Pickle & Preserve

Watermelon, Arugula, and Pickled Onion Summer Salad

July  8, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 8
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lynn Pescherine
    Lynn Pescherine
  • Dee
  • NancyFromKona
  • Marti Kennedy
    Marti Kennedy

6 Reviews

NancyFromKona June 25, 2017
Great recipe: very quick and easy, I usually pick onions out of a salad but these are yummy, a good way to use up a less than perfect melon.
Dee June 25, 2017
So glad you enjoyed it Nancy!
Lynn P. August 22, 2015
im a rainbow unicorn
Marti K. August 7, 2015
I tested this recipe; and I also wrote the tasting blurb you published at the top. Not to take anything away from Mary Kennedy Martin, who I'm sure is a very lovely person. But credit where it's due, please... :P
Marti K. August 7, 2015
Sorry, I should've edited the surliness out of that comment. ;) I have updated my profile with my actual name, to prevent any more confusion in the future.
Stephanie August 6, 2015
I, too, tested this recipe for the Community picks. Perfect for summer and boyfriend approved! Sweet watermelon, bitter arugula, salty feta, tangy vinaigrette mingle, with each bite pleasantly assaulting your taste buds. I love that you can prep the components ahead and throw them together just before serving for a quintessential weeknight, summer. The easy pickled onions beg to be played with. I added a teaspoon of coriander seeds; for a bit of heat I could see adding a whole, dried chile. I'd suggest cracking the peppercorns (and coriander) if crunching down on a whole peppercorn isn't your thing. I will absolutely be making this again and again and again.