A stellar combination, watermelon with feta and mint is a regular menu item in Israeli restaurants and especially popular ordered at the beach. The contrast of sweet watermelon and salty feta elevates both, especially with the addition of a few torn mint leaves.
I've seen variations on the watermelon with feta theme floating around the internet, both Israeli, Israeli-inspired, and Balkan, especially Bulgarian (where I'm guessing the idea originates). Most, however, go on to dice the melon and crumble the feta and douse them with dressing, like a salad. I prefer my watermelon with feta elemental, the three key players kept separate, with just a sprinkling of black pepper. In Israel, a platter of watermelon and feta is served in chunks, often triangular wedges. One restaurant we used to go to served it in cute, patterned rectangular pieces, so of course I had to recreate that here. However, you can cut yours into any shape, if you keep it the same between the watermelon and feta: cubes, triangles, wedges, anything.
Admittedly, this is more of a guide than a recipe, but having never seen this winning combination Stateside, I wanted to represent it here. You can easily pare it down for two, or double for a large picnic crowd. By the way, the mint is not decorative, it is an essential part of the combo, so tear away and make sure to get mint into your bites of delightful contrast.
Looking for more Israeli salads?
- Israeli Eggplant Salad with Tahini - Another restaurant favorite that's easy to make at home.
- Red Cabbage, Carrot, and Tomato Salad - A classic trio of Israeli flavors.
- Israeli Potato Salad - Its Russian roots and Israeli flavors make this potato salad classic, but different.
Watermelon with Feta and Mint (dairy)
- ½ medium watermelon
- feta cheese - (usually 1 package)
- 5 sprigs fresh mint
- black pepper - freshly cracked
- Cut the cube of feta into long rectangles using the short side of the feta as the height of the rectangle.
- Cut the watermelon into long rectangles to match the length of the feta.
- Pattern the cubes of watermelon and feta in a checkerboard pattern.
- Tuck fresh mint leaves into the spaces between the cubes. Dress with freshly cracked black pepper.