This watermelon goat cheese salad with peaches combines basil, goat cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes for a bright and summery twist. Sweet peaches and watermelon are the perfect pair with savory goat cheese!
One of my favorite salads for summer bbq's and picnics, this watermelon peach salad is super refreshing and sweet. The cucumbers add another layer of crunch, and everything is tossed in a very light vinaigrette.
The pictures of this watermelon goat cheese salad shows a very deconstructed version, if you were serving for a dinner party, but it doesn't need to be this fancy! Every 4th of July my mom cuts everything into cubes or small pieces and serves it as a mixed salad.
The inspiration for this recipe actually came from a trip we took through the French countryside, where I took some cooking classes. This was my second international trip after being diagnosed with vestibular migraine it was a huge accomplishment for me. The produce was so good and all you needed was a simple combination of flavors to make the perfect salad. I had to recreate it at home.
How to Choose a Watermelon
Watermelons can be tough to pick out, especially when you can't really smell them like peaches, so here are some easy tips to get the best watermelon for a salad.
- Look for a tan/orange spot somewhere on it - this means it will have a great flavor! White spots usually mean little flavor.
- Dark stripes and a dull shine are best to choose a ripe watermelon.
- Make sure it's uniform in size, roundish, and feels heavy.
- Elongated watermelons won't be as sweet and are more watery.
- Look for a larger webbing pattern rather than thin.
- Watermelon - Choose a ripe, juicy watermelon with my tips above. This can either be cut into cubes or use a melon baller.
- Peaches - I recommend using donut peaches if you're doing this deconstructed for a dinner party, but regular peaches are great for a mixed salad! This can also be substituted with mangoes and it's absolutely delicious.
- Cucumber - Choose a seedless, English cucumber for best results.
- Tomatoes (optional) - Small cherry tomatoes are lovely, but I've made this recipe with and without them. I do recommend them if doing a more elevated version.
- Shallot - Not as powerful as onion and just the perfect amount of flavor to compliment the fruit.
- Goat Cheese - Use a creamy, fresh goat cheese, also called chèvre. Unflavored is what I use for this watermelon peach salad and you can get this for a great deal at Costco or Trader Joe's. I recommend feta if you hate goat cheese, but keep in mind it is not elimination diet compliant - although still well tolerated.
- Basil - Fresh basil and parsley work best here - skip the dried!
- Simple dressing - olive oil, vinegar, and dijon mustard.
How to Make
Step 1 - Begin mixing the simple dressing.
Combine the vinegar, dijon and olive oil, whisking till smooth and combined.
Step 2 - Assemble the salad.
If doing this as an elevated side dish for a dinner party, cut the peaches, watermelon, and cucumber into larger slices, sprinkle with goat cheese and shallots, and top with herbs. D
If making this for a lot of people for a BBQ, cut everything into bite-sized, uniform pieces, slicing the cucumber in half. Toss everything together with the dressing, add the goat cheese last so it doesn't melt into the salad (although my mom does this every time and it still turns out great - it just doesn't look as pretty!).
This salad will keep in the fridge 2-3 days, even after it has been mixed with the dressing. It's best to keep everything separated - fruit, cucumbers, shallots, and dressing until ready to serve. Then toss together right before serving. However, it's still delicious as leftovers.
I don't recommend freezing this salad. The texture won't hold up.
What to Serve with Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad
This watermelon and goat cheese salad is so versatile and can be served with almost any summer dish, but here are a few of my favorites.
Picnic - I recommend serving this with the turkey pesto sandwiches.
- Instead of the peaches, more watermelon can be substituted or sliced mango.
- To replace goat cheese, either omit from the recipe to make dairy free, or use crumbled feta.
- Watermelon can be cubed or balled for serving.
Summer Salad Recipes
For more recipes like this watermelon goat cheese salad, see these posts.
Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad
- 2 fresh peaches, local is best if you can find
- 1 personal/small watermelon, seeded and chopped
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1 small English cucumber, sliced
- ⅓ cup plain goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup small handful of fresh sweet basil leaves
- ¼ cup small handful of flat Italian parsley leaves
- Optional: cherry tomatoes
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, dijon, olive oil and whisk till fully combined. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
- Wash peaches and remove the pits. Cut the peach into thin slices, about ½ inch. Wash cucumber and herbs, then take about ¼ to ½ of the cucumber (depending how large it is) and slice it thin. Save the other half for future recipes. If using yellow tomatoes, slice them into bite sized pieces as well. Peel your shallot and slice thin.
- Arrange all the fruit, shallots, and cucumbers on a plate, then add leaves from the parsley and basil throughout. Top with fresh goat cheese. Then lightly drizzle a spoonful of the dressing on top. You will probably have some leftover. I usually like to top mine with a little more fresh cracked pepper.
- This salad works well deconstructed or mixed together. I recommend deconstructed for a dinner party or date night, and mixed for a BBQ.
- If combining everything, wait to add the goat cheese and dressing until ready to serve.
- Goat cheese can be left out for dairy free (or if you don't like goat cheese).
- Use the tips in the post for picking out the perfect watermelon!