Cucumber Melon Salad with Lime, Mint and Feta

It’s summertime, and that means salads!  All kinds of salads!  What I love about this particular salad is the sweet, tangy and salty combo. You can use one melon or mix several different melons together. Tonight, I happened to have a watermelon and honeydew that needed to be used, and since I have a huge pot of mint growing outside, I decided to make this cucumber melon salad I saw from the NY Times.  Lime and mint go together beautifully, and the saltiness of feta cheese made this salad a winner!  This is a great salad for those of you lucky enough to have a garden full of cucumbers!  You can also dice everything a bit smaller and serve as a salsa. 🙂

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Cucumber Melon Salad with Lime, Mint and Feta

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cubed melon (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe)
  • 2 cups diced cucumber, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, sliced thin
  • ½ to 1 serrano chile, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • feta cheese (to taste)

Preparation:

Combine everything in a large bowl and toss before serving.

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Arugula, Watermelon & Feta Salad

Nothing says summertime quite like a sweet watermelon, and right now, they’re at their peak!  Watermelon is incredibly healthy and an excellent source of lycopene.  If you’re not quite sure just how to pick out a watermelon, click here.

I love having some cut up in the fridge to snack on, but I also love it in salads.  The mint and watermelon in this salad are an amazing combination and the mint is key, so don’t leave it out.  Baby arugula is always my choice since it’s milder in flavor than the bigger, more mature kind. If you’re planning a BBQ for the upcoming 4th of July holiday, consider this salad.  It’s a great crowd pleaser and really easy to put together!

Watermelon & Arugula Salad

Watermelon & Arugula Salad

Watermelon, Arugula & Feta Salad

Ina Garten

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots (1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1/8th seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces good feta cheese, 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) whole fresh mint leaves, julienned

Preparation:

Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly to form an emulsion. If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.

Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.

Liz’s Tidbits:

This salad is only as good as the ingredients you choose.  Make sure you have a really sweet watermelon.  It makes a world of difference!

Watermelon Tomato Salad

I love watermelon and I love tomatoes, but, frankly, the thought of them together was not so appealing to me.  With so many restaurants putting it on their menus lately, I thought I’d give it a whirl in my kitchen and see what all the fuss is about.   I was pleasantly surprised at how the flavors compliment each other in this salad.  It’s light, full of flavor and with temperatures soaring up close to 100° these days, let me tell you….it’s just what the doctor ordered to cool us off a little!

Many recipes call for just mint or just basil, but I took the liberty and added several herbs I had in my garden (mint, basil & parsley). I loved the combination of all three.  I kept it simple and just drizzled it with a lemon/olive oil vinaigrette, and I thought it was perfect.  Very refreshing and full of flavor!

Keep in mind that your salad will only be as good as your ingredients, so make sure you get your hands on a very sweet watermelon and some of those great flavorful summertime tomatoes!

Watermelon Tomato Salad

Watermelon Tomato Salad

Yield: 8 -10 servings

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups 1-inch chunks seedless watermelon, chilled
  • 4 cups 1-inch chunks ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2  cup chopped fresh herbs (I used equal parts mint, parsley & basil
  • feta cheese

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation:

Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing and set aside.  Combine chilled melon and tomato in large bowl.  Toss in herbs and drizzle with dressing.  Pour onto decorative platter or bowl and sprinkle with feta cheese. (**See Liz’s Notes)

**Liz’s Notes:

  1. Experiment with different flavors…if you like goat cheese, use it instead of feta.  Or if you really like basil, try it with just basil instead of a combination of different herbs.  I really don’t think you can mess this salad up.
  2. Prep the watermelon ahead of time, cover the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator. Just before serving, toss everything together and drizzle with the dressing.  It’s best when there’s a chill on the melon.

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Watermelon/Mango Salsa

Sometimes when I least expect it, I’ll fix a dish that makes me take notice and say “WOW!”  Such was the case the other night.  I had laid some boneless chicken breasts out to thaw, and didn’t really know what I was going to do with them.  A quick look in my pantry for some inspiration led me to a hostess gift my friend, Cathy, gave me a while back. You need to understand this was no usual hostess gift.  More like a conversation piece!  It’s a spice rub by the name of “Aw Shit” from the “Big Cock Ranch”, claiming to be a “specially blended seasoning for those who want to put a little zip in their doo-da”. Well, HELLLOOOOOO!  Who DOESN’T want to put a little ZIP in their DOO-DA?  Just for the record, you locals can purchase “Aw Shit”, along with “Hot Shit”, “Special Shit” and “Good Shit” from Cathy’s new gift store, “Giorgios” which is opening soon!  I highly recommend this shit!

Next, I figured I’d need a little something to top the chicken to cool down the taste buds.  I had both mangoes and watermelon sitting on my counter, so I thought I’d give them a try together in a salsa.  I diced them up, added a little cilantro, red onion, a few serrano peppers, and a squeeze of lime, and MAN, LET ME TELL YOU, there was definitely some ZIP going on in our DOO-DAs!  This was one of the BEST salsas I’ve ever eaten, and it was fantastic paired with the spicy grilled chicken!

Of course, as we all sat down to dinner that evening, my 13 year old (self-proclaimed comedian son) takes one bite and declares “MOM, This SHIT is REEAALLY good”!  That was quickly followed by “You can’t ground me! That’s the name of it”!  Don’t you just LOVE teenagers?

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Watermelon/Mango Salsa

Watermelon/Mango Salsa

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

2 mangoes, peeled and diced
2 Cups diced watermelon
1-2 serrano peppers, diced (optional)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 Cup cilantro, chopped
Squeeze of lime
1/2 Teaspoon sugar (only if needed for sweetness)

Liz’s notes:
1. Make sure your mango and watermelon are at their peak and full of flavor for best results.
2. My family likes things “Spicy”, so I use serrano peppers.  Jalapeno peppers would be a little milder, or you can leave them out completely.

Watermelon Agua Fresca-Liz Style

watermelon cooler

Watermelon Agua Fresca-Liz Style

I love Memorial Weekend!  It’s a time for sun, fun & relaxation out by the pool!  We fire up the grill, have some friends over and just enjoy some down time…unplugged.   After a night of a little TOO much fun, I was looking for a refreshing drink (minus the alcohol) to enjoy out by the pool…something other than the usual water or tea.  After looking around my kitchen, the big juicy watermelon was calling out to me.  Hmmmmmm….I’d heard about watermelon water, otherwise known in Mexico as “Aqua Fresca”, but I’d never made it before.   I have lots of fabulous mint growing around my pool, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with watermelon, mint, maybe some fresh lime juice, sugar & water. The perfect solution for a refreshing drink!  Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Watermelon Agua Fresca-Liz Style

Printable Recipe

  • 1 seedless watermelon, peeled & cubed
  • approx 1/2 Cup fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • approx 1/2 Cup water
  • approx 1/4 – 1/2  Cup superfine sugar, or to taste (can use artificial sweetener, as well)
  • several stalks of fresh mint, muddled

Place a portion of the cubed watermelon in blender and process until liquified.  Continue with remaining watermelon.  Strain through a sieve, pressing on solids to release all juice.  Discard solids.  Place juice back in blender, add water, lime juice & sugar.  Blend, then put into a tall pitcher with the muddled mint.  Let sit a while in the fridge to allow the mint to release some flavor.  Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves and lime if desired.

***Notes:

1. Muddling mint is the process of bruising the leaves so they release their flavor.  Merely taking several stalks, mashing & twisting them between your hands will do the trick.

2. Watermelons will vary in sweetness, so the amount of sugar needed will vary with each one.

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