Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

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Thank you, Mr. Willis Carrier…

…for inventing modern-day air conditioning! When it is as hot as it has been in Phoenix over the last couple of weeks (up to 120°F/48°C) it doesn’t matter if it is “a dry heat” as Arizonans like to point out. To me – the Central European that I am and always will be – it is freakin’ sweltering and I certainly never get tired of complaining about it. The last thing I want to do in this weather is turn on the oven or stove. Instead, I gravitate towards light and easy summer salads that are quick to make – like this one with watermelon, arugula, feta, red onion, almonds and mint. It may sound like a weird combination but this refreshing salad definitely hits the spot when you’re hot and hungry!

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

For the salad:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cups baby arugula, packed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, no salt added if available
  • 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

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Instructions:

  1. Arrange the arugula on large plates and top with the watermelon, feta, red onion, mint leaves and almonds.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

Teachable Tips:

  1. Made up of 92% water and containing many important electrolytes, watermelon is an excellent snack for combating dehydration during the hotter months. Exceptionally low in calories, it contains significant amounts of vitamins A, B6 and C is known for its high level of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that reduces inflammation and neutralizes free radicals in the body, maintains proper cardiovascular function and possibly supports bone health.
  2. When I first thought of this recipe I wanted to make it all fancy with micro greens and a champagne vinaigrette. I guess my neighborhood health food store is not as fancy as I am since neither micro greens nor champagne vinegar was available. I ended up using good old arugula and white wine vinegar instead but feel free to substitute with other greens and types of vinegar; I imagine regular Balsamic or fruit varieties like raspberry or pomegranate would also work well.
  3. Your kids don’t eat salad? Well, neither do mine but they do eat pretty much all the fixings (fruit, veggies, cheese, nuts etc.) as a picnic-style meal. Everyone gets the same thing and there is no dirty stove to clean. Simply enjoy your salad with a cold glass of bubbly or rosé and call it a (summer) day!

Enjoy!

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