Watermelon Basil Salad with Mozzarella + Balsamic Glaze
This mouthwatering gluten-free watermelon salad is the ultimate summer side dish. It’s light, refreshing, sweet, flavorful, and a total winner among kids and adults. Easy substitutions like honey instead of maple syrup and mint instead of basil offers a simple, customizable recipe that turns out just as delicious either way it’s prepared. Another bonus: this dish is free of soy, grains, refined sugars, & refined oils!
Not a fan of mozzarella? A great substitute is full-fat feta cheese. I actually prefer feta cheese because it’s a bit saltier than mozzarella which pairs nicely with the sweet watermelon. I’m a sweet + salty combo kinda chick. I live for it. One of my kiddos doesn’t love feta so, being the mom who will likely stick to things I know my kids like, decided to use mozzarella instead. It actually is quite tasty with the watermelon and balsamic glaze! I have seen blue cheese served with watermelon as well. Blue cheese packs on tons of flavor so if you use it, add sparingly and cut back a bit on the glaze.
Watermelon Salad with Mozzarella + Balsamic Glaze
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 medium-sized seedless watermelon (about 5-6 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (see notes)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (see notes)
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed (see notes)(or pre-made mozzarella balls) [see notes]
- Add the balsamic vinegar and coconut sugar to a medium saucepan set on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium, letting the mixture simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until it thickens to syrup consistency. Stir often to prevent burning. Let glaze cool while to prepare the remainder of recipe (it will thicken more while cooling).
- Cut the watermelon in half and, preferably using a melon baller scoop, add about 4 cups of small watermelon balls in a large bowl (If you don’t have a melon baller simply cut into bit-sized pieces).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, and maple syrup. Pour over watermelon.
- To the large bowl of watermelon, toss in the basil and mozzarella until mixed well.
- Drizzle salad with as much balsamic glaze as desired (I used about 2 tablespoons) and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
- Honey can also be used in place of maple syrup.
- I LOVE basil. Therefor, I used quite a bit. Adjust the amount to desired taste – it’s just as refreshing without basil as well. I have heard mint leaves are also a yummy addition to this recipe instead of using basil.
- I found a 6oz. package of pre-made organic mozzarella balls that was super convenient to use and saved a bit of time during prep.