Watermelon Feta Salad

During our recent trip to Wisconsin we went out to dinner with Nick’s parents to an Italian restaurant called Sweet Basil. The food was excellent, and I especially enjoyed the watermelon feta salad that I ordered, so much so that I was inspired to recreate the salad at home.

The salad was very simple to prepare following a quick trip to the farmers market for the ingredients.

For the salad combine the following ingredients (makes two servings):

  • 2-3 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 1 cup seedless watermelon, cut into small cubes
  • 1/8 cup feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves sliced
  • Handful of sliced red onion

When it came to the dressing, an Internet search revealed countless recipes for similar watermelon feta salads, but many of the recipes I found had red wine vinegar-based dressings, which wasn’t the citrusy-sweet flavor I remembered from the restaurant version. I finally settled on this recipe from Food Network chef Ina Garten.

To prepare the vinaigrette whisk together:

  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used bottled lemon juice:)
  • 1/2  tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Toss it all together and enjoy! We dined on the salad for two nights – the first night we simply combined all of the ingredients together.

The next evening we prepared the lettuce on top of a thinly sliced piece of watermelon, an idea I saw online. While it was pretty, neither Nick nor I was a fan of the salad prepared this way, the amount of watermelon really overpowered the lettuce and was far too sweet.

Chefs’ verdicts: I especially liked the vinaigrette dressing and will definitely make it again to use on other summer salads. As for Nick, we learned he doesn’t like arugula :)… so we’ll be substituting it for another lettuce next time!

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