Watermelon Salad with Feta or Cotija

Call me unadventurous, but I had never even heard of a watermelon feta salad before versions of it started popping up on food blogs everywhere. Even then, the very thought of it gave me pause. Watermelon, with salty cheese? Yeah, right. But watermelon sprinkled with salt is how many people enjoy the fruit, so perhaps it isn’t too far of a stretch to consider that it might be good with salty cheese? Last week my curiosity was finally satisfied when I was served such a salad at a dinner given by my friend Peg. I couldn’t wait to recreate it and experiment as well with a more Southwest version with cilantro and cumin. Both versions are wonderfully refreshing and light, and perfect for heat-wave days like we are having now in California.

Watermelon Salad with Feta or Cotija Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6-8.

The amounts given here are truly just guidelines. Feel free to stretch or diminish depending on your taste and the ingredients you are working with.



Watermelon Mint Feta Salad

  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (4-6 limes, depending on how big and juicy the limes are)
  • A quarter of a medium sized watermelon, rind removed, black seeds removed (if there are any), chopped into 1-inch cube-ish pieces, about 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Watermelon Jicama Cilantro Cotija Salad

  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (4-6 limes, depending on how big and juicy the limes are)
  • A quarter of a medium sized watermelon, rind removed, black seeds removed (if not seedless), chopped into 1-inch cube-ish pieces, about 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1-2 cups chopped peeled jicama
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, stem removed, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Pinch of cumin, to taste


1 Soak the chopped red onion in the lime juice while you are prepping the other ingredients, about 15 minutes.

2 Gently combine all ingredients into a large serving bowl.

Serve immediately. Salad will get soggy if kept overnight.

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Watermelon salad with cotija cheese, jicama, and cilantro

Watermelon Salad Recipes, links from Food Blog Search
Watermelon salad with halloumi, pine nuts, and mint from A Life (Time) of Cooking
Grilled watermelon salad with goat cheese and watercress from The Recipe Girl
Watermelon, cucumber, and feta salad from Alanna of A Veggie Venture


  1. diningoncents

    Wow I’ve never thought of eating watermelon that way before – but it looks delicious!

  2. Nina

    I love black olives in the mint feta version, too!

  3. Liza

    This looks really good. I love serving fruit and cheese plates and this combines the two. I think the local Mexican market has a nice cheese counter also. hmmm, this might be diner. Thanks Elise

  4. galohall

    omgz looks awesome.
    Just have some questions: is it good cold? the recipe says to serve it immediately or it will get soggy, but should I pre-chill the watermelon? also, what can I serve this with?

    You can pre-chill the watermelon, the salad is great cold. I’ve had the feta mint version with grilled lamb and the jicama cilantro with cheese tacos. ~Elise

  5. Emily

    I made a watermelon, mint and feta salad for the first time the other day — I also added kalamata olives and lots of freshly ground black pepper. It was amazing.

  6. Acher

    I made a similar version of this after discovering it on a trip to the Whole Foods salad bar. Watermelon, jicama, and (lots of)fresh mint, with a lime & habanero infused simple syrup, uh, glaze, for lack of a better word. I will have to admit, though, that the one I made was far tastier that the one I bought at Whole Foods!

  7. Heidi

    I also make a cucumber, watermelon, tomato salad. It’s basically watermelon, cherry or grape tomatos (yellow or orange) and a diced english cucumber tossed with rice wine vinegar.

  8. [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Perhaps it’s an idea whose time has come? I’ve always preferred my watermelon with salt. We have made different versions of watermelon salads for the past couple of years and even made watermelon curry this year. It’s just more ways to use up watermelon since they’re usually humongous!

  9. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

    WOW! That is a very clever use of watermelon, one of my most favorite fruits.

  10. Emilia

    Wow!! looks nice and delicious! I will go to try out this dessert to my family to try out…

  11. Cenk

    Great looking salad! Watermelon (or melon) with feta cheese is very popular during summer in Turkey. It is the ultimate meze after a fish course with raki.

  12. Mike

    I thought it strange and just so happened to have also tried something kind of similar recently in making a salsa (similar to your jicama salad) to go with some carne asada (and Cotija). Definitely opened my eyes since watermelon previously was restricted to being eaten raw or used in mixed drinks or candies.

  13. Kalyn

    I’ve never eaten this type of salad, but the idea of feta with watermelon and mint appeals to me a lot! Both salads sound very refreshing.

  14. talia

    I grew up with the combination, it’s a classic: my family is from Bulgaria and they’ve always had the two paired.

  15. S for Kitchen Confit

    I’ve never really been a big watermellon fan, but using it make a spicy and refreshing salad might make it more appealing to me. I’ll have to try this.

  16. French Laundry At Home

    Recently, I had some mint oil I wanted to use, so I drizzled a few drops on some watermelon chunks. Then I drizzled a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Then, put a little dab of goat cheese on each piece of watermelon. Blew my mind, it was so good.

  17. Dragon

    I adore watermelon and mint so I can’t wait to try your recipe. I love the summer.

  18. Jessie

    I made this last night as soon as I saw your blog – I just happened to have leftover watermelon and cotija cheese in the fridge (it was meant to be). This was absolutely delicious! I didn’t have any jicima but it was just fine without it. It complimented our spicy tacos perfectly. All in all an excellent summer salad. We gobbled it up immediately. Thanks!

  19. farida

    I love watermelon with cheese. In fact, that’s how we sometimes eat watermelon in Azerbaijan – with cheese and bread on the side. So, it is not strange to me. I should try your version with onions and fresh herbs. Sounds delicious!

  20. Victoria

    I find this intriguing and makes me curious about the combo because I recently read an old magazine (I think it was of Bon Appetit, I’d have to go back and check) where they had a recipe for watermelon with chevre…However, Feta seems more appetizing to me and makes me more willing to try it :)

  21. ligia Oliveira

    I do love watermelon…but with salty stuff??? The combination seems very strange to me. Nevertheless I’m willing to give it a try!!!!

  22. Dineen

    Sorry to say this didn’t go over so well in my house. The whole family loves watermelon, and loves feta. I loved it, the five year old loved it, but my husband and two year old wouldn’t touch it. I will be eating watermelon salad for lunch all week!

    Oh no! Always a risk with something new. ~Elise

  23. Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

    I was in Turkey this past week on vacation, and watermelon and white cheese (beyaz peynir) is a very common summer dish there. We would lounge by the pool and eat slices of watermelon and slices of the cheese. Even without being put together as a salad, the two combine very nicely. People in Turkey often eat foods in such combinations: salty and sweet, crunchy and smooth, etc.

  24. Shortcut Chef

    This looks terrifying and also delicious. I’m definitely going to try this one!!

  25. White On Rice Couple

    I felt the same way about considering this dish of watermelon and salty cheese. But I really shouldn’t because amongst my Viet co-workers, we always dip our watermelon in salt, as with many other types of fruit. Apparently it brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit.

    Thanks for the great photographs and the inspiration. I will definitely try out this recipe this week.

  26. Chris

    We tried the version with feta/mint. It was great, but we made too much for the two of us. We decided to try keeping it until the next day, though the recipe recommends otherwise. We drained all of the liquid before storing the leftovers and it was still crisp the second day. The flavor had already infused the melon, so the liquid was not missed at all.

  27. Olga

    This is one of my most favorite salads in the summer! I’ve also made it with cilantro one time. So refreshing!

  28. Mary

    The first time I tried cheese with watermelon was at a Whole Foods sample table two summers ago. It was with a creamy crumbled goat cheese and it was amazing. And it was served with a Himalayan salt with chili. What a combo. I look forward to trying these recipes as this makes a more presentable version than what I throw together on my own plate in imitation of the original taster. Thanks. When I was in India and Malaysia they served their fruit with an offering of a combo of sugar and salt and other flavors – any info on that?

  29. Anna

    In Israel, it’s very common to eat watermelon together with Feta or other kinds of soft salty cheese. The salad looks great, I’ll try it out tomorrow – thank you for the recipe!

  30. jessica

    I made this salad and got rave reviews. Will definitely keep this in my recipe folder.

  31. lucky

    I made the feta version yesterday and it was so good! Excellent recipe as usual!

  32. Donna

    A friend of mine brought to dinner a grapefruit-sized pear given to him by one of his students; it was an Asian pear, Korean specifically, crisp with a flavor of sweet melon. Having recently made and enjoyed a watermelon salad like the first one posted here, I thought to try the remainder of the pear in such a salad. Not as colorful as watermelon, but equally delicious!

  33. Anne

    Hi Elise, I live in the southern hemisphere with opposite seasons to you, so I usually have to dig through the archives to find recipes that are seasonally appropriate. Today was a stiflingly hot day, so I made the feta/mint version of this salad with the addition of tomato and cucumber. Absolutely delicious! I’ve never been a huge watermelon fan because I find it too bland and sweet, but this combination cuts the sweetness with salty, sour and even a hint of bitter flavors. Even my husband, who also doesn’t usually like watermelon and is sometimes weirded out by what I eat, is raving over it. This will definitely be repeated frequently over the next few months!

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