Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tomato Watermelon Salad

At the end of this week, I'll be returning to the Midwest to co-host Meg's bridal shower. Mom & I have been working & planning for months to bring together a beautiful, special, memorable occasion for Meggie as she enters this next phase of being a bride.

As we built the menu for the event, I kept my eyes open for something unique to bring to the table. I was hoping for something fresh, creative, and, of course, likable.  Then, one day, I was reading an article on Runner's World and came across a recipe for a salad that promised to be "a tasty way to hydrate".
What better salad to serve to a bunch of women who will most certainly be drinking generous portions of alcohol?
Not to mention doing so in very hot weather. Hydration will be a must.

Enter: Tomato Watermelon Salad

For you cynics out there, keep it zipped until I'm done here...just keep reading. If you choose to read the Runner's World article, you'll see that I made plenty of adjustments to suit my own tastes, but I must say, I'm extremely proud of the changes.

Here's what you'll need to prepare:

  • 3-4 tomatoes (I chose the vine tomatoes)
  • ~1/3 large watermelon (cubed)
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • Large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • One  jalapeño (Optional)

For the dressing/base:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I use the extra light version to keep it healthy)
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • 1-2 fresh limes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
Optional garnish
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Roasted pistachios  (no salt added-again, for the heart-conscious)

Here's what you'll need to do: 
NOTE: Depending on how much time you like to spend slicing & dicing your food--and whether or not you have a helper in the kitchen--this could all be done in about 15 minutes...I think it took me 45 because I LOVE taking my time when I prepare food; I sip wine, talk with my husband and usually have a Netflix show playing on the iPad...but you know, to each their own.

Oh, and if you really want to enjoy the experience of making this salad, this UNOAKED Chardonnay is a nice pick.

 Cubing the watermelon is so fun and easy! Look at how perfectly proportionate you can make the pieces...

 Ugh...I have to admit that scooping the juicy middles out of the tomatoes and then chopping them up is my LEAST favorite part.

 TIP: I recommend draining the watermelon and tomatoes a bit before adding the dressing. These two fruits are watery enough as it is, you don't want this to turn into a soggy salad bath. (Also, for this same reason, you should serve this dish with a fork or spoon with built-in strainer, so your guests aren't sipping their salad).

A bit of color.


Yes, this basil is from my herb garden here at home, thank you very much. In reality, I used a lot more basil than is shown here. This is another personal preference. The cool freshness of the herb offset the amount of heat I put in the dressing.


For the dressing, I whisked together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, honey & cayenne pepper.  
Confession: I didn't measure these ingredients at all; I did it all to taste, which is probably not a bad idea considering I like this pretty spicy, while plenty of people may not. 

 Drizzling the dressing over the chopped fruits & veggies 
gives the salad such a pretty shine! 
Final variation: I chopped up one jalapeño to our salad.  I don't plan to do this for the shower. 

 Plenty of left over. This would complement a fish taco or 
grilled chicken very nicely.  My husband and I also used it as a salsa substitute, dipping blue corn chips in it. Delicious.

To create a full meal out of this, I added in the two optional proteins (which will be presented as choices at the bridal shower):

 pistachios & feta cheese

Each bite is sweet, spicy, crunchy and refreshing. It fills you up yet leaves you satisfied knowing you're eating a very healthy dish.

Wash this down with iced tea or a crisp white wine and you're in heaven! 

I hope the guests are as excited about this as I am!

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