Every bite of this make-ahead, cold and refreshing Watermelon Feta Salad with Basil and Blueberries tastes like a party in your mouth! It features a winning combination of sweet ripe watermelon, tangy feta cheese, juicy blueberries, fresh basil, and an optional tangy homemade vinaigrette dressing.
With its gorgeous red, white, and blue patriotic colors, it also makes a terrific Fourth of July fruit salad.
Of course, this scrumptious and versatile fruit salad is also perfect for casual summer backyard BBQs or neighborhood potlucks. It’s also a simple but tasty side dish for a weeknight summer dinner, it makes an amazing light lunch and you can even serve it for breakfast.
Like my Breakfast Fruit Salad, Old-Fashioned Frozen Fruit Salad, and Southern Grape Salad, Watermelon Feta Salad with Basil and Blueberries is full of flavor and amazing textures. It’s the perfect mix of summery sweetness and savory deliciousness.
Nothing says summer like watermelon, and your family and guests will be blown away by how pretty this watermelon feta salad is. But, it will be our secret just how quick and easy it is to prepare.
Ingredients – here’s what’s in it:
- Watermelon – the star of this party, is the essence of summer produce. Be sure to choose a seedless ripe melon, and keep it well chilled.
- Feta – balances out the sweet watermelon with its saltiness and adds a rich creaminess to this fruit salad.
- Blueberries – add the blue to our red, white, and blue-themed salad and provide their own delicious sweetness.
- Basil – just a whiff of aromatic basil and you will know why I’ve included just a bit to add even more freshness.
- Red wine vinegar – is an essential component of the optional homemade vinaigrette. You can substitute balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar in a pinch.
- Olive oil – combines with the red wine vinegar to complete the tangy vinaigrette.
- Kosher salt – brings all of the flavors of the vinaigrette together.
Directions – here’s how to make it:
Cut the watermelon into bite-size cubes.
Rinse the blueberries and sort through them to remove any stems or bad berries. Let them dry.
Cut the feta into small cubes. Chiffonade the basil, by stacking the leaves, rolling them up longways like a cigar, and then slice the rolls into thin ribbons with a sharp knife.
To make the optional dressing, add the olive oil, salt, and vinegar to a small jar or measuring cup and whisk until it is emulsified.
Add the watermelon, blueberries, feta, and basil to a large bowl and gently toss to combine. Serve chilled.
(If you are not serving this salad right away, wait to add the optional vinaigrette. Also, wait to cut and add the fresh basil until you are ready to serve it.)
Frequently asked questions:
This salad really shines when it is served with grilled or smoked entrees such as my Grilled Beer Can Chicken, Smoked Burgers, Smoked Chicken Thighs, Smoked Ribeye Steak, or Grilled Ham Steak.
It also pairs nicely with my Smoked Baked Beans, Grilled Vegetable Kabobs, and Smoked Sweet Potatoes. My Southern Potato Salad and Summer Pasta Salad would also complement it nicely.
Yes, besides the taste, I love the fact that you can make this salad up to 48 hours ahead of when you plan to serve it. However, it’s best to wait to add the basil until you are ready to serve the salad. If you are planning to add the vinaigrette, for the best results, do not add it until you are ready to serve it.
Leftovers can be stored covered in the fridge for up to four days if the fruit you used was very fresh when you bought it. It might get a little watery after day three, but it will still be delicious. If it does get watery, drain off any excess liquid.
Believe it or not, you can freeze watermelon. The watermelon texture will change and I wouldn’t recommend using it for this salad.
However, you can use the thawed watermelon to make my easy Watermelon Lemonade Ice Pops, Watermelon Gazpacho, sorbets, smoothies, and other beverages.
I’m so glad you asked! This is a versatile recipe and you can add a number of optional add-ins such as arugula, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and edamame.
Fresh mint can be used instead of the basil, and if you would like to make it without feta, you can substitute goat cheese.
In addition, instead of serving this as a salad, you could make watermelon salad bites, or patriotic 4th of July skewers, by threading a small piece of watermelon, the same size piece of feta, and a large blueberry on a small bamboo cocktail pick. Serve these red, white, and blue-themed appetizer sticks on a bed of arugula.
While the vinaigrette is optional, if you prefer a sweeter vinaigrette, you could add a spoonful of honey to what is called for in this recipe. Other purchased dressings that can be substituted include poppyseed, balsamic, or a honey-lime dressing.
If you are making this salad ahead, don’t add the basil until you are ready to serve it. Also, if you are serving it with the optional vinaigrette, do not add the dressing until you are ready to serve it.
According to Real Simple, in order to pick a ripe watermelon, look for a melon with a yellowish creamy bottom, a stem that is dry and brown, and that has a deep hollow sound when you thump it. Also, make sure to choose a watermelon without any cuts or blemishes and choose the heaviest watermelon for its size. If all else fails, ask a store produce employee to help you choose the best one.
For the best results when storing your blueberries, first, pick through them and discard any berries with mold on them. Place a folded paper towel in the bottom of the container to absorb any extra moisture. Repackage the fresh unwashed blueberries in a breathable container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The vinaigrette for this watermelon salad is delicious and complements the flavors. However, with all of the fresh flavors, I prefer the salad plain, without the optional vinaigrette. My husband, on the other hand, prefers to add the vinaigrette. You decide which you think your family will like best. The other option, which is what I do is to make the vinaigrette and then let each person decide whether to add it or not.
More red, white, and blue-themed recipes:
If you are looking for red, white, and blue-themed desserts for your 4th of July festivities, check out these delicious confections on my blog:
- Red, White, and Blue No-Bake Icebox Cake
- Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream Pie
- Red, White, and Blue Frozen Lemonade Pie
★★★★★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Watermelon Feta Salad with Basil and Blueberries
- 8 cups seedless watermelon, about 1/2 of a medium-sized watermelon
- 8 ounces feta cheese
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 5 fresh basil leaves
- Cut the watermelon into bite-size cubes.
- Rinse the blueberries and sort through them to remove any stems or bad berries. Let them dry.
- Cut the feta into small cubes. Chiffonade the basil by stacking the leaves, rolling them up cigar style, and then slice the rolls into thin strips with a sharp knife.
- To make the optional dressing, add the olive oil, salt, and vinegar to a small jar or measuring cup and whisk until it is emulsified.
- Add the watermelon, blueberries, feta, and basil to a large bowl and gently toss to combine. Serve chilled. (If you are not serving this salad right away, wait to add the optional vinaigrette until you are ready to serve it. Also, wait to cut and add the fresh basil.