Make this arugula watermelon salad to cool you down on a hot summer day. Peppery arugula is topped with fresh watermelon, feta cheese, and sunflower seeds, then tossed in a homemade orange vinaigrette.
Fruity salads, like my cucumber blueberry salad, are perfect for cooling down on a hot summer day. Looking for a new flavor combination? Give this one a try - it's bright, fresh and the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
Peppery arugula is the base for this simple summer salad. It's topped with fresh watermelon, feta cheese, and salty sunflower seeds. The homemade orange dressing is perfectly citrusy and sweet!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Arugula - Can be substituted with your favorite greens. Romaine or spinach are great choices.
- Watermelon - Look for seedless watermelon - sometimes you can find it already cubed at the store. Sliced strawberries would make a good substitute.
- Feta cheese - Can be substituted with goat cheese. Or, use mozzarella pearls for a milder flavor.
- Olive oil - Necessary to make the dressing.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of the dressing.
- Honey - Can be substituted with maple syrup.
- Sunflower seeds - Salted or unsalted roasted sunflower kernels (seeds without the shell) can be used. I made my salad with Planters Dry Roasted Sunflower Kernels (Amazon)
Orange vinaigrette dressing
I highly recommend preparing the orange vinaigrette as written using a fresh orange. The bright, summery, and fresh flavor is outstanding.
To make orange vinaigrette:
- First, zest the entire orange into a bowl.
- Then, juice the orange and pour the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove excess pulp and seeds.
- Last, add the olive oil, honey, and salt.
- Whisk to combine.
Want to substitute with your favorite bottled dressing? The listed ingredients equal about ½ cup of salad dressing.
Want to make watermelon arugula salad ahead of an event? Store salad ingredients in three separate containers:
- Cubed watermelon
- Arugula, feta, and sunflower seeds
- Orange vinaigrette
Then, combine and dress your salad just before serving.
Leftover salad (undressed) will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but is best served the same day.
What to serve with salad
Here are a few of my favorite ways to turn arugula watermelon salad into a complete meal:
- Baked chicken drumsticks
- Grilled lemon pepper chicken
- Corn zucchini chowder
- Rotisserie chicken salad
- Garlic butter shrimp
- Tortellini pasta salad
Arugula Watermelon Salad
- 5 ounces (142 g) arugula
- 2 cups (300 g) cubed seedless watermelon
- 4 ounces (114 g) crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup (35 g) roasted sunflower seed kernels
- 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, add arugula. Top with cubed watermelon, feta cheese, and sunflower seeds. Set aside.
- In a bowl (or mason jar), zest orange, then slice in half and juice orange into the bowl. Add olive oil, honey, and salt. Whisk (or cover with lid and shake) to combine.
- Just before serving, toss salad in dressing until evenly coated. Serve immediately. Or, toss salad ingredients and serve dressing on the side.
- This recipe makes about four side salads or two large lunch sized salads.
- If preparing ahead of an event, store watermelon in a separate container until ready to toss and serve.
- Dressed salad does not keep well - if you plan to have leftovers, serve dressing to the side.
- Vinaigrette dressing will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.