Watermelon basil salad is so simple, refreshing and deceivingly delicious with only 6 ingredients! An easy and popular side dish for your barbecues and warm summer nights.
It’s so easy and comes together in 10 minutes or less. This version doesn’t use cheese, but it would be great with feta if you want to add it.
Why you’ll love this watermelon salad recipe:
- It’s so simple – don’t fuss with fancy dressings. Sometimes less is more. Yes you could add red onion or feta cheese, but it really doesn’t need it!
- It’s deceivingly delicious. Basil and balsamic vinegar are literally a perfect pair. They tie this salad together and make the watermelon and tomatoes sing in harmony!
- It’s a great way to use abundant summer produce. I don’t know about you, but I always have half a basket of tomatoes or half a watermelon in my fridge over the summer. Instead of letting them shrivel up, toss the watermelon, basil, tomato and cucumber with olive oil and vinegar – viola!
- It’s made with whole food, nutritious ingredients and easily fits into many nutritional lifestyles including paleo, gluten free, dairy free, whole30, vegan and AIP friendly.
What’s nutritious about this salad?
Both tomatoes and watermelon contain an antioxidant called lycopene which gives them a red pigment. This antioxidant is known to promote immune, heart and mens health.
It’s known that a variety of fruits and vegetables are beneficial, especially for gut health. This side dish is a delicious way to get variety into your diet.
Fresh and dried herbs are a fantastic way to boost the flavor and nutrients in your food. Basil is one of my favorite summer herbs and is no exception containing antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.
So many watermelon salads will use cheese like feta or mozzarella. This watermelon without cheese is delicious, but if you feel like it, add cheese if you wish. Watermelon basil feta would be amazing, or add mozzarella for a caprese-esque watermelon salad.
Sometimes fruit is hard to digest with proteins, so if you feel a little gassy, do what feels best for you and that may mean skipping the cheese.
Swap mint for basil. Basil is actually part of the mint family. Either one, or both, would be delicious in this watermelon salad.
Add thin slices of chili or chili flakes for a kick!
Serve on a skewer as an appetizer or fun kids snack.
How to make a watermelon basil salad:
This salad is incredibly simple to make. Just cut the watermelon, tomato and cucumber and basil and toss it together. Here are my favorite knife cuts, but do what you’d prefer. The flavors will still be great!
Watermelon: dice into 1 inch cubes.
Cherry Tomatoes: slice in half. This will help the tomatoes absorb the flavors or the salad
Cucumbers: if you’re using persian cucumbers, just cut into ¼ inch slices. If you’re using english cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise then continue to cut into ¼ inch slices. This adds texture and also opens the cucumber to seasoning.
Fresh Basil: chiffonade. If you’ve never heard of a chiffonade it’s a fancy way of saying slice into thin long strips. The easiest way to do this is to pick the individual basil leaves, stack them in a pile, tightly roll up the pile of basil, then thinly slice the basil perpendicular to the curl. It’s not just a fancy knife cut, but will also help to reduce bruising and retain more of the flavor of the basil.
What is watermelon salad made of?
Watermelon salad is made of watermelon, tomato, cucumber, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. This salad is reminiscent of a caprese salad without the mozzarella. If you’d like to add cheese, it’d be great with crumbled feta!
What pairs with watermelon salad?
Watermelon pairs well with flavors like mint, basil, lemon, lime, honey, salt, vinegar, cheese, cucumber, tomato, coconut, and other fruits like berries, cherries, peaches and other melons.
How long is watermelon good for in the fridge?
Ripe watermelon will stay good in the fridge for up to 1 week. Cut melons will also stay well up to one week when stored in an airtight container.
How to store or make ahead:
This watermelon salad can keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
However, for the best flavors you can prepare the watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes in advance, but slice and toss in the basil with the olive oil and vinegar when you’re ready to serve.
Other summer salads you’ll love:
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Watermelon Basil Salad with balsamic and cucumber
- 2 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup sliced cucumber about 2 persian cucumber
- ¾ cup thinly sliced basil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- Add all prepped ingredients to a large bowl including the watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber and basil. Then drizzle in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt, and toss to combine.
- Enjoy as a snack or side salad.