Some of my favorite foods are ones that are only good at very particular times of year. Be it pumpkin in the fall to beets in the winter, there is one food I love that only truly tastes its best in the summertime: watermelon. I love watermelon for its lightness and its ability to seamlessly compliment a variety of other foods and flavors without being overpowering or drastic. While the typical half-rind is a long-time favorite, I also like to get creative with how I include watermelon in my cooking. It is regularly featured in quick fruit salads on the side of almost every summer meal I cook, but I have come to realize an even more interesting way to fully capture the taste of the watermelon is by juxtaposing it with a vegetable salad. Like a pear or apple salad in colder months, when paired with mixed greens, cheese, and nuts, watermelon brings the perfect amount of sweetness. The juiciness of the watermelon also compensates for dressing for those looking for a low-cal or fat-free salad option!
Like most salads, my watermelon salad recipe is quite versatile in its serving style: it works great as both a starter or side salad, but also functions well as a main course. Another reason this salad is so flexible is because of the range of formality it can be used for. You can cook this up for anything from a casual family weekend lunch to a more formal backyard summer dinner party; either way, it works perfectly. This dish is a healthy and unique way to get daily doses of several crucial nutrients, from fruit to veggie to dairy to protein, and also provides a great meal for those looking for quick vegetarian options. The salad can also be made vegan by excluding cheese!
Regardless of where you choose to serve my Summer Watermelon Salad, it presents a delicious and elegant look every time. You can also customize it to your kitchen to make it suit your family—by adding other fruits like grapes or strawberries, switching up the greens or cheese you select (my personal favorites for this dish are spinach with feta, but arugula and/or goat takes a close second), and being creative with dressing! Add or subtract ingredients as your heart desires! Feel free to try all of the above for a true fusion of flavors, and please let me know how my Summertime Watermelon Salad works out in your kitchen in the comments. Following is the recipe to make your summer a tasty one.
- 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
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.
Here’s a quick guide how to pick a ripe and delicious watermelon while you’re completing your grocery shopping. After all, nothing’s worse than getting a mealy melon! The watermelon should possess the following qualities:
-Heavy for its size (means its full of juice!)
-Symmetrical in shape
-Bright in color (Not dull)
Then, just choose whether you’d prefer with seeds or seedless, and try to buy them the day you’ll be cutting them! Happy cooking!