Watermelon Salad with Tomato, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette
Last month, my roommate and I went to stay with friends for the weekend on Long Island. When we arrived on Friday evening, our host informed us that he had plenty of meat for dinner, but he’d just realized that he had forgotten all about side dishes. (This is Logan’s best friend we’re talking about, so the whole meat with no sides thing shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Great minds meat sweat together, yada yada.)
Given that cocktail “hour” was well underway at that point and going to the store wasn’t really an option, I offered to throw something together based on what I could find in the fridge. You know I live to serve. Plus, I love me a Chopped-style challenge.
There wasn’t much to work with, but I did find a giant bowl of cut watermelon and half a block of feta, and everyone knows those two are the Bradley and Gaga Beyoncé and Jay-Z of the summer salad world. I asked if there were any herbs on hand and was told I might be able to scavenge some basil and mint from one of the pots in the garden, which I did. (Tipsy foraging is my favorite!!)
I tossed the watermelon and feta on a platter with a little salt and black pepper, drizzled it with olive oil and balsamic, sprinkled it with my foraged fresh herbs, and…
The crowd went wild.
Needless to say, this simple watermelon and feta salad wasn’t anything revolutionary, but it was insanely delicious, and it reminded me to a.) eat more watermelon salads before summer is gone, and b.) remind you to eat more watermelon salads before summer is gone.
I obviously support you going the simple route I described above, but should you wish to elevate your watermelon salad game, I urge you to take this delightful Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette for a spin.
This salad is the ultimate sweet and savory side or appetizer for any occasion, friends. It’s fabulously light and fresh, and the addition of heirloom tomatoes (‘tis the season), crunchy pistachios, and sweet-tangy herb vinaigrette to the watermelon-feta power pairing creates a rather mind-blowing taste treat.
Speaking of the herb vinaigrette, this is one of my go-to summer recipes, and not just for salads. It’s perfect for drizzling on vegetables, meat and fish, brushing on freshly grilled ears of corn, stirring into risotto, or tossing with farro and other grains. I use white balsamic for its smooth, fruity sweetness (I truly love white balsamic and recommend trying it if you haven’t already), but you can use regular balsamic if you must. You can also sub lemon or lime juice for a more tart dressing. You must always do you.
I highly recommend following my lead and getting all of the ingredients for this glorious party-ready salad (and any other recipes you might have on your late summer bucket list) delivered by my longtime friends at Peapod Delivers. Peapod is offering you $20 off of your first order plus 60 days of free delivery with code: SERENA20.
And I’ll leave you with another hot tip: Should you be throwing a party anytime soon and want to lighten your prep load (we all need a little help sometimes!), Peapod offers an epic selection of pre-made party platters. They’re the perfect menu enhancement for any late summer soirées, including Labor Day BBQs and picnics, but you should probably keep them in mind for the fall as well. As Logan keeps reminding me, football season is coming (help), and we will be in need of endless game day eats…
Watermelon Salad with Tomato, Feta, and Herb Vinaigrette Serves 6-8
For the dressing:
¾ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Pinch of kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad:
¼ cup raw shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
4 cups (about 20 ounce) cubed watermelon (aim for 1-inch cubes)
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
8 ounces feta cheese, sliced into 1-inch cubes
-Make the dressing! Add the basil, mint, balsamic, and a pinch of salt to a small food processor or personal cup blender attachment. Pulse a few times until the herbs are finely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until well incorporated. (If you don’t have a small food processor/personal cup blender attachment, no worries! Finely chop the herbs by hand then whisk them with the remaining ingredients for the dressing.) Transfer the vinaigrette to a small bowl and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. (The dressing should be pesto-like in consistency—thick but still pourable. If it’s too thick, add a splash more olive oil.)
-Toast the pistachios. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. (Don’t put any oil in the skillet!) When the skillet is hot, add the pistachios. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan regularly, or until the nuts are lightly brown and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
-In a large bowl, gently combine the watermelon, tomatoes, and feta.
-Drizzle 1/3 of the dressing on the base of a platter or shallow serving bowl/dish. Transfer the watermelon, tomatoes, and feta to the serving vessel. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle with pistachios.
This post is sponsored by my longtime friends at Peapod Delivers. All opinions are very obviously my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Domesticate Me alive and kicking.
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