Watermelon, feta, and arugula salad with sesame-honey dressing

A savory spin on the juicy fruit

"The intense flavor of the sesame dressing cuts through the sweetness and saltiness of the watermelon-and-feta combo,” says Melia Mardin, executive chef at The Smile and Smile to Go in New York City. “It's light and refreshing but with rich flavor so it feels satisfying."

Serves 4 to 6

Photography and styling by Jenny Huang


3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ cup sunflower oil


1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
½ pound baby arugula (about 7 to 8 cups)
4 cups seedless watermelon, cut into triangular wedges
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled into ¾-inch pieces
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper



In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, and salt. Add the sesame and sunflower oil, and whisk until emulsified; set aside.


Toast black and white sesame seeds in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until fragrant, and the white seeds turn lightly golden. Set aside to cool.


In a large bowl, combine arugula, watermelon, salt, and half of the toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle most of the dressing on top; toss to coat. Add the feta and toss lightly.



Drizzle with more dressing. Garnish with the rest of the sesame seeds and black pepper.