If you read my recent watermelon cocktail post, you know that I have been trying to come up with ways to use watermelon so that all the melon gets consumed before it starts to degrade. And in that post, I mentioned that I had a lovely salad that calls for watermelon.
I do have a lovely salad that calls for watermelon, and this tomato watermelon feta salad is it.
The concept for this recipe is not mine. It was something I ate and fell in love with at the Capital Grille restaurant, which is a chain of steakhouses with locations around the country. I fell in love with this salad the first time I tasted it because it was the perfect combination of light and fresh, savory and sweet, tender and crunchy, herby and fruity. Anyone who knows me also knows that I had to go home and try to recreate it.
I found a recipe online that seemed to have all the right ingredients, but not in the proportions that supported the flavor profile with which I fell in love. So, I kinda adjusted it a bit. Not much, but enough to where it tastes more like the one I had at the restaurant than the one I made with the online recipe.
Truth be told, this is one of those salads that allows you to play with the combination of ingredients, both in size and proportion, to suit your personal taste. This is how I like to make mine. Once you try it, you can experiment and find the version that you love best.
Assembling the tomato watermelon feta salad
Lots and lots of fresh stuff! Gosh, this salad is so yummy!
Here’s where I differ from the recipe I found online:
- A smaller salad. I make half of what was called for in the original recipe. That recipe made a BIG salad!
- Heirloom discretion. I use much less heirloom tomato because I don’t find it as sweet and crunchy as the other tomatoes.
- More of the good stuff. I use more onion and watermelon.
- And even more of the good stuff. I chop my onion a little bit bigger instead of mincing. I want the crunch and the complement of the onion to the sweetness of the watermelon.
- Less feta cheese. I mean, it’s good, but when I make this salad, my mouth craves more of the really fresh stuff.
The online recipe also stated that the salad could be prepared up to 4 hours in advance, adding the feta just before serving. BUT it should have recommended that if you do that, do not add the watermelon, lime juice, or the salt.
Watermelon tends to release its juice the longer it sits after cutting, which will make your salad a bit soggy. Salting it that early will also make all the ingredients release their juices. Finally, fresh lime juice tends to cook things in acid, creating a wilted result. Some cooked and/or wilted salads are good. Not this one.
So, if you want to chop everything but the watermelon in advance, do so. Then add the watermelon, the seasonings, and finally, the feta just before serving.
Even if making the salad right away, it can be nice to combine everything but the watermelon and dressing/seasoning, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. Cooling the ingredients can enhance the freshness factor, but that is optional.
When ready to serve, add the watermelon.
Then add the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper a little at a time and toss. I give you guidelines for dressing the salad, but it is best to do it a little at time and test for taste to get it to your liking.
Once it tastes just right, add the feta and toss again.
By the way, I crumble my feta in my hands if the clumps are too big. I love the taste of feta, but the real rock stars in the tomato watermelon and feta salad are the tomatoes and the watermelon. I think that’s why they get top billing in the title.
Pour the tomato watermelon and feta salad into a serving bowl and take immediately to the table. Then dig right in.
You can’t beat the colors. This is such a vibrant salad. And right after you eat it with your eyes, you are going to love it with your taste buds. It’s both a flavor and a texture thing. This salad just has it all going on.
It’s amazing with a grilled protein, hence why it was probably served at a steakhouse.
So, to review, we are talking:
Yep! That covers it! Enjoy!
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¾ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, ½-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons red onion, chopped
- ¾ cup seeded cucumber, chopped
- ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons feta cheese, small crumbles
- Combine all the ingredients, then slowly add the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss well and taste for seasoning.
- Continue adding the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper, tossing between each addition, until seasoned to taste.
- Serve immediately.
Even if serving right away, the combined ingredients short of the watermelon, dressing/seasonings and feta can be stored in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to enhance the freshness factor. But this step is optional.