Watermelon, Arugula, and Pickled Onion Summer Salad

By Dee
July 8, 2015

Author Notes: This is a light and refreshing salad that pairs well with barbecued meats on a hot summer day. The sweetness of the watermelon and the bitterness of the arugula is highlighted by the tartness of the pickled onions. All is tossed with a light, crowd-pleasing vinaigrette.Dee

Food52 Review: This salad is addictive! Each bite has the sweetness from the watermelon, a briny pop from the pickled onions and feta, and a peppery boost from the lightly dressed arugula. The vinaigrette is just right for this salad and pulls all of the flavors together. The recipe claims to serve 8, but I ate two servings while testing the recipe, so consider that fair warning. You’re going to want seconds.Marti Kennedy

Serves: 8


For the salad and vinaigrette:

  • 1 small to medium seedless watermelon
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese

For the pickled onions:

  • 1/2 cup thinly-sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
In This Recipe


  1. Cube the watermelon into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. To prepare pickled onions, thinly slice the onion, using mandoline for even cuts if you have one available.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining pickling ingredients and bring to rapid boil, then remove from the heat. Place the sliced onions in heat-proof jar and pour the liquid over to evenly coat. The onions should soften within 15 minutes, depending on thickness.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until incorporated.
  5. In a mixing bowl, lightly dress and the arugula to taste and toss, then place it in a serving dish. Top it with the cubed watermelon, crumbled cheese, and pickled onions. Finish with any remaining vinaigrette, if desired.

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