We are sweatin’ to the 90s over here in southern California, and I’m not talking about an aerobic dance party with yours truly nailing every lyric to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” It is HOT. H-O-T hot. And that means dinners have been a whole lot of no-cook options followed up by a gratuitous amount of no-churn cream and 5-minute frozen yogurt after nearly every meal.
But it doesn’t get much more thirst-quenching than a melon made of water. So if I’m looking to lighten the sugar factor but still beat the heat, this Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Syrup is on repeat all day, every day.
Major bonus: It satisfies all of my OCD urges by allowing me to meticulously melon-ball an entire watermelon. Big win! But if you don’t find satisfaction in this sort of activity, go ahead and grab your knife and just start slicing. (Don’t forget my trick for the easiest way to cut a watermelon!)
With your melon balls (or squares) in place, it’s then time to dress up your fruit with a refreshing blend of lime juice and olive oil. A pinch of salt and pepper may seem like a skippable afterthought, but trust me when I tell you that they will bring the full flavor of this watermelon salad to life.
The balsamic syrup, which can be made from scratch or purchased at most major grocery stores, is an optional addition. However, I will say this: The combination of sweet, juicy watermelon and tangy balsamic syrup is a summer stunner. Add a little creamy crumbled feta and fresh mint to the bowl and feel free to take notes, Ina Garten, because we will be rockin’ that summer soiree with the best of ’em. Now how easy is that?
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- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 (7-to 8-pound) watermelon
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue cooking it, scraping down the sides as needed, until it has reduced and is the consistency of syrup, about 5 minutes. (It will thicken as it cools and only yield a few tablespoons.) Set it aside to cool while you prepare the salad.
- Cut the watermelon into cubes or use a melon baller and scoop it into balls. Add it to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the watermelon, add the chopped mint and feta cheese, and toss to combine. Drizzle the salad with the balsamic syrup and serve immediately.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.