Fifteen Spatulas

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

Stacked Watermelon Salad

Yield: Serves 4, easily doubles, triples, etc


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


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.

Top the goat cheese with a layer of chopped pistachios, and top that with 1/4 of the shaved red onion.

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.

Leave a comment:


  1. Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) posted on January 7, 2013 at 7:13 am (#)

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

  2. Kristi @ Cherry Jasmine posted on January 7, 2013 at 9:49 am (#)

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

  3. Janita posted on January 7, 2013 at 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!!!!

  4. CJ at Food Stories posted on January 7, 2013 at 11:13 am (#)

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

  5. Ann Mc posted on January 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm (#)

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

  6. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction posted on January 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm (#)

    What a fun idea for a salad!

  7. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts posted on January 7, 2013 at 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 :)

  8. Jen @ Savory Simple posted on January 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm (#)

    This is just gorgeous!

  9. Amy Tong posted on January 7, 2013 at 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.

  10. Purabi Naha posted on January 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm (#)

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

  11. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! posted on January 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm (#)

    So perfectly you! Gorgeous!

  12. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on January 8, 2013 at 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!

  13. Molly SC posted on January 9, 2013 at 1:03 am (#)

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

  14. juliana loh (@bilbaobab) posted on January 9, 2013 at 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! :)

  15. Suzie posted on January 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm (#)

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

  16. Zachary posted on January 9, 2013 at 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.

  17. Bam's Kitchen posted on January 9, 2013 at 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

  18. Jessica posted on January 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm (#)

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

  19. Joan Nova posted on January 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm (#)

    That’s a beautiful presentation.

  20. Myrtle posted on January 12, 2013 at 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!

  21. Anita at Hungry Couple posted on January 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm (#)

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

  22. Rachel Smith posted on January 24, 2013 at 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!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on January 24th, 2013 at 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.

  23. Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen posted on January 30, 2013 at 11:45 am (#)

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

  24. Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought posted on May 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm (#)

    That is SPECTACULAR! Fabulous choice of flavor combining.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 29th, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Thank you Cathy! It’s a great appetizer!

  25. Teresa posted on July 3, 2013 at 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.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 5th, 2013 at 9:46 pm

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

  26. Renae k posted on July 13, 2013 at 5:44 am (#)

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

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 15th, 2013 at 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.

  27. uzma shah posted on October 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm (#)

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

  28. ivana posted on June 12, 2014 at 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!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 13th, 2014 at 10:07 am

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


  1. Pingback: Gluten Free Watermelon Recipes for Summer! | Find Me Gluten Free