon has really been baking in the sun to summer sweetness.
Cut the watermelon into small, bite-sized cubes.
It’s all downhill from here.
Add the quick picked cucumber (discarding any liquid in the bowl).
Add the crumbled feta, fresh herbs, and chopped pistachios. Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar and gently toss it all together.
I’ve used my clean hands to toss the salad together just to keep the watermelon from breaking down.
Scoop it all onto a platter and chill before serving. This salad is best served cold because literally no one wants warm watermelon.
I topped mine with extra feta and pistachios and a few good pinches of salt and pepper.
Bring this as your impressive picnic offering (along with a bag of pita chips because they’re delicious together), or simply post up on the couch for a light and satisfying summer dinner.
This is how we watermelon, friends. Happy summer!
Oh! See also: Watermelon Strawberry Citrus SangriaPrint
A light and bright summer watermelon salad with feta, quick picked cucumber slices, and chopped pistachios.
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 6 heaping cups bite-sized watermelon chunks
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese, plus more for topping
- 1/2 cup shelled salted pistachios, coarsely chopped, plus more for topping
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- 3 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Flakey sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Place sliced cucumber in a small bowl. Top with vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and sugar and toss to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes while the rest of the salad is assembled.
- In a large bowl combine watermelon, feta, pistachios, chives, mint, and a good splash of olive oil and vinegar. Toss in marinated cucumbers, discarding the vinegar mixture left behind. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and top with more feta and pistachios. Sprinkle with salt and pepper just before serving. Chill until ready to serve.
Keywords: salad, summer, watermelon, feta, pistachios, joy the baker, summer salad, watermelon salad,
Photos with my friend Jon Melendez.