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
Lightly toss the watermelon, onion, cilantro, feta, and jalapeno in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, tequila, 1 Tbsp honey, salt and red wine vinegar together.
Taste for sweetness and whisk in the extra honey, if desired.
Pour over immediately before serving.
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.
Last spring, we planted a tiny blood orange tree in the backyard. And somehow it survived. We won’t let any blooms go to fruit this year but next year, man. Next year.
Besides margaritas, one of my other favorite things to have for lunch is this salad. You mightrecognize it. It’s spinach & quinoa tossed with a quick vinaigrette of blood orange juice, white wine vinegar, and shallot and then topped with blood orange segments and crumbled goat cheese.
I can make it on the weekend and then eat it cold, straight from the fridge, for the next several days. It sort of balances out those weekend margaritas. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
Today should be “Garden Friday” where I show you how I somehow managed to make it another 7 days without killing the green things growing in my backyard. But it’s raining outside. Like, “you shoulda’ built that ark” raining. So instead of showing you our first zucchini, or telling you about my peach tree dropping all but 6 fruit [sob], and that the beast Juliet tomato plant is loaded with almost-ready-to-pick tomatoes… I’ll just show you what I did with my recent kale overload.
I made salad.
I have introduced you to my favorite salad before. And this is its one-course-dinner cousin.
It’s what happens when strawberry season meets I-can’t-believe-I-went-30-days-without-goat-cheese meets holy-crap-I-planted-way-too-much-Kale. So like nearly everything else on my menu, it meets the requisite 2 parts desperation.
The salad is a perfect host for the beautiful strawberries that are coming out of the markets (and my backyard) right now. And the strawberries-goat cheese combo?
Nearly as perfect as chocolate and peanut butter.
Because I had leftover chicken in the fridge, I used that to top the salads for a quick, light dinner. Or, for you Honey Boo Boo watchers, a “multimeal”
Don’t have two pots full of kale on your back patio? Use spinach instead! And don’t forget, this is a “cold salad” – the quinoa has to be cooked and cooled before so it doesn’t turn your kale into a bowl full of sad, wimpy greens.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese
Fresh strawberries, kale, quinoa, and goat cheese come together for a perfectly light spring or summer dinner. Just add leftover chicken to make it a little heartier.
For the salad
2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked)
3 oz kale, chopped (about half a bag or clam shell)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
Leftover grilled chicken, optional (I used this wet rub)
For the dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard (I use Creole)
1/3 cup olive oil
In a large bowl, add the chopped greens, cold quinoa (it must be cold so it doesn't wilt the salad), crumbled goat cheese, and strawberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and mustard.
Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Before serving, toss the dressing with the salad and serve topped with sliced chicken.
Leftovers will keep a couple of days covered in the fridge.