This watermelon goat cheese salad is a refreshing combination of bright, summery flavors! Fresh chunks of cold watermelon are layered with goat cheese, chopped nuts, red onion, and mint, all drizzled with a zesty lime dressing.
Watermelon is so delicious on its own, or in a dessert or drink (like my recipe for banana watermelon smoothie!). But, have you tried watermelon in a savory dish? If you aren't sure, you really need to try this watermelon goat cheese salad - it's an intriguing combination of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors that will keep you coming back for more!
This salad starts with fresh, juicy chunks of watermelon, topped with chopped nuts and red onion for crunch. Then, fresh creamy goat cheese is crumbled on top, which provides that funky, salty contrast to the sweet watermelon. For the finishing touch, the salad is drizzled in a zesty and slightly sweet lime and honey dressing!
Even though this goat cheese watermelon salad is chock-full of complex flavors, it's super easy to make, in only about 15 minutes!
Here are the ingredients you need to make this watermelon salad with goat cheese:
- Watermelon: look for seedless watermelon, this will make for a much more pleasant eating experience!
- Goat cheese: you need fresh, not aged goat cheese. This is usually sold in a log shape, and may be labeled simply "goat cheese," or "chèvre."
- Nuts: I used roasted, salted pistachios. But, feel free to use your favorite nut here.
- Olive oil: extra-virgin olive oil is preferred here, but if you don't have it you can use regular olive oil, or another oil such as avocado oil.
Step by step photos
1. The first step to making the salad is prepping the dressing. Start by zesting the lime(s) to get the 1 teaspoon zest needed. Then, squeeze out the 3 tablespoons of juice. This will probably take about 1 ½ limes.
2. Next, add the extra-virgin olive oil, lime zest, honey, lime juice, and kosher salt to a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients to combine. Set the dressing aside for now.
3. Now prep the onion by slicing it thinly. And, give the nuts a rough chop, just to break them down a little bit. We still want large pieces to provide that crunch in the salad.
4. And now we can work on prepping the mint. We are doing a chiffonade, which just means cutting the mint into thin long strips. To do this, stack the mint leaves one on top of the other. Roll the stack into a tube. Then, cut across the tube to create thin ribbons of mint.
Set the mint, onion, and nuts aside for now while we prepare the watermelon.
5. To prepare the watermelon for the salad, first, cut all of the rind off with a large knife. Then, cut the flesh of the watermelon into about 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
6. Now that all the ingredients are prepped, we are ready to assemble the goat cheese watermelon salad. Grab a large platter, and arrange the watermelon chunks on top.
Then, sprinkle on the onion slices and chopped nuts. Crumble the goat cheese and arrange it on top of the salad.
7. Finally, give the dressing one final whisk. Drizzle it all over the watermelon salad. As a finishing touch, garnish the salad with the sliced mint leaves. For the best flavor, enjoy the salad right away!
Tips and tricks
- When zesting the lime, make sure to only remove the green part of the peel. Leave the white pith behind, which is very bitter!
- If you have time, you can toast the nuts before using to bring out more flavor and crunch. Add them to a dry pan set over medium heat and let them toast for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and slightly browned. Let the nuts cool down before placing them on the salad!
- I used Diamond Crystal kosher salt in this recipe, which is very flaky and light. To substitute regular table salt or Morton kosher salt, use only ½ teaspoon, rather than the 1 teaspoon called for in the recipe. Or, add salt to taste.
- If you don't want to assemble the watermelon and goat cheese salad on a platter, you can serve it in a bowl instead. Just add the watermelon, nuts, onion, dressing, and half the mint to a large bowl. Toss gently, then crumble the goat cheese on top and garnish with the remaining mint.
Substitutions and additions
This goat cheese watermelon salad is very flexible, feel free to add or swap out ingredients as desired. Here are some ideas for substitutions and additions:
- If you don't like mint, replace it with another fresh leafy herb, such as basil, parsley, or tarragon.
- Instead of lime juice in the dressing, try lemon, grapefruit, or a combination of different citrus fruits!
- The extra-virgin olive oil can be swapped with pure olive oil, avocado oil, or another neutral oil like safflower or sunflower oil.
- In place of the the goat cheese, try crumbled or cubed feta cheese!
- In addition to the watermelon, try mixing in chunks of other ripe melon, such as cantaloupe and/or honeydew.
- To turn this side salad into a main course, build the salad on a bed of greens, and top with grilled chicken or shrimp.
This watermelon and goat cheese salad tastes best when enjoyed right after assembling. As the salad sits, the salt in the dressing will draw moisture out of the watermelon, and the onion and nuts will lose some of their crunch.
However, if you have any leftover salad, you can store it in a covered container in the fridge. When stored properly, leftovers will last for about 1 - 2 days.
As I mentioned above in the Storage instructions section, this goat cheese watermelon salad is best when served immediately after assembly. However, you can do some of the prep steps ahead of time.
First, you can easily mix up the dressing 1 - 2 days before and store it in a covered container in the fridge. You can also slice the onion and cube the watermelon up to 1 day in advance, and store them in separate covered containers in the fridge. Finally, you can also chop the nuts and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for several days before using.
First of all, the watermelon should feel heavy for its size and should be unblemished, with no dents or bruises. Also, look for melons that have a dark yellow, almost orange "field spot," rather than a whitish-colored field spot. (The field spot, or ground spot, is the part of the melon that was resting on the ground as it grew). Check out this infographic for more tips on how to choose a watermelon!
This salad is a great summer side dish that would be right at home served alongside burgers and hotdogs. Add a couple other easy sides like pasta salad, bean salad, and/or potato salad for a nice backyard get together.
For something a little lighter, pair the watermelon salad with a grilled protein for the main course, such as grilled fish, steak, or chicken. Try it with my recipe for grilled balsamic chicken thighs! To round out the meal, you could add a loaf of crusty bread, a green salad, and/or grilled veggies.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or review in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And sign up for my weekly newsletter to get recipes delivered straight to you!Print
Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad
This refreshing watermelon goat cheese salad is tangy, sweet, and savory, the perfect dish for summer! And, it's easy to make in only about 15 minutes.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: mix
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 2 pounds (907 g) cold seedless watermelon, about 6 cups cubes (see note 1)
- 6 ounces (170 g) fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
- ½ cup (57 g) thinly-sliced red onion
- ⅓ cup (52 g) shelled pistachios (or other nut)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon finely-grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons thinly-sliced mint leaves (about 7 mint leaves)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see note 2)
- Add the extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, honey, and kosher salt to a small bowl. Whisk to combine the ingredients. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the red onion and roughly chop the nuts, set aside.
- Stack the mint leaves on top of each other and roll them into a cylinder shape. Then, slice perpendicular to the roll to create thin ribbons of mint. Set aside.
- Cut the rind off the watermelon, then cut the flesh into about 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Arrange the watermelon cubes on a large platter.
- Sprinkle the onion and nuts overtop the watermelon.
- Crumble the goat cheese and evenly distribute it on top of the salad.
- Whisk the dressing one more time, then drizzle it over the watermelon salad. Garnish the salad with the sliced mint and serve immediately.
The salad can be made with room-temperature watermelon, but will taste more refreshing if the watermelon is chilled. You can either: (1) place the whole watermelon in the fridge for a few hours and then cube it (this is easiest with a small watermelon); or (2) cube the watermelon and then place it in a covered container in the fridge for 1 - 2 hours before using.
I used Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for this recipe, which is lighter and flakier than Morton Kosher salt. To substitute Morton Kosher salt or regular table salt, use only ½ teaspoon in the dressing. Or, add salt to taste.
If you prefer, the salad can be assembled in a large bowl rather than a platter. To a large bowl, add the watermelon, nuts, onion, dressing, and half the mint. Toss gently to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Then, crumble the goat cheese on top and garnish with the remaining mint.
The nutrition counts of your dish will vary based on the brand and exact amounts of ingredients used. The nutrition information is an estimate only, provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: ⅙ recipe
- Calories: 203
- Sugar: 11.3 g
- Sodium: 165 mg
- Fat: 14 g
- Saturated Fat: 5.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 15.5 g
- Fiber: 1.3 g
- Protein: 6.8 g
- Cholesterol: 13 mg
Keywords: watermelon goat cheese salad, goat cheese watermelon salad