What’s Inside: Fresh garden herbs and juicy watermelon make this savory watermelon basil salad recipe a perfect side dish for hot summer days. Dairy, Grain, Gluten Free + Vegan.
I wasn’t going to try it.
It sounded, frankly, like a horrible combination.
Olives, oil, red onions and feta mixed with large watermelon cubes sat amongst the other pot luck items on the block party’s donated folding card table. It was basically a Greek pasta salad… but with a bunch of watermelon and no pasta.
I can’t remember who dared me to taste it, it could have been myself.
I took a small spoonful, fully anticipating the clenched jaw and gag reflexes to kick in.
Juicy watermelon and savory bits of olive and feta danced my mouth into a smile. I went back for a full serving and then later for seconds.
Compliments to the chef – it was amazing!
Traditional pasta salad is always too dry, IMHO. The watermelon changed that without compromising flavor.
Since melons are only mildly sweet, the salty flavors still took center stage.
My mind on savory accouterments on sweet melons changed forever.
I should have known. I love prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe and grilled cantaloupe prosciutto skewers.
Why wouldn’t I love other savory melon combos?
Savory Watermelon Basil Salad Recipe
This rendition isn’t a full Greek pasta salad. Garden herbs, extra virgin olive oil, and juicy watermelon make this simple and refreshing side dish perfect for a sweltering day.
I grew these herbs from my garden and they made an incredibly fresh accent to the already thirst-quenching watermelon.
The lemon basil adds citrusy complexity. The Shiso deepens the flavor with a tinge of bitterness.
Red Shiso is a new herb to our garden this year, but we’ll be planting it again! It was easy to grow, low maintenance, and lasted all season. If you want to try them, ask your local nursery or buy the Red Shiso Seeds here.
This makes a great side for any summer bar-b-que or block party. And I also loved using my Cuban salad spoons to serve it. 🙂
Savory Watermelon Basil Salad
Fresh garden herbs and juicy watermelon make this savory watermelon basil salad a perfect side dish for hot summer days. Dairy, Grain, Gluten Free + Vegan
- 1/4 cup diced red onions
- 3 stalks fresh lemon basil (can sub for regular basil and a squeeze of lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup chopped red shiso herb (can sub for parsley and dash anise)
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 mini watermelon
Wash and dice basil and shiso leaves.
Mix all ingredients (except the watermelon) together in a salad bowl
Cube watermelon and add to the bowl mix
Toss watermelon, coating evenly with herb mixture.
Serve and Enjoy
Red Shiso can be substituted with parsley and a dash of anise. Lemon Basil can be replaced with regular basil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Any fresh herbs will work well in this salad so feel free to use what you have on hand (cilantro, parsley, mint, you name it).