A Crisp, Tangy Watermelon Salad for Sticky Summer Nights

July 11, 2018

As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some good-as-gold recipes. Today, we're revisiting a bold watermelon salad perfect for summertime cravings.

Photo by James Ransom

One of my very favorite summer treats is a simple wedge of watermelon. Ideally, it's filled with ruby red juice that I drain, vampire-style, before crunching the crispy leftovers like ice. It’s something I look forward to every year, especially in July and August, when the heat lingers from scorching days into humid, sticky nights.

But man cannot live on watermelon alone, and in a search for new ways to bulk up the summer fruit into a full-on feast, I rediscovered this gem of a salad.

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Back in 2009, Food52 community member Loli won one of our earliest contests, Your Best Watermelon Recipe, with the perfect mix of melon, goat cheese, pistachios, and lemon verbena.

Another No-Cook Summertime Treat

“I wanted an interesting ingredient and to me summer involves verbena,” she shared in her recipe note. “Half of my family is from the south of France in Cannes and every summer at my grandparents' villa we would have verbena tisane fresh from the garden after dinner. We grow it here in Westchester and the tradition continues.”

It’s worth it to seek out the lemon verbena, which adds volumes to the citrus-y vinaigrette. You want a bright dressing to cut through the tangy goat cheese and sweet melon. But if you’re in a pinch, it’s A-OK to substitute with lemongrass or lemon zest.

As for cutting the watermelon (without losing a finger), don’t succumb to the siren song of pre-cut containers. Instead, check out our handy guide to slicing and dicing to master your melon.

What's your favorite way to eat watermelon? Any recipes you'd like to share in the comments below?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • HalfPint
  • cosmiccook
  • Janet Carroll-Boudreau
    Janet Carroll-Boudreau
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


HalfPint June 14, 2021
I like watermelon salad with mint & crumbled feta. Or fresh sliced, straight from the fridge :)
cosmiccook June 13, 2021
If I can't find lemon verbena, how much dried Lemon Myrtle should I sub with?
Janet C. July 27, 2018
1/2 POUND of goat cheese??????