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Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER
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Introduction

As improbable as it might sound, this combination is utterly fantastic, both savoury and refreshing at the same time. You can pare it down to the essential contrast, and serve no more than a plate of chunked watermelon, sprinkled with feta and mint and spritzed with lime, but this full-length version is hardly troublesome to make and once made will, I assure you, become a regular feature of your table.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

As improbable as it might sound, this combination is utterly fantastic, both savoury and refreshing at the same time. You can pare it down to the essential contrast, and serve no more than a plate of chunked watermelon, sprinkled with feta and mint and spritzed with lime, but this full-length version is hardly troublesome to make and once made will, I assure you, become a regular feature of your table.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 limes
  • 1½ kilograms watermelon (sweet and ripe)
  • 250 grams feta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 grams pitted black olives
  • black pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 limes
  • 3¼ pounds watermelon (sweet and ripe)
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh italian parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅔ cup pitted black olives
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes' worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  2. Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  3. Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don't lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv sunshine!
  1. Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes' worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  2. Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  3. Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don't lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv sunshine!

Additional Information

For vegetarians make sure the feta is one that uses vegetarian rennet.

For vegetarians make sure the feta is one that uses vegetarian rennet.

Tell us what you think

What 20 Others have said

  • This is an incredible salad! Its sour, salty, and fresh herbal flavors make it the perfect thing to serve in hot weather. For a perfect summer evening, follow this salad with the lemon creams and shortbread cookies from How to Eat!

    Posted by joshv41680 on 29th July 2021
  • This is an all time favourite, thank you Nigella, always a hit with everyone!

    Posted by PamGandie on 23rd July 2021
  • Absolutely my favourite hot-weather salad! I've been making it for years. Warning: one very little girl got a shock when she got a mouthful of watermelon with the lime dressing. She thought I was tricking her! I luckily had some untouched watermelon in the fridge to slice for her.

    Posted by Montymiff on 23rd July 2021
  • I love this salad. First made it for my English mother, who came to Australia as a child but alway had a full English Christmas lunch despite the heat. She mentioned that all she wanted as a child was sausages and watermelon at Christmas. Thank you for the perfect way to grant her childhood Christmas wish. It is now a firm favourite- especially for the Sydney summer Christmas table.

    Posted by Midwiferachel on 22nd July 2021
  • The best salad ever! Everyone I've made it for absolutely adores it, despite the combination, which seems odd, but then you try it and it's a taste sensation! What I do different is use lemon instead of limes to keep it more Mediterranean and add a little sugar and salt to the onions for a pickle vibe. I also add cucumber and purslane that grows in my garden to the salad.

    Posted by DJSCC on 16th June 2021
  • A favorite in our household

    Posted by Bobbypeggy on 17th August 2020
  • I love, love this recipe. Did not have parsley, which I did not think it was the best kind of herb for this, and I used instead chopped sage and mint. The mint is absolutely great due to its wonderful aroma. I also loved the macerated red onion slices in lime juice. I had some left and used them on a baby kale salad and it was delicious.

    Posted by totati on 13th June 2018
  • Love this salad - have been making it since you first published it in Nigella Summer!

    Posted by annburns on 28th May 2018
  • One of my favorites but I add cucumber, awesome.

    Posted by louann6657 on 28th May 2018
  • I make this salad for a summer party and everyone just kind of looks at me funny. And then they try it! It's always a huge hit. I'm of the more parsley/less mint school, but other than that, just do what Nigella tells you to do.

    Posted by Meann on 16th April 2018
  • I have turned so many people on over the years with this priceless salad recipe! I can never wait for summer at the best of times, but even more so because I want reasonably priced watermelon (I live in a northern clime) so that I'm able to make this salad almost every other week. I make more of the lime marinated red onions so that I can incorporate them into other salads over the week. Like another commentator said - I prefer more flat leaf parsley to the mint, although a small amount of mint is integral. Kudos - Nigella!

    Posted by lisalale on 19th January 2018
  • This is the most delicious salad ever!!! My favourite element is the onions steeped in lime juice - refines the flavours so nicely. Very easy to assemble as well. Perfect summer go to!

    Posted by Livvytish on 2nd November 2017
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