When it comes to summer sides, the usual suspects take center stage. There’s the corn (grilled, cooked on the stovetop, or skillet-roasted), potatoes however you like them best, and just about every take on the classic pasta salad. Of course, thick slices of watermelon are served alongside—and often overshadowed by—everyone’s favorite summertime sweets. But as this grilled watermelon salad proves, your warm-weather faves only improve when the fruit is given the spotlight it deserves.
This is the sort of universal summer salad that, as the recipe’s creator, Sarah Smith notes, kids will love just as much as adults. (How many salads can that be said for? Not many.) Along with her husband Blake, Sarah owns and runs Walden Retreats, a glamping experience outside of Austin. At a recent dinner the couple hosted on the property, Sarah served this salad to guests. Set against the neutral tablescape, the vibrant side was a sight to behold.
Of course, watermelon wedges are the star of the show, serving as the colorful backdrop to the salad’s other components. If you’re wary of a fruit-forward salad, take heart—and trust that the combo works wonders. With cubed feta or goat cheese crumbled on top, this grilled watermelon salad does the salty-sweet pairing perfectly. The mixture of basil and/or mint leaves offers up a nice, fresh herby bite to round out the contrasting flavors. If you’re not yet prepared to enjoy the perfect summer salad, buckle up—this recipe is sure to satisfy.
Sarah suggests serving your grilled watermelon salad over arugula, as skewers, or with toothpicks to keep it all together. Of course, you can take a cue from Sarah and serve the thick wedges on a wood slab for an elegant, but rustic effect. Laidback, thoughtful, and definitely flavorful—we’ll be making this grilled watermelon salad long past July is through.
Get Sarah’s Recipe for Grilled Watermelon Salad
- Watermelon wedges, sliced about ½ inch thick
- Cubed feta or goat cheese (depending on your preference)
- Fresh basil or mint leaves (depending on your preference)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh sea salt flakes
- Set your grill to high heat. Brush watermelon slices with olive oil and grill until lightly charred, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly or completely (depending on your preference and the heat of the day).
- Layer with a bit of cheese and a fresh herb leaf, a sprinkling of salt, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. (A little goes a long way!)
- To hold together, serve salad as skewers, with a toothpick, or throw all the components together as a salad (adding some arugula is a great choice).
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