This Watermelon Salad Recipe is full of fresh and lively flavors!
This ain’t your mama’s watermelon salad recipe, nor is it your neighbors. This one is packed with some unexpected and delicious secrets. Your guests will go CRAZY for it, and they’ll never guess the secret ingredient.
This has always been a super popular recipe at our Ember and Vine summer catering events!
It’s a great one for a small family or huge summer gathering.
Folks are always surprised when they take their first bite, because at first glance they think it’s one of those typical watermelon salads with mint and citrus. But no…..
We’ve got some secrets tucked in there, and they do not involve mint or citrus.
For this watermelon salad we’re leaning towards savory flavors to make it easier to pair with wine. Mint can be tricky with wine, and the citrus is really best left for acidic white wines.
Watermelon Salad Ingredients
- Basil – Adds a touch of spice and a subtle influence that is fragrant.
- White Balsamic Vinegar – A great contrast to the sweet from fresh watermelons and a light acidic touch.
- Kosher Salt — to bring out all the flavors.
Yes! The combination is so delicious, and it may throw people off a bit at first, but after their first bite, eyes open wide and they look at you and give you that smile of approval that quietly says, “Oh yeah. This is goooood!”
“It’s so different,” they’ll say. “But I love it!” they’ll continue.
The flavors, combined with a hint of kosher salt, create this great balance of savory and sweet, and work great when you pair them with wine, even a red like Pinot Noir. No lie! We’ve even served this watermelon salad at a wedding (!!!), and it was served with Pinot.
We also shared this salad with the awesome folks at Portland’s News Program, AM Northwest, live on TV!
On the show I got to discuss my favorite ways to fully utilize a whole watermelon without resorting to the typical wedge slices. I used half for this salad, and the other half for this amazing Sparkling Watermelon Cocktail.
Both are creative and delicious uses for all that watermelon out there right now. And the best part is that they are both totally budget-friendly dishes!
How to make Watermelon Salad
- Slice Watermelon: cut watermelon into 1” cubes.
- Make Dressing: combine white balsamic, chopped basil, and kosher salt.
- Toss: mix together and serve.
When we usually make it for large events or summer gatherings we use the entire watermelon. A medium-large size watermelon will usually serve around 20-25 people. But for a smaller portion you can start with just a quarter of a watermelon. This should yield roughly 8 cups. The proportions are so easy that you can adjust the flavors based on your size crowd.
I’ve adjusted this recipe to quarter of a watermelon, which should happily feed around 6-8 people. The notes contain a whole watermelon portion, good for larger crowds.
Watermelon Salad Recipe with Basil and White Balsamic Vinegar
More Fun Salads
- Grilled Beet Salad with Rosé Infused Cranberries
- Cucumber Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing
- Black Bean Salad
- Grilled Acorn Squash Salad
- Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage
Thank you so very much to the amazing crew at AM Northwest for inviting us back again and again! We are truly honored to cook for you and your awesome crew!
This post was originally published in August of 2016, and updated in May of 2020 with updated information.
WOW this salad and cocktail look like the best use of watermelon ever! Thanks for sharing!
Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife says
Yum! I use regular balsamic vinegar in our watermelon salad from time to time but have never tried white balsamic vinegar – it sounds wonderful! Can’t beat a cool watermelon salad on a hot day.
Haha, don’t worry your nails look like you actually use your hands! And I love the idea of basil and balsamic in a watermelon salad. Can’t wait to try it!