Watermelon Salad w/ Feta & Lime

I'm always surprised when I hear people say that they eat out most of the time. I feel bad for them because, to me, they're missing the intimacy and peace of a quiet meal at home. By eating out frequently we also, in a way, put our health in the hands of others. With few exceptions, restaurant food is not meant to be eaten everyday. Restaurant cooks are trained to make flavorful food, not healthful food. They will never stop and think, as they add another glug of oil, that maybe you don't need those extra calories. There is an element of self-care that comes along with cooking for yourself, and for your loved ones. You are caring about them but also caring about yourself, your health, and the quality of the time you spend together.

This past Sunday, I celebrated the engagement of my best friend and the wonderful man she plans to marry. At some point during the celebration, we were talking and they both told me that they eat out quite often. They also said that, even though they do cook at home,  the food they make just isn't as flavorful as the food in a restaurant. And that's what makes them go out the majority of the time. That stung. I mean, I feel responsible. Here I have this website, and I haven't been posting recipes that are accessible for people like my friends, who want to eat well but don't really know how. So, here we go, today I have something that's easy, healthy, and full of flavor. 

Let's talk watermelon salad. It's a little weird, right? Something you would see on a restaurant menu. If you really think about it, there's not much that's easier to make and load up on the fun flavors. Watermelon absorbs everything, it's crunchy and cool on hot days, and it's super hydrating. I'd say it's pretty easy to turn into a satisfying, surprising, restaurant-type salad. 

There are a few add-ins to this watermelon salad recipe that aren't at all necessary. First, the lemongrass. That's totally optional. If that seems difficult to you, or you don't want to shop for lemongrass, then definitely omit it. Also, you can switch the herbs around. I love mint in this salad, but I've also used cilantro with great results. Finally, feel free to improvise- mexican chile powder would also be yummy sprinkled on top, add some tomatoes if that sounds good to you, or try the pickled watermelon rind that we made for the pork chops. Go crazy!

Easy Watermelon Salad

Serves 2 as a side, or 1 as a main

Ingredients:

  •  2 cups watermelon, cut into small cubes about 1" in size  (use seedless, it's easier)
  • 2 cups peeled cucumber, cut into small cubes about 1" in size
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, cut into thin strips (or more mint, if you like)
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon minced fresh lemongrass, the tenderest center part
  • 1/4 cup soft sheep's milk feta (I used Valbroso brand)

Instructions:

  1. Combine everything in a big bowl and mix well. The feta will break up and coat the watermelon and cucumber. Allow to sit for a minute. 
  2. Taste the salad and make sure it's slightly tart, salted to taste, and coated in a little olive oil. If it needs more lime or extra virgin olive oil, add it. Serve in bowls topped with more mint.