Vegan Watermelon Feta Balsamic Salad With Tofu Feta + Mint

Watermelon goes surprisingly well in salads. I still remember the first time I had watermelon in a lettuce salad. It was at LPQ right when I moved to NYC to start at NYU. It was served with arugula + feta + mint and seriously good balsamic.

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My mom and I adored this meal. To us, the flavor combo was new. Now, you see this stuff all over. But at the time, it seemed like a fun, wild treat to us. Something I totally would have Insta’d. But that was an age where people didn’t Insta their food. Strange to think about, I know.

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Anyways, when watermelon is in season, I have thrown it into salads ever since that day. I love it.

Now I’m plant-based mostly, and rarely have feta around. Even when I wasn’t plant-based, I rarely bought cheese because it was rare I’d use cheese for more than just a garnish. I was never a huge cheese eater.

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But it adds such a nice a lovely saltiness and a bit of staying power to the salad. So here we are. I used this homemade tofu feta, but you can totally use conventional feta or purchase a plant-based feta at the store.

Arugula provides a nice peppery green, but you can also use baby kale or whatever green you want.go together surprisingly well together. I also often add avocado to this salad. Because avocado. Duh.

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Also, it’s essential to use a good balsamic. I mean, really you don’t have to, but it will truly kick it up a notch. And if you haven’t experienced a really good balsamic yet in your life, you should. They are sweet and sticky and wonderful.

I used this one from Trader Joe’s, which I’d highly reccomend.

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Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I need to hit it up tomorrow. This week has been crazy busy. I started 2 new jobs, did a lot of freelance, and took a day trip to Chicago, which I’ll be sharing soon.

Stay tuned!

Tofu Feta

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 1 as entree or 2 as side, easily doubled or tripled

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups arugula, baby kale, or spinach
  • 1 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 3/4 cup tofu feta or conventional feta, or plant-based store-bought feta
  • 1/2 large avocado, sliced (optional)
  • roughly 1/4th cup fresh mint
  • 4 tablespoons high quality balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Assemble greens, avocado, watermelon, mint and tofu feta in a bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of balsamic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

 

 

Watermelon Arugula Feta Salad with Mint

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This just might be my favorite salad of all times. Which is a bold statement, considering I eat and love a lot of salads.

If while reading the title of the recipe you felt a slight bit of skepticism, I don’t blame you. The first time I saw this on a menu at my beloved Le Pain Quotidian,  I was a bit hesitant to order it myself. Would the feta and watermelon work together? And with balsamic? I wondered. It seemed like a rather odd mash up of flavors. Luckily, my curiosity over-rid my timidness, and I selected the salad as my lunch entree.

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From the first forkful of watermelon and feta together, I couldn’t get enough of the pairing. Watermelon, sweet and lusciousness, physically and literally attracts dry, tangy, crumbly feta, and the two stick together to deliver a wild flavor explosion to the senses. What is extreme in each is balanced beautifully by the other, and the addition of peppery arugula, and a surprise element of fresh mint, add add up to a salad that with each bit leaves you eager for another, desperate for a change to figure out what dance of flavors is going on in your mouth.

Easy to assemble, this is a perfect summer salad for entertaining, even for a hesitant guest. Best made in summer when watermelon is in season, I served this at my sister’s bachelorette brunch this Saturday, but it makes a welcome and bold addition to any summer gathering, or a perfect solo lunch dish.

For the salad (below serves one as an entree; double for four people as a side dish)

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3/4 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • handful of fresh mint
  • optional: a quarter of a thinly sliced cucumber
  • optional: half a sliced heirloom tomato

Getting dressed:

  • one part (2-3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • one part balsamic
  • salt and peper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine arugula and watermelon cubes. Crumble feta over the two.
  2. Chop fresh mint, mix.
  3. If adding cucumber and tomato, chop and add to salad.
  4. Mix olive oil and balsamic in small separate bowl. Pour over salad.
  5. Add salt and cracked pepper to taste.
  6. Go to flavor heaven.

Simple as that. Serve among chewy fresh bread and enjoy what is to be your favorite summer dish.

xoxo,

-KBakes

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