Yesterday afternoon, I was staring down a giant hunk of watermelon in my fridge — precious shelf space had to be reclaimed. Once cut up, things were a lot more manageable, but I still had pounds of watermelon on my hands. Happily, a casual summer dinner was coming together — one with grilled sausage and polenta; as it happened, a big bowl of watermelon salad was just the thing to round out our dinner.
If you’ve never tried a savory watermelon salad, prepare to be impressed! Besides being sweet and refreshing all on its own, watermelon takes on savory flavors beautifully. This recipe riffs on the classic combination of watermelon, mint, and feta by adding a host of unexpected flavors to the mix. Sweet cherry tomatoes, mixed herbs, and crunchy toasted pepitas all bring something new to this versatile summertime classic.
Herbed Watermelon Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, and Toasted Pepitas
Serves: 4 – 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
4 cups cubed watermelon
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup minced herbs (I used a combination of mint, basil, and oregano)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup raw, hulled pepitas
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1. Prep the watermelon, cherry tomatoes, herbs, and feta, and combine in a large serving bowl.
2. Make the vinaigrette by whisking the lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt into 3 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle over the watermelon mixture.
3. Toast the pepitas by heating a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and then toss in the pepitas. Stir gently and cook just until pepitas begin to pop. Toss toasted pepitas with a pinch of sea salt.
4. Sprinkle the warm pepitas over the salad, add a bit more dressing if needed, and serve.