Main Dishes

Watermelon Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

by Shawnda on July 20, 2014

in Fruit,Goat cheese,Lime,Salads,Vegetarian,Watermelon

Watermelon Salad with Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

Last week, a picture of a pumpkin cheesecake popped up in my Facebook feed and I was like no.

And then I went all Tracy-Morgan-from-Cop-Out.



It’s July. And I want no part of pumpkin creamy salted apple Thanksgiving caramel candy corn baked casserole pumpkin anything.

What I do want? Sweet, figure-friendly summer fruit. Doused in figure-unfriendly tequila.

And we all know that fruit and tequila go together perfectly.

Watermelon Salad with Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

One of my favorite throw-together summer side salads is watermelon, red onion, feta, jalapeno, and a big handful of cilantro, sprinkled with just a little salt and a squeeze of lime. It has everything you could want in a summer side, except tequila.

Cut in larger chunks, it makes a fabulous salad. Cut in smaller dice, it’s makes a fabulous salsa for a no-cook chips-and-salsa dinner on the patio.

So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite recipes from Pastry Queen Parties is a similar blend of flavors taken to the next level with a tequila-lime vinaigrette. It has everything you could want in a summer side, including tequila.

The Pastry Queen serves her spiked watermelon salad in scooped out personal-sized watermelon bowls. So fancy. I opt for the no-fuss approach: a 12-year-old tupperware bowl that’s missing its lid.

Watermelon Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Watermelon and feta salad get a summery kick from a tequila and lime vinaigrette.


  • For the salad:
  • 5 generous cups 1.5-inch dice watermelon (about 1 small watermelon)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 3 oz crumbled feta
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (optional - but go for it)
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tequila
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar


  1. Lightly toss the watermelon, onion, cilantro, feta, and jalapeno in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, tequila, 1 Tbsp honey, salt and red wine vinegar together.
  3. Taste for sweetness and whisk in the extra honey, if desired.
  4. Pour over immediately before serving.
  5. If you anticipate having leftovers, only dress half the salad with half the dressing - the watermelon will water down the dressing the longer it sits. Dress additional salad as needed.


Yields: ~8 servings

Adapted from The Pastry Queen Parties

Estimated time: 20 minutes


Margarita-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Everyone has someone in their family that is the go-to person for cooking a specific dish. In my family, I am not that person for ribs.

But I have not given up.

Margarita-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

At a cookout in 2011, with a Fine Cooking magazine in one hand and a margarita in the other (possibly my problem), I slapped my very first rack of ribs on the grill while a hungry group of people salivated.

30 minutes later, I was in the kitchen trying to pick off scorched foil from scorched meat – or maybe it was bone… it was all black, hard, and crusty and there was very little distinguishing the two. And Jason was outside trying to prevent the garage from catching fire.

It wasn’t a total loss. Just maybe half the ribs. And 7/8 of my pride.

Margarita-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

This year, with my trusty ol’ Fine Cooking magazine in one hand (I still had it and just dropped it into the recycling bin today) and a margarita in the other (clearly not the problem!), I slapped my I-have-lost-count rack of ribs on the grill while (fewer) hungry people salivated. And then 2 hours later, I texted my little brother: My streak of not burning the ribs and my house down is at 3 years!

These are, hands down, my very favorite ribs that my little brother doesn’t make. And only partly because the recipe uses 4 shots of tequila.

Baby back ribs are marinated overnight in a tequila-citrus-chile powder marinade that’s reduced with – wait for it – more tequila and citrus. The grilled, fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs are finished with the “margarita glaze” before they are inhaled by your family and everyone is left staring at you wondering why you didn’t make more.

Margarita Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Tender baby back ribs are marinated and glazed with tequila and citrus.


  • For the marinade:
  • 2 racks (~4 lbs) pork baby back ribs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • Juice of two limes, zest from 1
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. Cut each rack of ribs in half and place 2 sections each in a gallon zipper bag.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour half into each bag.
  3. Seal the bags, turn to coat, and place in a baking dish in the fridge.
  4. Let marinate overnight, turning a couple of times.
  5. Transfer the marinade to a pot and add the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. Reduce glaze to a thick sauce.
  7. Heat grill to 250-300 degrees.
  8. Wrap each rib section in a foil pouch and cook (indirect heat recommended but my grill isn't big enough to accommodate two racks over indirect heat).
  9. Cook for ~90 minutes and tear into one of the pouches to see if the meat is tender and is pulling from the bone.
  10. Carefully open the foil pouches and glaze the ribs, leaving the foil peeled back so the sauce will caramelize.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes and then glaze again.
  12. Repeat and then transfer to a foil-tented platter to rest for 10 minutes.
  13. Cut ribs and serve any remaining glaze on the side as a sauce.


Yields: "12" servings (don't count on it)

Barely adapted from Fine Cooking

Estimated time: 14 hours 30 minutes


Avocado and Grilled Pineapple Eggrolls

Before we start talking about the insanity of what almost amounts to deep-fried guacamole, let’s talk about safety.

Because there are some things you shouldn’t do on a school night. Like drinking most of a bottle of wine all by yourself.

And then come the things that you shouldn’t do after drinking most of a bottle of wine yourself on a school night. Like getting anywhere near an open flame and hot, splattering oil.

But there is one thing that you should totally do with hot, splattering oil when you have all of your fine motor skills about you so you probably won’t burn yourself 4 times in 10 minutes (how am I even still alive?): Make these Grilled Pineapple & Avocado Eggrolls.

Avocado and Grilled Pineapple Eggrolls

Several years back, I made a clone of the Cheesecake Factory Eggroll recipe. It was… work. There was cream cheese and sundried tomatoes in the filling with the avocado and I’ve always found that kind of an odd combo. Although I will totally dominate a plate without complaint and call it dinner once a year.

And then the sauce had a couple new-to-me ingredients that were pricey and ended up going to waste because what else was I supposed to do with the rest of a $12 jar of tamarind paste? You know, besides not buy it in the first place.

But the one thing that recipe did get right? Wrapping chunky avocado in a thin, crispy fried shell. It’s basically fried guacamole. And it’s not at all hard to accomplish.

Avocado and Grilled Pineapple Eggrolls

I basically made an extra chunky version of my very favorite guacamole, which is loaded with sweet and smokey cubes of grilled pineapple, wrapped that up in an eggroll wrapper, and fried for ~1 minute on each side. The dipping sauce was a crudely-measured, raid-the-pantry combination of soy sauce, honey, garlic, red pepper, and cilantro. Sweet, salty, savory, and slightly spicy all in a single bite.

And my poor burned fingertips (WHY DIDN’T I USE TONGS) have nearly completely healed.

Grilled Pineapple and Avocado Eggrolls

Avocado and juicy grilled pineapple are served inside crispy eggrolls.


  • For the eggrolls:
  • Oil for cooking (enough to be ~1-inch deep in your pan)
  • 4 small avocados, diced
  • 2 rings grilled pineapple, diced*
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt
  • 1 pkg (16 count) eggroll wrappers
  • Small bowl of water
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced cilantro


  1. *If you aren't working with leftover pineapple, remove the husk, slice into ~1/2-inch thick rings, and place on a preheated grill.
  2. Cook ~4-5 minutes each side until nicely caramelized.
  3. Pour cooking oil into a pan and heat over medium high.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the avocado, pineapple. salt, lime juice, red onion, and pepper together.
  5. Lay a single wrapper on your work surface, dip your fingers in the water, and lightly moisten all four the edges of the wrapper.
  6. Place ~3 Tbsp of filling onto your eggroll wrapper and roll (I didn't get photos buy you can see the step by step here.
  7. Working with 3-4 eggrolls at a time, place them in the heated oil (it should sizzle with a drop of water) and fry ~1 minutes each side, until golden brown.
  8. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and serve hot.
  9. To make the dipping sauce, whisk all ingredients together.


Yields: 16 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 40 minutes


Spicy Salmon and Grilled Pineapple Wrap

I have lost track of the number of pineapples we’ve grilled in the last two months. But that number shot up last week when they were .99 each. Because you know me and how I love to hoard a good produce sale.

If you’ve never grilled a pineapple, let me tell you what you’re missing out on. First, a fresh pineapple is so much more flavorful, vibrantly-colored, and crisper than canned pineapple. Give a sweet, yellow round to the grill and you get back a round of caramelized, lightly charred, smokey perfection that you can do anything with.

Margaritas. Guacamole. Nachos. Burgers. Tacos. Salsa. This salmon. And even more salmon!

Or, you know, slap two rounds on a plate and call it lunch. Or breakfast. No judging here.

Spicy Salmon and Grilled Pineapple Wrap

I had leftovers from one of my very, very favorite ways to prepare salmon (seriously, if you haven’t tried it – do it!) and wrapped it up.

Sweet, smokey pineapple. Spicy salmon and weapons-grade jalapenos. Crunchy kale and red onions. A supposed-to-be-cooling-but-not-really-because-that-jalapeno-was-just-way-too-&^%$#@!-hot dollop of Greek yogurt.

A healthy, satisfying lunch… or at least it will be when my face stops burning.

Spicy Salmon and Grilled Pineapple Wrap

Spicy Salmon and Grilled Pineapple Wrap

Leftover salmon goes lunch with smokey, grilled pineapple and cool, crunchy veggies.


  • 1 sandwich wrap
  • Greek yogurt
  • Leftover salmon filet
  • 1 grilled pineapple round, halved
  • Tomato slices
  • 2-3 kale leaves, torn to fit the wrap
  • Sliced jalapenos (or not)
  • Sliced red onion


  1. To grill the pineapple, remove the husk, core, and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Grill on med-high for 4-5 minutes each side, until nicely caramelized.
  2. Spread a dollop of Greek yogurt over the wrap.
  3. Top with salmon, pineapple, tomato, kale, jalapenos, and red onion.
  4. Roll up and cut in half.
  5. Serve immediately.
  6. (Optional) Bury face in a snow bank to put out the heat.


Yields: 1 serving

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 15 minutes