This vegan watermelon and arugula salad is mildly sweet and deeply refreshing. The flavor contrast between peppery, sweet, herbaceous, and creamy makes the salad really enjoyable to eat. Includes an easy vegan balsamic dressing.
Introduction to the Watermelon and Arugula Salad
I’ve really been enjoying watermelon this summer and was looking for a way to use it in a savory dish. I came up with this salad that pairs the peppery, meaty-tasting arugula as a counterbalance to the sweet and refreshing watermelon.
To round the salad out, I included blueberries for some sweet-sour notes and interesting texture and color, as well as vegan feta cheese for some creaminess. Avocado can easily replace the feta and it lends a similar kind of creaminess.
Why make this salad
The reason I made it is because it is extremely refreshing on a hot day. Eating it makes me feel cooler and more relaxed. Lots of fresh basil and mint give the salad an invigorating fragrance. And the mixture of fruit, veggies, and whole grains makes a savory dish that satisfying yet light.
It also makes the most of fresh summer ingredients. Watermelon and blueberries taste the best when they’re in season. So this salad helps you make the most of your seasonal ingredients.
Last, it’s colorful and just fun. Diverse colors correspond to diverse nutrients, so you know you’re doing your body a favor. The range of different textures and flavors makes the salad fun.
How to make the Watermelon and Arugula Salad
This one’s super easy. It’s mostly washing and chopping. Rinse and dry the arugula. Chop the watermelon. Rinse the blueberries. Rinse and chop the herbs. Etc.
The dressing is easy as well. It consists of just vegan mayo, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and nutritional yeast. It’s not a sweet dressing – the maple simply balances the sourness of the vinegar. The main flavor notes are tangy and creamy.
More tasty and refreshing plant-based salads
As always, if you try this recipe out, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @gastroplant on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Vegan Watermelon and Arugula Salad
- 1 pound watermelon flesh cut into 1/2-inch (1-centimeter) cubes (500 grams)
- 5 ounces arugula (140 grams)
- 1.5 cups cucumber sliced thinly or shaved with a peeler as pictured
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa cooked (or other cooked whole grain, see note)
- 4 oz vegan feta cheese cut into 1/2-inch (1-centimeter) cubes (or avocado, see note)
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons vegan mayo
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar, such as apple cider)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Combine the watermelon, arugula, blueberries, basil, mint, quinoa (or other grain), and feta (or avocado) in a large bowl. Gently mix the ingredients, taking care not to crush the watermelon, feta, or avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Add half of the dressing to the salad. Gently mix again. Add more dressing as needed. Serve immediately.
Instead of the vegan feta, you can use half a large (or a whole small) avocado, cut into cubes
If you plan to make the salad in advance, you can prepare and store the ingredients and dressing each in separate containers so none of them gets soggy. Combine and mix only when ready to serve.
Tiffany Trawick says
You mention maple syrup but I don’t see that listed in the recipe.
Thanks for catching that! I updated the recipe so that the maple syrup is listed among the ingredients now.