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 SaladFor 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
- 1-2 fresh limes
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- 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...
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!