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

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:

  1. Peel the watermelon, cut in 0.5-1” cubes (1.5-2.5 cm) and place in a large bowl.
  2. Finely slice the onion and cut thin ribbons of basil leaves.
  3. 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.
  4. Toss to combine, chill for 30 minutes and serve.

Tips:

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.

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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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