Watermelon, Arugula & Feta Summer Salad with Balsamic Glaze
This wonderful summer salad is a perfect combination of watermelon, arugula, feta, and toasted pine nuts. Top it with a splash of balsamic glaze, and it’s a terrific accompaniment for dinner from the grill, or perfect all by itself as a simple summer lunch.
The recipe is courtesy of my friend Cathy, who raved about this salad and thought it would be great as part of a mediterranean diet. She was right! Everything in it is important to a healthy mediterranean diet. Red fruit (like watermelon) is packed with antioxidants (see USDA article here). Feta cheese, as low-fat dairy, increases metabolism (see article here about impact of high protein/high dairy diet on body composition and weight loss). Pine nuts provide omega-6 fatty acids. And balsamic vinegar helps manage blood glucose levels (see article here).
To date, I’ve only been blogging about recipes from the Slimmer book, but this summer salad so nicely incorporates key elements of the Slimmer plan I thought I’d add it to the list as my first non-Slimmer book recipe.
It starts with a great watermelon, and July is when to find them. We’ve grown watermelon in our garden for two years now. The first year we grew them, I had no idea when they were ripe. Of course, as my grandmother would tell me, you are supposed to thump them and listen to the sound, but I have no idea which ‘thump’ sound means ‘pick it now, or it will wither on the vine and your kids will be very disappointed!’ and which ‘thump’ sound means to leave it in the garden for a few more weeks. A different approach, and easier for me to figure out, is to mark your calendar – watermelon is ready to pick 100 days after planting. Or just head to the grocery store.
The recipe also calls for toasted pine nuts. You can use untoasted nuts, but toasting imparts such a nice flavor. I put mine in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. As soon as you can smell them, they are done!
Watermelon, Arugula and Feta Summer Salad (serves 2)
1 cup watermelon, cut into chunks
2 cups Arugula (rocket lettuce)
2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 Tablespoons feta crumbles
1 to 2 teaspoons Balsamic Glaze (note: a little balsamic glaze goes a long way. Also, Balsamic Glaze is basically balsamic vinegar with some sugar. You can buy it at the store or you can make your own by cooking down 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar mixed with a teaspoon (only 16 calories) of sugar until it looks rich and thick)
Mix ingredients – that’s it!
Calories per serving: 103 (note: if you’re looking to decrease calories, leave out the pine nuts and calories per serving goes to 56)
This recipe serves two, and you can play with the amounts a bit if you favor any of the ingredients more than the others.