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Photo: Hector Sanchez; Stylist: Lydia Degaris Pursell

Watermelon "Steak" Salad

Not your mother's fruit salad. A cold, thick, steak-like slice of ripe watermelon pairs unexpectedly well with salty Cotija cheese and a smoky vinaigrette. Also try it with leftover grilled chicken or beef.

Southern Living JULY 2013

  • Yield: Makes 8 servings
  • Hands-on: 30 Minutes
  • Total: 35 Minutes


  • 1 medium-size red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 12 cups assorted tender salad greens (such as mâche, watercress, arugula, and Bibb)
  • 1 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
  • Smoky Dijon Dressing
  • 8 (1 1/4-inch-thick) chilled seedless watermelon slices, rinds removed
  • 3/4 cup salted pepitas or sunflower seeds


1. Stir together first 5 ingredients and 1/4 cup water in a glass bowl. Cover and chill 2 hours. (Mixture can be made and chilled up to 2 days ahead.) Remove onions from marinade, discarding marinade.

2. Toss together greens, cheese, 1 cup red onions, and desired amount of dressing in a large bowl. Top each watermelon slice with 1 1/2 cups greens mixture. Sprinkle with pepitas. Serve immediately with remaining vinaigrette and onions.


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Watermelon "Steak" Salad Recipe