This Spicy Watermelon Feta Salad Is My Go-To Summer Side

There’s nothing better than cold slices of watermelon devoured at the height of summer. It’s a near perfect experience—but might I suggest a little flaky salt on that melon? And how about some chunks of creamy feta and perhaps a few torn basil leaves? What can I say, when it comes to flavor enhancers, I’m a bit of a maximalist. I’m always in pursuit of that perfect bite. This spicy watermelon feta salad comes together with just a handful of ingredients, but it packs such a flavor punch that’s so much more than the sum of its parts. Call me obsessed.

Watermelon and feta are a classic combo for a reason (see my Watermelon Greek Salad.) The sweet and juicy melon is a perfect foil for salty feta, plus that crisp, cold texture against the creaminess of the cheese. This duo is a great example of two contrasting flavors coming together to create a balanced dish.

I’ve been making this on the weekend to accompany grilled chicken or steak, with a baked potato or grilled corn. It makes a tasty side for just about any al fresco dinner party, and it’s a pretty stellar workday lunch, too. I promise that once you’ve tried it, it’ll be on repeat all summer. Read on for my tips on bringing this spicy watermelon feta salad together.

spicy watermelon feta salad close up

Ingredients You’ll Need

Before we start, let’s gather our ingredients. This salad is packed with nutrients, from hydrating watermelon to protein-rich feta. The fresh herbs add antioxidants, and the spicy jalapeño has shown to be metabolism-boosting. For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Lime (we’re using the zest and the juice)
  • Honey
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Red onion
  • Jalapeño
  • Seedless watermelon
  • Block of feta
  • Basil leaves
watermelon salad on table
camille styles holding spicy watermelon feta salad

How to Make Spicy Watermelon Feta Salad

1. Make the Dressing

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime zest and juice with the honey and olive oil. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. This dressing brings a tangy and slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the salad’s spicy and savory elements.

2. Marinate the Onion and Jalapeño

Add the thinly sliced red onion and jalapeño to the bowl with the dressing. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes. This step allows the onion and jalapeño to soften slightly and absorb the tangy, sweet, and spicy flavors of the dressing.

3. Prepare the Watermelon

Cut your mini watermelon into bite-sized chunks and place them in a serving bowl. If you’re short on time, you can often find pre-cut watermelon at your local grocery store.

preparing spicy watermelon feta salad

4. Combine the Ingredients

Spoon the marinated onions and chiles over the watermelon chunks. Use your hands to gently toss everything together, ensuring the watermelon is well-coated with the flavorful dressing.

5. Add the Feta and Basil

Top the salad with slices of feta cheese and fresh basil leaves. The creamy, salty feta contrasts beautifully with the sweet watermelon, while the basil adds a fresh, aromatic note.

6. Final Touches

Pour any remaining dressing over the salad, ensuring all the flavors are evenly distributed. Garnish with flaky salt for an extra touch of flavor and crunch.

girls eating watermelon salad
watermelon salad on table_spicy watermelon feta salad

Tips for the Perfect Spicy Watermelon Feta Salad

  • Adjust the heat. If you like it on the mild side, start with fewer jalapeño slices and add more to taste.
  • Freshness is key. Use the freshest ingredients you can find. Fresh watermelon, high-quality feta, and vibrant herbs make all the difference.
  • A feast for the senses. For a beautiful presentation, arrange the salad on a large platter. The vibrant colors of the watermelon, herbs, and feta make this salad as visually appealing as it is delicious.
camille styles holding watermelon salad
spicy watermelon feta salad in bowl 1

Here are a few other watermelon-feta salads to love. Scroll on for the recipe—I can’t wait to hear what you think!

cucumber watermelon tomato caprese salad recipe


watermelon salad


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A stunning summer side dish with a kick.

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 1 mini watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup feta, sliced into slabs
  • 1 cup basil leaves

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime zest and juice with the honey and olive oil. Season to taste. Add onion and chile to the bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes. 
  2. Place the watermelon in a serving bowl. Spoon the onions and chiles over the watermelon and use your hands to gently toss to coat. Top with the feta and basil, then pour over the rest of the dressing.
  3. Garnish with flaky salt and serve.

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