This easy and refreshing cucumber watermelon feta salad is perfect for hot summer days.
When the summer heat waves come, there’s nothing more refreshing than devouring slices after slices of cold watermelon. My kids can attest to this. Sometimes I just hand each boy the halved watermelon and they happily dig out the flesh with a spoon. Beside eating them fresh, the watermelon also goes into one of our favorite summer salads, cucumber watermelon feta salad.
Tips for Picking Watermelon
- Buy watermelon during peak season, which lasts between May and September.
- Choose a watermelon that is round and more evenly shaped instead of oval. The rounder melons are sweeter compared to oval ones that are watery and less flavorful. Avoid those with any irregular lumps.
- Look for watermelon with a yellow field spot sign or the large, discolored spot on the surface. This spot shows where the watermelon sat on the ground as it ripened. The color should be creamy and yellow which indicates it’s ripe and ready. If it’s white or light yellow, choose another one.
- Avoid watermelon with a green stem which signifies the watermelon is not yet ripe and will lack flavor and sweetness. Watermelons with dry and yellow-brown stems are ripe and ready.
- Give the watermelon a gentle tap and listen to the sound it makes. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound, which means it has a lot of juice. Under-ripe or over-ripe melons will sound dull.
- Pick the heaviest one for its size. The denser it is for its size, the higher the water content, resulting in a sweeter watermelon.
- Watermelon: for the salad, I like to cut the watermelon into bite sized pieces. You can cut them into triangles or use a melon scooper and make little round balls.
- Feta cheese: is a soft and crumbly brined cheese from Greece traditionally made with sheep’s milk. Look for true Greek or Bulgarian sheep’s-milk feta, which tastes creamier and tangier than the domestic cow’s-milk versions. For the best texture and flavor, buy the feta cheese in the brine solution (salt and water solution) or in the sealed package and crumble it yourself. Avoid the pre-crumbled feta. Those tend to dry out quickly. If you can’t find feta, goat cheese would taste great in this salad.
- Cucumber: for this salad, I used two small Persian cucumbers. A great alternative is English cucumbers which have more flavor and less seeds.
- Mint: I love the refreshing touch that mint lends to this salad. Dill is another option that tastes great.
- Aleppo peppers: I love adding a touch of Aleppo pepper to this salad. Aleppo pepper is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s twice as flavorful and only half as hot compared to the crushed red chile flakes you put on pizza. If you don’t it spicy, sprinkle a little sumac or paprika instead.
- Lime: I added some lime juice to the salad for a little tang. The lime juice along with the watermelon juice mix together and form its own dressing.
This cucumber watermelon feta salad has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The watermelon brings the sweetness while the cucumber and mint add a refreshing note with a bit of saltiness from the feta and heat from the Aleppo peppers. With complementary flavors and textures, this is the salad to eat all summer long!
Cucumber Watermelon Feta Salad
- 4 cups chilled watermelon, cut into bite sized cubes
- 1 cup Persion cucumber, diced or crumbled
- 1/2 cup feta, diced or crumbled
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- juice of a small lime
- 1/4 tsp Aleppo peppers
- 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
- In a large serving bowl, combine watermelon, cucumber, and mint.
- Crumble the feta over the top of the salad.
- Drizzle lime juice and sprinkle Aleppo peppers and sea salt over the salad.
- Serve immediately.