23/06/2024

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Watermelon Chicken Salad for One

Watermelon Chicken Salad for One

Enjoy the best summer flavors with this easy watermelon chicken salad. It’s made with sweet juicy watermelon, tender chicken, peppery arugula, salty feta, and chewy barley. This single serving salad is summer on a plate, no doubt!

close up of watermelon, feta cheese, and blueberries in a large bowl

[This recipe was originally posted in August 2021. It has been updated with cooking instructions, expert tips, FAQ, related recipes and ways to repurpose/use up ingredients]

Table of contents

Refreshing, easy salads are the best dinner option during triple digit summer days, that’s where this easy watermelon chicken salad for one comes into play.

It’s got fresh arugula, watermelon, and feta to bump up that refreshing factor, as well as tender chicken and barley to help you feel satisfied and full.

I like to make this watermelon chicken salad even easier by using rotisserie chicken. It doesn’t require cooking inside or firing up the grill.

This makes for a great solo dinner because it’s easy, quick and so flavorful.

There are lots of ingredients in this recipe, you don’t have to follow it exactly, just use what you have. But it’s great with watermelon, the dressing, and crunchy salad toppings.

Ingredients

Scroll down to the watermelon chicken salad recipe card for the amounts of each ingredient, but here’s a quick visual + description of what’s in this recipe.

watermelon chicken salad ingredients on a cutting board
  • Barley: Chewy, neutral barley is a great addition to this salad. It’s satisfying because of the fiber and carbs in it. You can use whatever grain you like/have.
  • Chicken: Substitute with salmon, edamame, pan fried tofu, or a pork chop.
  • Arugula: Peppery arugula is delicious in this salad, but you can use romaine, spinach, spring greens or whatever you have.
  • Watermelon: Crunchy, sweet watermelon adds lots of texture and flavor to this easy watermelon chicken salad.
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumber: I like adding cucumber for a nice crunchy topping, but you can add carrots, thinly sliced or shredded zucchini, brussels sprouts, or broccoli.
  • Red Onion: If you have red onion, or even another type of onion (white or green onion), that would work too
  • Pistachios
  • Feta Cheese: Smooth, crumbled feta cheese adds lots of salty flavor to this easy watermelon chicken salad. It’s great. You can use parmesan or goat cheese too.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: I like this vinegar because it’s a bit fruity feeling and sweet. Balsamic vinegar and probably apple cider vinegar would be good too.
  • Olive Oil
  • Dijon Mustard: Adding dijon mustard to dressings makes for a great flavor addition, but it also helps the oil and vinegar from separating as much.

Instructions

Scroll down to the recipe card for more detailed instructions. Here’s a quick overview + photos to see how to make this recipe in general.

chopped chicken on a green cutting board

1. Cook chicken and barley, if it’s not premade. It’ll take about 30 minutes to cook both.

You can also use rotisserie chicken or precooked frozen chicken, or precooked or frozen barley to save time.

cut watermelon on a green cutting board

2. Chop watermelon, cucumber, red onion, and also chop pistachios. Set aside if you haven’t chopped any of these ingredients yet.

bowl of watermelon, feta, blueberries and other salad ingredients

3. Assemble the watermelon chicken salad by piling arugula in a large bowl or plate, then add chopped chicken, watermelon, handful of blueberries, cucumber, red onion, and chopped pistachios on top of arugula. Set aside.

jar of salad dressing on a table next to a salad and arugula

4. After assembling the arugula chicken salad, pour red wine vinegar into a small jar with a lid, then add olive oil, dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt to jar.

5. Screw on lid tightly and shake until dressing is mixed well. Drizzle over this delicious summer salad right before serving. Enjoy your watermelon chicken salad.

Storage Tips

Store leftover ingredients for your watermelon chicken salad in separate air tight containers in the fridge. They should last about a week in the fridge.

Substitutions/Tips

  • Save time making this chicken and watermelon salad by using precooked or rotisserie chicken, or precooked/frozen/quick cooking barley.
  • Easily swap the chicken for another type of protein, barley for another grain, arugula for another type of green, etc. You can see other options above, in the ingredient section.
  • You can swap the pistachios for other nuts if you need to, although the pistachios are great in this salad.
  • Make extra salad dressing if you have leftover arugula and want to make more salads this week!
  • Other great add-ins: sunflower seeds, goat cheese, chopped broccoli or cauliflower, crusty bread, etc would all be great in or with this watermelon chicken salad.

FAQ

What are some unique foods to make using watermelon?

There are lots of different dishes you can make with watermelon like this watermelon chicken salad recipe, watermelon limeade, popsicles, watermelon lemonade, cocktails, or fruit salad with a minty lime dressing.

How can I use the rest of the watermelon?

You’ll definitely have leftover watermelon from this recipe, I recommend trying a few of the recipe ideas I mentioned in the question above, or cut it up and snack on it.

When is watermelon in season?

Watermelon is typically in season between May and September in the US. In northern Utah, watermelon is usually ready to harvest between August and September, which is the best time for watermelon chicken salad.

watermelon chicken and blueberry salad in a large bowl

Other good salad and dressing recipes

What to do with leftover ingredients

When you’re cooking for one, you often have leftover produce, cans of whatever ingredient, etc. Here are a couple ideas on how to use up the leftover ingredients. It’ll help you save money by wasting fewer ingredients.

Did you make this watermelon chicken salad? Leave me a comment & rating to share how it turned out!

large bowl full of watermelon, blueberries, feta cheese on a table

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Watermelon Chicken Salad

Enjoy the best summer flavors with this easy watermelon chicken salad. It’s made with sweet juicy watermelon, tender chicken, peppery arugula, salty feta, and chewy barley. This single serving salad is summer on a plate, no doubt!

Course dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Author Rebecca Clyde MS, RDN

Equipment

  • cutting board

  • knife

  • Measuring cups, spoons

  • Small Jar with Lid

  • Large Spoon

Ingredients

Salad

  • ¾ cup cooked barley
  • 2-4 ounces chicken cooked
  • 2-3 cups arugula
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon
  • handful blueberries
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 8-10 shelled pistachios chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Salad Dressing

  • 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  • (Cook barley and chicken if you haven’t yet)

  • Assemble salad by layering in 2-3 cups arugula in a large bowl or plate, then add ¾ cup cooked barley, 2-4 oz chopped cooked chicken, 1 cup chopped watermelon, ½ cup chopped cucumber, 2 tablespoons minced red onions, chopped pistachios (8-10 nuts), and 1-2 tablespoons crumbled feta on top.

  • Make salad dressing by pouring 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar into a small jar (with a lid), then add 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon dijon, and a pinch of salt to the jar. Tightly seal lid, and shake until all incorporated. Dress salad just before serving. Enjoy

Notes

  • Cook a heaping ¼ cup of uncooked barley ahead of time, or use quick cooking/frozen barley.
  • Use rotisserie chicken or precooked frozen chicken to save time.
  • Thinly sliced zucchini would also be great in this salad.
  • Make extra salad dressing to make additional salads this week