Stacked Watermelon Salad

stacked watermelon salad with goat cheese, pistachios, red onion, balsamic

The diet commercials have hit the airwaves, so now we know the holidays are truly over until next year.

Yes, I admit I am trying to drop a few pounds, and maybe you are too (unless you’re one of those people who somehow manages to only eat a few cookies during the holidays, skip the bread at the buffet line, and restrain yourself from going back for seconds. If you’re one of those people, you must share your secrets in the comments section because many of us are just confused about how that’s possible).

One thing that I simply cannot do is follow one of those diets where all you eat is carrots and celery for two weeks. I would have so much trouble sticking to any of the super restrictive diets because they’re just so boring! Eating a little better doesn’t mean you need to pretend you don’t have tastebuds. I promise you can have interesting and tasty food, that’s a bit lighter too.

chopped pistachios for watermelon goat cheese saladWhen I was invited to develop a salad recipe for this month’s Kitchen Play Progressive Party, I was really excited to find out that the star ingredient was watermelon, sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Usually when you think of watermelon salad you expect to have chunks of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew together. But watermelon is wonderful when enjoyed in a savory way too. Here you take a big block of watermelon, spread the top with some goat cheese, add some pistachios for crunch, some thinly shaved red onion on top, and dip it in a little bit of a balsamic reduction. It’s on the lighter side, but it’s still delicious, fills you up without filling you out, and the presentation is a total knockout. I would definitely serve this at a nice dinner or a party.

Watermelon spread with goat cheese for salad

Oh, and just for simplicity’s sake, make sure to get a seedless watermelon, so it cuts really easily. The average seeded watermelon has 300 seeds, and you don’t want to spend too much time poking them all out with a chopstick (oh, the childhood memories).

watermelon cube with goat cheese, pistachios, red onion, and balsamic

Join Kitchen PLAY, the National Watermelon Promotion Board and several food bloggers for a Twitter Party on January 22 at 7 PM ET where we’ll be chatting about this tasty, nutritious and versatile fruit, and testing our watermelon knowledge. You’ll also be eligible to win great watermelon prizes. You can RSVP for the Twitter Party here!

Watermelon (FINAL) resized

Also, you can read all 6 watermelon posts at Kitchen PLAY for clues. Each post contains a “watermelon fact” that may appear as a trivia question during the Twitter Party.

Tuesday, January 22
7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PST
Follow the hashtag #All4Watermelon

Copyright Notice: Fifteen Spatulas images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials without prior permission.

Stacked Watermelon Salad

Yield: Serves 4, easily doubles/triples

Stacked Watermelon Salad


  • Four 2x2x2-inch watermelon squares or circles
  • 1/2 cup good quality goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/8 cup shaved or thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


  1. Spread the watermelon squares with a thin 1/4-inch layer of goat cheese. If the goat cheese you're using is crumbly or difficult to spread, heat it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds and it should spread easily, like cake frosting.
  2. Top the goat cheese with a layer of chopped pistachios, and top that with 1/4 of the shaved red onion.
  3. Turn the balsamic vinegar into a reduction by cooking it in a saucepan set over medium high heat until it has thickened and turned syrupy. Keep your eye on it, as it reduces very slowly at first, and thickens up quickly at the end (and can burn in a matter of seconds). Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the watermelon and the plate. Serve and enjoy!

Disclosure: I developed this recipe as part of the January Kitchen Play Progressive Party, sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

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33 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • avatar Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) January 7, 2013, 7:13 am

    That is such an amazing idea for a salad. Super creative and perfect for tiny healthy bites at a party too.

  • avatar Kristi @ Cherry Jasmine January 7, 2013, 9:49 am

    Adorable! What a great festive and unique party idea. I love it!

  • avatar Janita January 7, 2013, 10:51 am

    How beautiful! I love the taste of watermelon and goat cheese together. I just bought both of them at the store yesterday, and I have pistachios in the freezer. I’ll try these this afternoon and let you know how they turned out. You know, the colors here are almost the same as Alabama’s football team. I might just make these for the football party. Gotta show that team spirit!!!!

  • avatar CJ at Food Stories January 7, 2013, 11:13 am

    OMG – I can’t stop staring at this dish … Your pic is gorgeous!!!

  • avatar Ann Mc January 7, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Joanne, that is stunning! I LOVE watermelon with goat cheese and your presentation is stellar!

  • avatar Jessica@AKitchenAddiction January 7, 2013, 2:00 pm

    What a fun idea for a salad!

  • avatar Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts January 7, 2013, 5:51 pm

    How pretty – what a great idea for a salad!
    I am all about eating a little better, but it better taste good :)

  • avatar Jen @ Savory Simple January 7, 2013, 5:59 pm

    This is just gorgeous!

  • avatar Amy Tong January 7, 2013, 9:06 pm

    This Stacked Watermelon Salad is so pretty. I love the flavor and texture combination. Can’t wait to give this a try.

  • avatar Purabi Naha January 8, 2013, 12:16 pm

    This watermelon salad looks so good and super easy too! Loved this.

  • avatar Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! January 8, 2013, 1:28 pm

    So perfectly you! Gorgeous!

  • avatar Averie @ Averie Cooks January 8, 2013, 11:13 pm

    Goat cheese is so good and I get on watermelon, it’s just the perfect tang to the sweet; creamy against juicy – great combo!

  • avatar Molly SC January 9, 2013, 1:03 am

    Ooooh I have GOT to try this, but with seedless watermelon :)

  • avatar juliana loh (@bilbaobab) January 9, 2013, 3:29 am

    fun idea and beautiful presentation! I’ve had watermelon and feta which was nice, but I think goat cheese would make a fantastic fit! :)

  • avatar Suzie January 9, 2013, 4:13 pm

    That’s a beautiful presentation. I can only imagine all those flavors together, it sounds perfect!

  • avatar Zachary January 9, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Have a good breakfast, have lunch and have an early dinner. For dinner have it a little early so you have time to digest it before you sleep, avoid snacking or have supper. If you must, some crackers or hot chocolate should be able to get you through the night. And do a little jogging or swimming too.

    So it is not restrictive, eat and be merry, but do not eat too late thats all =)

    By the way, awesome recipe. Looks classy, yet so simple.

  • avatar Bam's Kitchen January 9, 2013, 7:00 pm

    JoAnn, this is a gorgeous little salad appetizer bite. So easy and refreshing for entertaining. I have to admit that the holidays were a little over celebrated so this dish is welcomed. Take Care, BAM

  • avatar Jessica January 10, 2013, 12:34 pm

    Beautiful! I love the idea and your photography is lovely. Thanks for sharing such a fresh and stylish recipe!

  • avatar Joan Nova January 10, 2013, 4:26 pm

    That’s a beautiful presentation.

  • avatar Myrtle January 12, 2013, 6:20 pm

    I never thought to use watermelon as a savory ingredient, but I totally get how it would work with all those flavors!! Great idea!

  • avatar Anita at Hungry Couple January 15, 2013, 5:44 pm

    I’ve tried watermelon with feta but never goat cheese. The photos and presentation are absolutely stunning!

  • avatar Rachel Smith January 24, 2013, 6:00 pm

    Joanne, truly it is true, you can eat what ever you want and as much as you want. The trick is to move more. You love to make food. Do you love to grow it? I lose 20 lbs every summer putting in and growing a garden. I have a joke that by the end of the summer I have my own form of a Brazilian butt lift! All from bending over all summer. Ha ha! Does the idea of putting on your sneakers and walking around the neighborhood abhor you? It does me. I take my goats out on a walk instead. I love the attention from the neighbors and being called the goat lady. My point is, just like your love of food and making it needs to be the same for moving more. Finding something that is fun. Before you know it, you will be able to fit back into those clothes you want to and feel amazing about yourself!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug January 24, 2013, 8:38 pm

      Haha! Gardening definitely burns some calories. I don’t garden at all…we move so frequently, about every 1-2 years, and we always rent, so I never really get into it, which is a shame because I would love to grow some of my favorite produce. My husband and I walk together every night, and I love it! I run and swim too but have been injured for a year with a herniated disk that just won’t seem to stop pinching my nerve. It’s a pain :( Fortunately I can walk just fine.

  • avatar Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen January 30, 2013, 11:45 am

    What a beautiful salad! I can never turn down watermelon or goat cheese!

  • avatar Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought May 28, 2013, 9:14 pm

    That is SPECTACULAR! Fabulous choice of flavor combining.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug May 29, 2013, 8:32 am

      Thank you Cathy! It’s a great appetizer!

  • avatar Teresa July 3, 2013, 10:51 am

    Delicious and beautiful recipe! I also add fresh chopped basil, a few sliced strawberries and orange tomatoes, on the side, also drizzled with a touch of olive oil and the balsamic reduction.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug July 5, 2013, 9:46 pm

      Hi Teresa, thanks! I loved hearing about your additions!

  • avatar Renae k July 13, 2013, 5:44 am

    I love the look of this! My husband does not like host cheese at all. Can you suggest a substitute?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug July 15, 2013, 2:04 pm

      Thanks! Feta is also nice with watermelon, though you’d have to turn it into a mousse to get a similar texture.

  • avatar uzma shah October 6, 2013, 2:35 pm

    very delicious recepies my suggestion plz recepies sharing option not available why?

  • avatar ivana June 12, 2014, 4:28 am

    Hi! I’m just wondering how did you manage with the presentation of the dish when the watermelon gets too watery? Did you freeze it first?
    Your plate looks super clean I’m curious. Thankyou!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug June 13, 2014, 10:07 am

      Hi Ivana, no I didn’t freeze it. As long as the watermelon isn’t mushy, you shouldn’t have trouble.


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