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Watermelon Salad – A Light & Refreshing Picnic Side Dish Recipe

Watermelon Salad has become all the rage this summer when it comes to making a picnic side dish recipe. Chunks of watermelon tossed with thin slices of red onion and cucumber and tossed in an easy to make homemade dressing.

If the combination sounds a little odd to you, don’t worry. The flavors of the ingredients, along with the sweet vinegar dressing, pair perfectly together.

It is a light and refreshing recipe that I love to have in my refrigerator all summer long! Not to mention that it is the perfect picnic side dish to take to all those summer gatherings.

watermelon salad as a picnic side dish
Watermelon salad made with watermelon, red onion, cucumbers, and mint and then topped with Feta cheese. A light and refreshing side dish recipe.

Many of us have heard or make Cucumber, Onion & Tomato Salad. And this is just another twist on that classic recipe.

However, instead of using tomatoes in the recipe, watermelon is added instead. It is a great way to use a large ripe watermelon in the middle of summer.

Then a classic honey vinegar dressing is drizzled on top and fresh mint is added to the salad for another refreshing layer of flavor.

You can even get more creative by crumbling Feta cheese or small chunks of Mozzarella on top when serving. Not only is it delicious, but it is a beautiful dish as well!

However, before you get started on the recipe, you first have to pick out the perfectly sweet watermelon.

How To Pick The Best Watermelon For Watermelon Salad

1. Round or oval shaped watermelons are fine to purchase. However avoid purchasing a watermelon with irregular shapes or very elongated.

2. Look for dull colored rind as the watermelon will be sweeter than if it was shiny or glossy.

3. When you examine the outer surface of a watermelon, be sure to pick one that has an orange or yellow color field spot. The watermelons with a white field spot are not quite ripe.

4. Pick a heavy watermelon. Although all watermelons are fairly heavy, you want to pick one that is heavy for its size. They have a larger water content and therefore are sweeter.

5. Pick one with lots of webbing on the surface. Often known as sugar leaking, these webs indicate that the watermelon is nice and sweet.

orange spot on rind of watermelon
Pick a watermelon that has a yellow or orange spot rather than a white field spot because the melon will be sweeter.

Watermelon Salad Recipe

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.


Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Black pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 8 cups seedless Watermelon, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Cucumber halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced thin
  • 1 medium Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 3 TBSP fresh Mint leaves, finely diced

For Serving, Optional

  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
  • Diced Mozzarella Balls
  • Mint leaves


The first step in making watermelon salad is to cube the watermelon. Start by washing the exterior surface of the watermelon.

Although you will not be eating the rind, the knife that you use to cut it will be going through to the watermelon flesh. And you don’t want any dirt to get inside the watermelon.

Use a large, sharp knife and cut the watermelon in half through the center. Then place the watermelon, flesh side down, and cut each half in half again.

cubed watermelon for a picnic side dish
Cut the watermelon in 1 inch cubes for the ease of eating.

Use the knife to remove the rind of each section. Then cut the watermelon into 1 inch x 1 inch size pieces.

Measure out 8 cups of the watermelon cubes and place them in a large serving bowl. Now prepare the cucumber and red onion.

Start by slicing the red onion in half and remove the skin. Then slice each half into thin strips.

Next, slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the seed core. Then cut each half into thin slices.

Add the prepared cucumbers and onions into the bowl with the watermelon. Then dice the mint and add it to the bowl. Toss to combine and set aside.

Homemade Dressing

Make the dressing by adding the apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, honey, salt and pepper to a small bowl or mason jar. Whisk or shake until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Drizzle on the dressing on top of the watermelon, cucumber, onion mixture and use a large spoon or tongs to toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

homemade dressing
The dressing is very similar to the cucumber, onion and tomato salad dressing made with apple cider vinegar, oil and honey.

Right before serving sprinkle the Feta or Mozzarella cheese and additional mint leaves on the watermelon salad if desired.

Refrigerate for up to 4 days. As the salad sits, liquid from the watermelon and cucumbers will be released. Therefore, use a slotted spoon when serving.

Helpful Recipe Tips

1. If you don’t have fresh mint, you can use fresh basil leaves in place of the mint. And if you don’t have either, you can skip it all together, however, the fresh mint or basil really adds another depth of refreshing flavor to the watermelon salad.

2. Want to add another layer of flavor? Add a diced jalapeno to the mixture. The slight bit of heat is balanced out perfectly with the cool and refreshing watermelon.

3. If you aren’t a huge fan of onions strong taste, soak the slices of red onion in water for 10 minutes before adding them to the salad.

4. If you are taking this to a picnic, make it no more than 12 hours ahead of time. You want to maintain the freshness and crispness of the watermelon and cucumbers to remain prominent in the salad.

watermelon salad served for a picnic side dish
Watermelon salad makes for the perfect picnic side dish. It is light, refreshing and easy to make.

Other Great Picnic Side Dish Recipes

If you are looking for some other summertime picnic side dish recipes, check out some of my favorite recipes below. From classic pasta and potato salad to more unique cold ramen noodle Asian salad and Doritos taco salad, I am sure that you will find your next picnic inspiration.

Enjoy! Mary

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Watermelon Salad

watermelon salad

A cool and refreshing salad made with watermelon, cucumbers, red onions, mint and feta cheese. NO cooking required!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes



  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Black pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 8 cups seedless Watermelon, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Cucumber halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced thin
  • 1 medium Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 3 TBSP fresh Mint leaves, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese


  1. Make the dressing by adding all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisking it until incorporated.

  2. Add the cubed watermelon, sliced cucumber, red onion, and diced mint to a large serving bowl and gently toss to combine.

  3. Drizzle on the dressing on top of the watermelon mixture and use a large spoon or tongs to toss to coat.

  4. Right before serving sprinkle the Feta cheese on the watermelon salad.


Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 3g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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