Balsamic Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

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Cucumber Watermelon Salad — 🥗🍉🥒 An EASY salad with watermelon, cucumber, arugula, goat cheese, candied nuts, and drizzled with a homemade balsamic glaze! A PERFECT summer salad for those days when it’s too hot to cook!

Balsamic Watermelon Cucumber Salad — An EASY, healthy, and light salad with watermelon, cucumber, arugula, goat cheese, candied nuts, and drizzled with a homemade balsamic glaze!! A PERFECT summer salad for those days when it's too hot to cook!!

This watermelon and cucumber salad is a spinoff of a salad I love to eat at one of my favorite Puerto Vallarta beach bars. It’s refreshing, light, and the combination of all the flavors is just perfection.

There’s juicy sweet watermelon, cucumber, strong and peppery arugula, tanginess from goat cheese, crunchy candied nuts, and a homemade balsamic glaze.

If you’ve never thought that watermelon can be delicious in a more savory application, think again because this salad will just knock your socks off.

It’s so fresh and perfect for hot summer days.

Balsamic Watermelon Cucumber Salad — An EASY, healthy, and light salad with watermelon, cucumber, arugula, goat cheese, candied nuts, and drizzled with a homemade balsamic glaze!! A PERFECT summer salad for those days when it's too hot to cook!!

Salad Ingredients

You only need a handful of ingredients to make this watermelon and cucumber salad, including:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Watermelon 
  • Cucumber
  • Arugula
  • Goat cheese
  • Candied nuts – store-bought or homemade

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Balsamic Watermelon Cucumber Salad — An EASY, healthy, and light salad with watermelon, cucumber, arugula, goat cheese, candied nuts, and drizzled with a homemade balsamic glaze!! A PERFECT summer salad for those days when it's too hot to cook!!

How to Make Cucumber Watermelon Salad

This watermelon salad with cucumber is drizzled with a homemade balsamic glaze, which you’ll need to make before tossing the salad together. It’s simple!

  1. Making the balsamic glaze: Add the balsamic vinegar and granulated sugar to a large saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the volume has reduced by about 80% and the sauce is thick and syrupy.
  2. Assemble the salad: To a medium bowl, add all the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and drizzle as much of the balsamic reduction as desired.

What to Serve with Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Salad FAQs

How Can I adjust the sweetness level of the balsamic glaze?

I used a 500 milliliter (about 17 ounces) bottle of balsamic vinegar and added close to 1 cup sugar. You can start with 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar and taste your sauce when it looks like it’s about halfway done, but for me that’s not quite sweet enough and it’s too intensely vinegary, so I went with closer to 1 cup for this batch.

Can I Add a Protein Source to the Salad?

Yes! I bet grilled chicken would pair wonderfully with this cucumber watermelon salad.

Can I Use a store-bought balsamic glaze?

Of course! Trader Joe’s is one I tend to keep on hand for times like this and there are many other brands out there these days if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area.

Can the goat cheese be omitted or substituted?

As written, this is a naturally vegetarian salad recipe, but you can make it vegan by skipping the goat cheese or using a vegan cheese.

And if you just don’t like goat cheese, try using feta instead!

Can the salad be made in advance?

Not really. The watermelon releases juice quickly and will cause the cucumber and arugula to soften. However, you can prep the individual fruits and veggies and store them in separate containers in the fridge up to 48 hours before tossing the salad. The balsamic glaze can be prepared weeks in advance.

Storage Instructions

Salad: Is best eaten immediately and can’t be assembled in advance.

Balsamic glaze: You will have lots of balsamic reduction leftover, and it will keep for weeks in an airtight container in the fridge. As long as you’re going to the trouble to make it, you may as well have extra for future recipes, because it’s great drizzled over chicken, salmon, etc.

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5 from 17 votes

Balsamic Watermelon Cucumber Salad

By Averie Sunshine
🥗🍉🥒 An EASY, healthy, and light salad with watermelon, cucumber, arugula, goat cheese, candied nuts, and drizzled with a homemade balsamic glaze! A PERFECT summer salad for those days when it's too hot to cook!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
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Ingredients  

Balsamic Glaze

  • 500 millilters balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided

Salad

  • 3 cups watermelon, seeded and cubed (I recommend seedless, firm watermelon)
  • 1 large cucumber or English cucumber, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup argula, 1 heaping handful
  • cup goat cheese, crumbled or as desired
  • cup candied nuts, (store-bought or homemade)

Instructions 

  • To a high-sided medium/large kettle (use one bigger than you think you need), add the vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, and heat over medium to medium-high until mixture boils and can sustain a fast rolling boil.
  • Boil for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until reduced by about 80% and has thickened and is syrupy; stir intermittently and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t bubble over.
  • When the sauce looks like it’s about halfway done, taste the sauce, and if it’s too vinegary and bitter for you, add part of or all of the remaining sugar. I personally use almost 1 cup. Sauce will thicken up more as it cools.
  • To a medium bowl, add all the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and drizzle as much of the balsamic reduction as desired.

Notes

Glaze: Alternatively, you can use store-bought balsamic glaze.
You will have lots of balsamic reduction leftover, but it will keep for weeks in a sealed container in the fridge. As long as you’re going to the trouble to make it, you may as well have extra for future recipes, because it’s great drizzled over chicken, salmon, etc.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 4245kcal, Carbohydrates: 812g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 1160mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 717g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Summer Salad Recipes: 

Chopped Chicken Salad — An EASY chopped salad with so much FLAVOR and CRUNCH topped with PERFECT juicy oven-baked chicken that’s ready in 15 minutes!! Homemade honey apple cider vinaigrette adds the finishing touch!!

Southwest Chicken Cobb Salad – 🥗🧀🍅🌽 A Southwestern spin on traditional Cobb salad complete with tender chicken, crispy bacon, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, black beans, corn, and avocado over a bed of Romaine lettuce! 

Layered Taco Salad — A classic taco salad that everyone LOVES, it’s EASY, and it’s ready in 20 minutes!! There’s ground beef, refried beans, red peppers, tortilla chips, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes!! 

Mediterranean Salad — This Mediterranean salad easy, healthy, accidentally vegetarian, ready in 10 minutes, and you can easily size the recipe up if you’re making it for a larger group.

Strawberry Chicken Salad — The grilled chicken is so JUICY and moist thanks to a homemade pecan butter marinade!! Sweet strawberries and crunchy pecans add extra texture and FLAVOR!!

Greek Pita Chip Salad — Greek salad just got a makeover!! Still uses classic ingredients like red peppers, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta but now there are PITA CHIPS for extra crunch and texture! 

Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad — Homemade pesto coats every bite of JUICY chicken, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella in this fun twist on caprese salad!! EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with rich basil flavor!!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hands down, one of the most delicious salads I’ve ever eaten. Was a huge hit at my dinner party, and what a beautiful presentation it makes. Buy the Trader Joe’s glaze for an easy, delicious sauce.

  2. 5 stars
    Hands down, one of the most delicious salads I’ve ever eaten. Was a huge hit at my dinner party, and what a beautiful presentation it makes. Buy the Trader Joe’s glaze for an easy, delicious sauce.

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you love this recipe and it’s one of the most delish salads you’ve ever eaten! I agree, the TJ’s glaze is easy-peasy and makes it so easy to whip up this salad.

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of the most fantastic salads I have ever had! Incredible mix of flavors but the balsamic reduction is what pulls everything together. I made my own candied pecans in a skillet with some butter and honey (the little store bought bags were kind of pricey)!

  4. 5 stars
    This is one of the most fantastic salads I have ever had! Incredible mix of flavors but the balsamic reduction is what pulls everything together. I made my own candied pecans in a skillet with some butter and honey (the little store bought bags were kind of pricey)!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I made this earlier on in the QT when spring weather was just starting, but I couldn’t find candied pecans and all I could find were the candied macadamias but I bought them anyway even though they were very pricey (because I was lazier than you were)! Bravo for making your own candied nuts (I have lots of recipes for them, I don’t know why I didn’t….)

      But yes this is one of my favorite salads OF ALL TIME!! I am so glad you said what you said. It’s based off a restaurant salad I get in Puerto Vallarta but there is something about the homemade balsamic (and TJ’s balsamic glaze is a close second) that takes it over the top. And not being stingy with the goat cheese, either. And I add more cucumbers and arugula and they use more of like a spinach-spring mix greens.

      It did not photograph as well as I wanted to and hasn’t performed well on my site or social media, people just don’t know what they are missing :)

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Averie. Today we had this Balsamic Watermelon and Cucumber Salad for dinner with grilled chicken. It knocked our socks off!!! Thank you. Textures, color, flavors — Wow! Hubby could not get enough. Each mouthful had its own surprise: first the pop of pepper from the arugula, second the tang of the cheese, then the sweet crunchiness of the nuts. My only problem was with the balsamic dressing itself. I cooked it as directed and after 15 minutes, it had the texture of candy. As it cooled it hardened, so there was no way I could drizzle it. I ended up just mixing balsamic vinegar and sugar until I liked the taste, and then drizzling that over the salad. No cooking at all. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it turned out well.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Averie. Today we had this Balsamic Watermelon and Cucumber Salad for dinner with grilled chicken. It knocked our socks off!!! Thank you. Textures, color, flavors — Wow! Hubby could not get enough. Each mouthful had its own surprise: first the pop of pepper from the arugula, second the tang of the cheese, then the sweet crunchiness of the nuts. My only problem was with the balsamic dressing itself. I cooked it as directed and after 15 minutes, it had the texture of candy. As it cooled it hardened, so there was no way I could drizzle it. I ended up just mixing balsamic vinegar and sugar until I liked the taste, and then drizzling that over the salad. No cooking at all. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it turned out well.

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that you loved the salad! I agree it’s so many great textures and flavors in every bite!

      As for the balsamic reduction, if it was that thick and had the texture of candy, you way overboiled it. You must have been boiling it at a pretty fast boil, or maybe your stove runs hot, or who knows, but you could safely stop and check after 7-8 mins next time if at 15 it was that dense. Now you have a feel for what you’re looking for and remember it thickens up as it cools, too.

  7. I have been wanting to make some kind of watermelon cucumber salad and this sounds deliciously different with goat cheese and nuts!!

  8. Hi Averie, Please revisit the calories posted for this recipe. Seems to be incorrect.

    Thank you,
    JoAnna

    1. Did you read the big disclaimer I wrote underneath the nutrition data? You must have missed that because I addressed this very point.

      1. I just asked the same question, reading the comments after submitting, so thanks for the clarification. I don’t see your disclaimer as you mention, so am missing the corrected info, but just glad it’s NOT 4000+ calories. Thanks!
        You can disregard the question I submitted previously.

      2. At the bottom of the recipe card it states this: READ THE LAST LINE

        NUTRITION INFORMATION: YIELD: 2 SERVING SIZE: 1
        Amount Per Serving: Calories: 4245Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 1160mgCarbohydrates: 812gFiber: 4gSugar: 717gProtein: 34g

        “The nutrition information is taking into account ALL of the balsamic reduction and you won’t need anywhere near all of it for this salad, probably just a few tablespoons, but it is skewing the data very extremely artificially high.”

        Common sense should also indicate that high water content fruit with a sprinkling of cheese and a few nuts and a drizzle of balsamic would never have 4000 calories. You can use plain balsamic vinegar right out of the bottle too if you are especially worried.