Grilled Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Pearls

To get the most out of summer melons and tomatoes, try this Grilled Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Pearls. Grilling the watermelon not only gives it beautiful char marks, it also caramelizes the sweetness and gives it a slightly smoky flavor in just a few minutes!

When you layer the grilled watermelon over arugula and stack it with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, you have the beginning of something special.  Tear some burrata chunks and add them to the plate.  Drizzle with some balsamic glaze and spoon some Balsamic Pearls over the top.  Look out!  That’s all I’m going to say!

This is an easy salad to make!  Start by cutting the watermelon into 8 squares or rectangles, about 3″ x 3″ (or 4″ if making rectangles) and one-inch thick. 

Preheat your grill or grill pan and lightly drizzle olive oil over the watermelon slices.  Grill the slices for 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.  Set the watermelon slices aside.

To assemble the salads, spread some arugula leaves over the salad plate, followed by overlapping slices of watermelon and tomatoes (you should have 2 slices of each per plate).  I love using two different colors of heirloom tomatoes to add interest to the plate!

Tear a couple of chunks of burrata and scatter around each salad.  Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze lightly over the salad.

Dust the salad with freshly ground pepper and for a finishing touch, dollop some Balsamic Pearls over the salad.  I was first introduced to these pearls (they look like caviar!) at my friend Bett’s big birthday!  This salad was served and I was immediately impressed because I had no clue what they were and because they were so tasty!  These aren’t necessary but are sure to be a conversation-starter!

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Grilled Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Pearls

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 (5-pound) seedless watermelon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt (specialty salt is great here, if on hand)
  • 2 cups fresh baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 4 slices each (assorted colors looks pretty on the plate)
  • 8 ounces burrata cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup balsamic glaze (see Chef’s Note)
  • 4 tbsp Balsamic Pearls
  • Fresh finely cracked black pepper


Stand the watermelon half cut side down on a cutting board and slice away the rind, leaving a solid block of melon. Turn the block on its side and cut it into 8 squares, roughly 3 by 3 inches and 1-inch thick.

Heat a nonstick grill pan or preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Drizzle just enough olive oil over watermelon slices to thinly coat and place on hot grill pan. Grill each side about 2 minutes until grill marks appear; transfer to a plate and season with salt.

To assemble the salads, put about 1/4 cup of baby arugula on a serving plate, followed by 2 grilled slices of watermelon layered with two slices of heirloom tomatoes in the center. Place a couple of chunks of burrata on the plate. Finish each salad with a very light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic syrup. Dust with black pepper, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of balsamic pearls and serve immediately.

Chef’s Note:

If you can’t find balsamic glaze, pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup consistency. Set aside.


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