The Savory Twist TikTok Adds To Watermelon Salad

There are lots of ways to enjoy that juicy, ripe watermelon you've picked out, and if you can't get enough, how about making a meal of it? While just the fruit may not feel substantial enough, a watermelon salad can become your go-to summer lunch. The key here is to add some savory flavors, which not only elevate the fruit's juicy sweetness but also give the salad enough heft to make a meal.

While many know how delicious feta cheese tastes in watermelon salad, a recipe shared by TikTok user @cassyeungmoney is getting even more watermelon fans familiar with it. If you've never tried it, the combination may sound strange (as it did to a few commenters), but juicy, sweet watermelon and crumbly, salty feta make an irresistible pairing that works well as a side or picnic centerpiece. You can balance the sweet and savory aspects depending on your taste and even top it all with a healthy dusting of Tajín seasoning if you're into that. 

Feta cheese adds delicious savory contrast to watermelon salad

A little culinary creativity can go a long way in turning simple foods into delicious treats. The humble green bean got a viral makeover from NYC's beans in a bag, while the green goddess salad dip has kids loving veggies. 

Now, it's time to upgrade that bowl of watermelon salad. The key to a great salad is contrasting textures and flavors, and feta cheese, made by aging sheep's milk in brine, has the ideal salty notes and creamy texture to make watermelon's juicy sweetness pop. You'll also find that other ingredients pickled in brine, like olives, capers, and even jalapeños, taste particularly good in a watermelon salad. Next, bolster your salad with chopped cucumber and thinly sliced red onion, which help round out the flavors and add to the crunch. 

For dressing, a combination of olive oil and tangy red wine vinegar works best, but you can also use apple cider vinegar. Again, you can make the salad sweeter with some sugar or honey or keep it savory with a pinch of salt and pepper. Finish up with some chopped mint and basil leaves, mix thoroughly, and serve chilled for a satisfying summer meal.

More savory twists to upgrade your watermelon salad

The feta and watermelon combination is actually a version of the Greek watermelon salad, which plays up the savory angle even more by adding kalamata olives. However, you can add your own savory twists to the summer salad by replacing the olives with ingredients that add a kick. As mentioned, pickled peppers are a great option, but if you'd rather go with roughage, arugula's peppery notes also contrast nicely with watermelon's sweetness.

While a particularly salty cheese like feta is ideal for watermelon salad, you can use alternatives that you like better or may have on hand. Blue cheese can add a complex, pungent edge, but use it sparingly so it doesn't overpower the mellower tastes in the salad. Goat cheese also works well in a watermelon salad but plays down the savory flavor and instead adds creamy tanginess.

Another twist is to make it with whipped feta, which you can make by blending feta cheese and Greek yogurt (or sour cream) in a food processor. The luxurious, creamy feta cream can then be drizzled over the salad, along with some candied walnuts and mint leaves. Whipped feta also makes an excellent dip for watermelon sticks for the perfect grab-n-go summer snack version.