Arugula Watermelon Salad

arugula watermelon salad
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If summer was a salad, it would be this arugula watermelon salad

This arugula watermelon salad is a special one. Quite literally. It’s a summer special at my favorite restaurant, Antico Posto. It’s on the menu for a total of three weeks, and you bet I’m there every week when it is. But this year I feel like we all need something special, and we need it to last more than three weeks, so I recreated my favorite salad just for you. It’s just fresh, simple ingredients that create a flavor palette like no other.

This salad has delicious ricotta

Most arugula and watermelon salads have feta in them. It makes sense, you need some salty to balance the sweet. But what if I told you that ricotta makes this even better? This step is completely optional, but I like to reduce the moisture in ricotta by tightly wrapping it in some cheese cloth and letting it dry out in the fridge over night. The ricotta becomes easier to handle, and you get chunks of creamy ricotta, crunchy pistachios and sweet watermelon in every bite. It’s so delicious! With all these flavor stars, you may think the arugula goes unnoticed, but baby arugula still shines through with its peppery kick. I also add some parmesan, and it gives just the right amount of salty flavor to this.

How to make arugula watermelon salad

I like slicing the watermelon as thin as possible, so you can almost see through it. It’s easier to eat and it looks pretty! Since the dressing is so simple, I do’t even mix it up before adding. I just drizzle over the olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper and toss when I’m ready to serve. One thing I would insist on you doing is keeping the salad dry until you’re ready to serve it. Baby arugula wilts in mere minutes, so even a simple lemon juice and olive oil can weigh it down. I like adding a mix of crushed and whole pistachios for some texture, and I always used roasted pistachios.

More salads to try:

Fattoush Salad

Potato Fatteh

arugula and watermelon salad with ricotta

Arugula Watermelon Salad

This salad is fresh and perfect for summer. It has sweet watermelon, peppery arugula, creamy ricotta and some pistachios for crunch. The dressing is a simple drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice, and the flavors combine beautifully to create the perfect summer salad!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 4 cups baby arugula packed
  • 1 cup watermelon sliced and chilled
  • 1/4 cup ricotta see notes for prep
  • 1/4 cup pistachios crushed
  • 2 tbsp parmesan shaved


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice fresh
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch salt


  • Optional Ricotta Prep: To make the ricotta solid, place your ricotta in a layered cheese cloth and twist the tops to close. Twist the top to tighten and squeeze out excess liquid, making sure ricotta doesn't seep through. Place in a strainer and put something heavy like a plate (or small cast iron lid) on top. Then place the strainer in a bowl and place in the fridge for 5 hours, or for best results, overnight. This releases the excess moisture in ricotta and gives it a feta like consistency, which is nice in salads.
  • Place the arugula in your salad bowl. Spread over slices of watermelon and chunks of ricotta. Sprinkle sover the pistachios and parmesan.
  • In a small bowl mix together the dressing. Drizzle over as much as you'd like over the salad right before serving.



Substitutions. If you’re not a fan of ricotta you can use feta, or just skip the ricotta all together and just use parmesan. It still tastes great.
I love using arugula in this because of the peppery flavor, but you can replace it with spring salad mix. 
Ricotta.  It’s not hard to dehydrate the ricotta, you just need to remember to do it well before you want to make this salad. Having solid ricotta in your fridge is actually great. You can use it on other salads, in pastas or spread over toast with a drizzle of honey.
If you want to keep your ricotta creamy, go right ahead!  
Serve it. This salad is so refreshing. It’s a great light lunch in the summer. But if you want to serve it as a side, it goes great with pizza, pastas, or steaks.  
I do not recommend storing leftovers. The salad will wilt, so consume it the day you make it. 
Keyword Arugula, Salad, Watermelon

Did you try this summer salad?

I love hearing your feedback! If you tried this recipe I would love to hear how it turned out in the comments below!

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Absolutely loved the salad. The tangy citrus, with the sweet water melon and peppery arugula – seemed like a match made in heaven. And extra points for how easy it was to put together.
Felt absolutely refreshed after having it in this hot weather ❤️