When I first read about the basil-watermelon combination, it sparked my curiosity, so I had to try it immediately. Do you think I bothered to cut the basil leaves? I just tore a few and spread them over some watermelon. No surprise here: the aromas complemented so amazingly that I was sold forever!
It must have happened about three years ago, and since then, having watermelon without basil became boring.
As a child, I loved the family tradition of pairing watermelon’s sweetness with the saltiness and rich aroma of real feta cheese, the one made from sheep’s milk. Then, when I found out about this Mediterranean salad, I was ecstatic.
It is the perfect marriage between the sweet and sour with salty and spicy, plus the umami of good feta cheese.
Yields: 3 – 4 servings
4-5 cups cubed watermelon
1/4 cup red (or yellow) onions, finely sliced
1/3 – 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/3-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon/lime juice or apple cider vinegar
Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Peel the watermelon, cut in 0.5-1” cubes (1.5-2.5 cm) and place in a large bowl.
- Finely slice the onion and cut thin ribbons of basil leaves.
- Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice (or lime or apple cider vinegar). Add basil and some Cayenne pepper if you like it with a kick.
- Toss to combine, chill for 30 minutes and serve.
i) Add some mint for a more cooling sensation on a hot summer day.
ii) Feta substitutes that I tried and are also a perfect match with the watermelon: Manchego and Asiago.
iii) Time saver: peel and precut the watermelon and store it in a container in the fridge for a maximum of 1 day.
iv) Eat the salad on the same day, as it doesn’t keep well.
This watermelon salad is not only delicious and refreshing but will also help you stay hydrated.
It is a super-star dish that owes its many health benefits to a variety of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and macronutrients.
Source of: carotenoids, vitamins A and C, antioxidants (lycopene), calcium, potassium, beneficial bacteria.
Supports: hydration, inflammatory chronic diseases, heart and bone health.
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