A wooden spoon rests on a striped linen napkin beside a decorative bowl filled with watermelon basil salad.

Watermelon basil salad is like summer on your plate! The tangy zip of the vinaigrette is perfect with the creamy goat cheese and shredded basil. This salad is so refreshing, especially on hot days. 

And the best part? It’s super easy to make! Watermelon basil salad with balsamic dressing is a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to impress your guests while keeping your prep time to a minimum. So why not add a little summer flair to your BBQ spread with this delightful salad?

What do I need to make a watermelon basil salad?

Close view of melon cubes dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and tossed with goat cheese and fresh basil.

Can I use dried basil instead of fresh basil leaves?

Yes, you can use dried basil in this salad, but we recommend fresh basil leaves for the stronger taste and pop of color.

Why make the vinaigrette dressing instead of just buying it?

You can certainly dress this salad in bottled salad dressing, but homemade vinaigrette is easy to whip up and tastes so fresh! Plus, it’s budget-friendly—you can make a cup of vinaigrette for pennies!

Store the prepared dressing in a tightly-fitted jar for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. Anytime you want tasty homemade dressing, just give it a shake and drizzle a bit from the jar.

How do I make this watermelon basil goat cheese salad?

Collage of six simple steps to make watermelon salad. A text overlay reads, "How to Make Watermelon Basil Salad."
  1. Make the dressing. Let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Chop up the watermelon. Add the pieces to a big salad bowl.
  3. Crumble the goat cheese over the watermelon. Save a bit for serving.
  4. Slice basil leaves and sprinkle in the bowl. Again, save a bit for serving.
  5. Drizzle the dressing on top. Toss to coat the salad in the dressing.
  6. Top the salad with the remaining cheese & basil. Serve and enjoy!

Protip: Garnish before serving!

We think this salad looks best with extra cheese and basil on top, so be sure to save a sprinkle of each to top off the salad.

I’m hosting a party—can I make this watermelon basil salad in advance?

You can cube the watermelon and add the goat cheese to a salad bowl, but we suggest waiting to add the basil and salad dressing until it is time to serve the salad.

Top view of an individual serving of watermelon basil salad alongside a larger serving bowl of more salad.

How do I store leftovers of this watermelon salad recipe with basil?

Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

What do I serve with watermelon basil salad?

We love to pair this refreshing salad with a side of bread. Try these Easy Drop Biscuits or Honey Cornbread for simply delicious homemade sides.

If served at a cookout, watermelon basil salad goes great with a pitcher of Sun Tea, Strawberry Lemonade, or Fruit Infused Water. So refreshing!

Looking for more easy salads to enjoy this season? We’ve got plenty!

A wooden spoon rests on a striped linen napkin beside a decorative bowl filled with watermelon basil salad.

Watermelon Basil Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Topped with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, this Watermelon Basil Salad is bursting with flavor and color! It’s perfect for a potluck or as an everyday side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette, plus more for serving
  • 1 mini seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds)
  • 4 ounces honey goat cheese OR plain goat cheese with 1/2 tablespoon of honey (see notes)
  • 6 basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Cube your watermelon. Cut the melon in half crosswise and place one of the halves cut-side down on your cutting board. Cut long slices every 1" down the length of the watermelon. Lay each slice down flat and use a paring knife to remove the rind. Then cut your now rind-free slices into 1" or 2" sticks. Lastly, cut your sticks into cubes. Repeat with remaining half of watermelon.
  2. Move the watermelon cubes to a large salad bowl.
  3. Use clean hands or a knife to crumble all but one tablespoon of the goat cheese into small pieces all over the top of the watermelon. Set that remaining tablespoon aside for serving the salad.
  4. Roll the basil leaves up into a log shape. Slice the basil into thin ribbons, then chop up until you have small pieces. Add most to the salad, but keep a little pile to the side for serving.
  5. Drizzle about a tablespoon of salad dressing on top. Toss to coat watermelon in dressing and toppings.
  6. At serving time, add the remaining goat cheese crumbles and basil ribbons to the top.

Notes

  • To make your own honey goat cheese, simply add 4 ounces of plain goat cheese and a 1/2 tablespoon of honey to a medium-sized bowl or food processor. Blend with a fork or process with a steel blade until combined.
  • We think this salad looks best with extra cheese and basil on top, so be sure to save a sprinkle of each to garnish the salad!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 45mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 20gProtein: 2g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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6 Comments

  1. This just makes me think of my Granddad. I always thought he was so strange to put salt on watermelon but one day I tried it and it just made the sweet that much sweeter. I bet I get my sweet tooth from him <3

    This salad looks delish and so I think I'll try it! I tried the salad-in-a-jar idea from pinterest today and it worked like a charm. Have you tried that one yet?

    1. I haven’t, but I’ve been thinking about trying it! Did everything really stay not soggy?

      My Dad puts salt and pepper on his cantaloupe!

  2. My dad is growing watermelons. Hopefully, some will be ready the next time I visit! I have tons of weird food combos, but the first one that popped in my head was fish and blueberry muffins. I guess we were out of Jiffy cornbread mix one night when I was little, and my mom served Jiffy blueberry muffins instead. From that point forward, we always had fish and blueberry muffins. I was an adult before I realized that not everyone’s family ate that combo.

  3. This looks super delicious!! I had a somewhat similar salad a few weeks back at a friend’s house. It was a watermelon, goat cheese and basil salad. It too was weird but in the best way possible!