Southern Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad

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Add this to your menu – Southern soul food tangy and sweet tomato watermelon salad for your next outdoor BBQ party!

Summertime is all about the refreshing flavors of juicy watermelon and tangy tomatoes. 

Southern Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad

This recipe for tomato watermelon salad with feta cheese, pickled onions, pickled peppers, and zesty cilantro is a classy Southern dish, perfect for any occasion!

You may know this salad by its Southern roots name, heirloom tomato watermelon salad. 

What makes a tomato an heirloom tomato is its seeds passed down from season to season, taken by farmers from the tomato plants that produced the best fruit. 

Do you need heirloom tomatoes to make tomato watermelon salad?

Heirloom tomatoes are not necessary to make tomato watermelon salad. Instead, this recipe calls for the beautiful color medley of organic grape tomatoes. 

Regardless of the fresh tomato type, you’ll love this sweet-tart salad with crumbled cheese. Its color aesthetic is one of a kind, and it’s so easy to make!

Instant Pot Pickled Peppers

Instant Pot pickled onions and pickled peppers

The tanginess of the pickled onions and pickled peppers in this tomato watermelon salad recipe is sure to perk up any salad! 

The pickling process happens very quickly in only 4 minutes using an Instant Pot pressure cooker!

Red wine vinegar is the preferred pickling liquid for this recipe. However, apple cider vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or a balsamic vinaigrette are acceptable substitutes.

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The watermelon provides a refreshing taste that will leave you feeling satisfied. In addition, the feta cheese offers a savory kick that your taste buds will enjoy!

It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting an outdoor BBQ or cooking for one. This sweet watermelon tomato salad recipe with its tangy notes of pickled onions and pickled peppers will leave your guests coming back for more! 

It’s light, healthy, and a great addition to any meal—an excellent choice when you’re looking for delicious yet more nutritious ideas. 

Southern Tomaton Watermelon Salad

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Kitchen equipment for Southern soul food tomato watermelon salad

How do you make soul food tomato watermelon salad?

Ingredients for Southern soul food tomato watermelon salad with feta

  • 1 pound of seedless watermelon, chopped into approx. 1″ size bites (1 mini watermelon works well)
  • 6 oz. of grape tomatoes halved – if in season, choose the gourmet medley of colors (red, yellow & purple variety pack)
  • ½ a cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ a cup of chopped cilantro
Instant Pot Pickled Red Onions & Pickled Peppers

Ingredients for quick pickled onions and pickled peppers

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar 
  • 5 sweet yellow peppers, deveined, seeded, and sliced lengthwise 
  • ¼ cup of red onion, sliced into strips

Instructions for Instant Pot quick pickled red onions and sweet pickled peppers 

  1. Pour the red wine vinegar into the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot.
  2. Add the sliced yellow peppers and red onion to the pot.
  3. Close the Instant Pot lid (make sure the valve is in the sealing position – up) and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
  4. When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural release of pressure for at least 4 minutes.
  5. To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  6. Use a colander to drain the vinegar from the pickled vegetables.
  7. Set aside the pickled red onions and peppers.
How Do You Make Tomato Watermelon Salad

Instructions for Southern soul food tomato watermelon salad

  1. Add the chopped watermelon, sliced grape tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and chopped cilantro in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add the pickled yellow peppers and red onions to the fruit mixture.
  3. Use a small rubber spatula to gently toss and mix the ingredients gently.
  4. Tomato watermelon salad can either be served at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator for an hour.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

🎙Check out the podcast show notes about tomato watermelon salad on The Soul Food Pod!

Here’s why you should make tomato watermelon salad:

  1. It’s light and refreshing. If you’re not a fan of watermelon, try adding other fruit like peaches or strawberries for an even more delicious taste.
  2. The best thing about the topping part of this salad is that there are so many ways to dress it up to make the perfect flavor combination! You could even add ranch dressing for something tangy or use balsamic vinegar if you prefer sweeter flavors. 
  3. Enjoy a protein and enrich this salad by adding grilled chicken or shrimp with the tomato and watermelon for a delicious lunch option that will keep you energized until dinner time! 
Tomato Watermelon Salad

What to pair with tomato watermelon salad?

Refreshing tomato and watermelon salad with feta cheese pairs well with chicken dishes or pasta. 

Cheese and crackers

Cheese, such as gouda, pairs well with this dish because of its similar texture and flavor profile. Crackers are also an excellent option if you’re looking for something crunchy that will complement the soft textures in the salad.

Salami

Salami is another good choice for a protein that works well with this dish because it has a salty flavor profile that balances out the sweet flavor from watermelon.

Pepperoni

Pepperoni is another protein that will complement the tomato and watermelon flavors in this dish because of its spicy flavor profile, which works well with the sweetness. 

Nuts

Nuts like pistachio are an excellent pairing for this salad. They add crunchiness and are a healthy option to make your salad more nutritious.

Avocado

For a completely vegetarian meal, avocado is an excellent pairing for this salad with a sprinkle of lemon juice, lime juice, or sea salt.

Cornbread

Give your next meal the Southern comfort it deserves, and add one of these delicious cornbread recipes!

Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad With Feta Cheese

Southern soul food tomato watermelon salad FAQs

Why tomato watermelon salad?

This recipe is worth trying out if you’re looking to increase your vegetable and fruit intake but don’t know what kind of side dish to bring for a picnic or barbecue. 

Can you prepare a tomato watermelon salad ahead of time? 

It’s a good idea to make this salad ahead of time if you want to serve it to your guests right upon their arrival. 

As long as it’s refrigerated, this salad should not get soggy because there aren’t any lettuce components.

Do you need to refrigerate this salad before serving it? 

This salad is also perfect for when you don’t have access to a refrigerator because you can enjoy it even at room temperature!

What to pair with tomato watermelon salad?

Can you use toppings besides feta cheese?

You’ll love this salad even more when you come to know that there are many ways to change up the toppings. 

If desired, garnish with herbs like fresh mint leaves, fresh basil leaves, dill, thyme, or oregano. Or a salad topper like watercress.

Raspberries go great on top because they provide color and an extra burst of flavor when mixed into the tomato watermelon mix. Chopped cucumber adds an incredible zest.

Some people like to sprinkle a dash of kosher salt or black pepper to top their watermelon tomato salad before serving.

Can you swap out the feta cheese?

You could also swap out the feta for a similar cheese crumble. Goat cheese would be the next best option since it’s made from sheep and goat milk. 

Tomato watermelon salad is perfect as an appetizer, main course, or side dish. 

This recipe is the perfect healthy summer treat. It’s easy to make and very pleasing to look at with its vibrant pops of summer hues! 

The best part about tomato watermelon salad is that it requires simple ingredients from your pantry. No more long grocery lists to prepare a healthy salad at home.

Watermelon For Tomato Watermelon Salad

Are there any ingredient substitutes for this tomato watermelon salad recipe?

While there’s no other fruit to replace the tomato or watermelon in this recipe, other tasty recipe swaps can include:

  • Goat cheese if you don’t have feta cheese.
  • Apple cider vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or a balsamic vinaigrette instead of red wine vinegar.
  • Olive oil instead of vinegar if you’re not pickling the onions and peppers. 
  • If you don’t have colorful tomatoes, add in a few colorful melon balls like honeydew or cantaloupe. 
  • A chopped shallot can be used in place of red onions. 
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers can be used to spice things up in place of sweet peppers.
  • Top with fresh herbs like mint leaves, basil leaves, dill, thyme, or oregano instead of cilantro. Or a salad topper like watercress.
Why tomato watermelon salad?

What do you think of this recipe?

Did you enjoy this soul food tomato watermelon salad recipe with feta cheese?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad Recipe
Southern Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad

Southern Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad

Add to the menu a tangy and sweet Southern soul food tomato watermelon salad for your next outdoor BBQ party!
Summertime is all about the refreshing flavors of juicy watermelon and tangy tomatoes. 
This recipe for tomato watermelon salad with feta cheese, pickled onions, pickled peppers, and zesty cilantro is a classy Southern dish, perfect for any occasion!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Instant Pot Natural Pressure Release Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Instant Pot recipe, Southern Food
Servings: 4
Calories: 565kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot pressure cooker (for the pickled red onions & sweet pickled peppers)

Ingredients

Ingredients for Southern soul food tomato watermelon salad

  • 1 pound seedless watermelon chopped into approx. 1″ size bites (1 mini watermelon works well)
  • 6 oz grape tomatoes halved – if in season, choose the gourmet medley of colors (red, yellow & purple variety pack)
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
  • ¼ cup cilantro fresh & chopped

Ingredients for quick pickled onions and pickled peppers

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 5 sweet yellow peppers deveined, seeded, and sliced lengthwise
  • ¼ cup red onion sliced into strips

Instructions

Instructions for Instant Pot quick pickled red onions and sweet pickled peppers

  • Pour the red wine vinegar into the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot.
  • Add the sliced yellow peppers and red onion to the pot.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid (make sure the valve is in the sealing position – up) and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural release of pressure for at least 4 minutes.
  • To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  • Use a colander to drain the vinegar from the pickled vegetables.
  • Set aside the pickled red onions and peppers.

Instructions for for Southern soul food tomato watermelon salad

  • Add the chopped watermelon, sliced grape tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and chopped cilantro in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add the pickled yellow peppers and red onions to the fruit mixture.
  • Use a small rubber spatula to gently toss and mix the ingredients gently.
  • Tomato watermelon salad can either be served at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Tasty ingredient swaps include:
  • Goat cheese if you don’t have feta cheese.
  • Apple cider vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or a balsamic vinaigrette instead of red wine vinegar.
  • Olive oil instead of vinegar if you’re not pickling the onions and peppers. 
  • If you don’t have colorful tomatoes, add in a few colorful melon balls like honeydew or cantaloupe. 
  • A chopped shallot can be used in place of red onions. 
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers can be used to spice things up in place of sweet peppers.
  • Top with fresh herbs like mint leaves, basil leaves, dill, thyme, or oregano instead of cilantro. Or a salad topper like watercress.
Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad Recipe Card

Nutrition

Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 875mg | Potassium: 2345mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 5775IU | Vitamin C: 1157mg | Calcium: 503mg | Iron: 5mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow! I’m drooling.. LOL!

    1. This is one of my favorite salads – always makes me excited for watermelon season!