It’s one of my favorite times of year – summer.  To me summer is all about ease.  It’s the one time of year we vacation more, have fun with the family, and eat fresh!  Therefore my cooking philosophy is very similar: fun, fresh, and easy.

Fresh watermelon is a must-have on any summer menu, but as any true summertime chef knows, there are many ways to serve watermelon instead of the typical half rind.  One of my personal favorites is in a Watermelon Salad that combines watermelon with in-season vegetables like peppers and spinach leaves.  Use a sprinkle of nuts and cheese to complete the dish and voila – you have a beautiful, refreshing, and delicious summer salad.

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups watermelon, seedless and diced
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced
  • 4 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced thinly
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons, coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

In a large bowl combine watermelon, pineapple, spinach, peppers, onion, and beans. Add the balsamic vinaigrette and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Right before serving, top with chopped walnuts and crumbled feta.

http://www.theberghoff.com/2013/07/30/summer-cooking-philosophy-fun-fresh-easy/

It’s one of the most versatile dishes you’ll find, that you can serve at backyard barbecues or when you’re having your boss over for dinner.  It presents a delicious and elegant look every time.

Pair it with a Watermelon Cooler or other refreshing summer cocktail and you will really have a crowd pleaser!

I like to experiment and add other fruits, vegetables, or herbs that I have in my fridge or garden.  Mint goes great with watermelon and feta, but I’ve found a little goes a long way.  Another tip is to make sure you fully drain the watermelon before adding to the salad.  Watermelon primarily consists of water and therefore can weigh down the salad, not only making it soggy, but making the feta cheese gooey.  I simply let the diced watermelon sit in a colander for about 5 minutes then pat off any extra moisture with a towel.

What’s your favorite way to use watermelon in the summer?