Spinach Watermelon Feta Salad with Lime Vinaigrette – Baby spinach flavored with the juices of fresh cubed watermelon, creamy chunks of feta cheese, sweet sliced red onion, and salted roasted pistachios, all drizzled with a delicious lime vinaigrette.
This salad has always intrigued me. I’ve seen this salad in magazines and have always wanted to make it, but never did. Last week, my husband treated the family to dinner at a fancy restaurant while we were on vacation. I admit, I don’t enjoy going out to eat to a restaurant serving meals I make at home. Steaks of all cuts, seafood, salads, with typical sides of rice, potatoes, etc., are all things I make at home and I do say it’s much better than going out. First of all, it’s way less expensive, I can be as loud or as quiet as I like, we can have seconds, and I don’t have to worry about the service because it’s usually perfect.
I appeased my husband and let him have his moment by taking us out. As I checked the menu, listed were the usual entrees only the titles were clever giving you the feeling you were getting something distinct when in fact, it’s a charbroiled steak.
I had my order in mind, but when the waitress recited the specials, one item caught my ear. It was a Spinach Watermelon Feta Salad with Lime Vinaigrette. Finally, I could see what all the fuss was about this salad.
The salad was simple. A bed of baby spinach, some cubed watermelon, a few cubes of minted feta cheese, thickly sliced red onions, pistachios, all covered with a lime vinaigrette. The salad was refreshing, but the vinaigrette included cumin which made it taste a little harsh. Because the onions were thickly sliced, it overpowered every bite therefore, I placed them to the side. The great thing was that I tried it, I knew I could recreate it, and it would be delicious. The combination of feta, spinach, and watermelon exceeded my expectations.
The Lime Vinaigrette is simply made with lime juice, honey, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can use extra virgin olive oil or mix half with a neutral oil for a lighter flavor. This dressing is the perfect compliment for this salad and only requires equal amounts of lime juice and olive oil whereas vinaigrettes are usually 1 part acid to 2 parts oil. The reason for this particular lime vinaigrette being 1 to 1 is because the juices of the watermelon release and mix with the vinaigrette creating a refreshing mix. There’s really no need for the extra oil. I’m telling you, you will be tempted to drink the juices remaining at the bottom of the salad bowl. Another reason to eat at home – no one will judge you.
The thing about this recipe is you can control the amount of salad ingredients. I’ll give a recommendation, but if you want it loaded with watermelon, then by all means load it up. I loaded this salad with crunchy pistachios, feta, and watermelon and drenched it with the Lime Vinaigrette.
I have to say, my recreation surpassed the restaurant’s. Loaded with cubed watermelon, feta, and pistachios, thinly sliced red onion, baby spinach, and tossed with the sweet tangy vinaigrette, the entire salad bowl was eaten with family helping themselves to seconds and thirds. Because of the simplicity in making it, and it’s healthy ingredients, there’s no reason not to enjoy it anytime.
You don’t have to go out to a fancy restaurant to enjoy this salad. You can make this at home and enjoy it anytime. I bought a huge watermelon, cut it up, and have enjoyed this salad daily. My kids love it. How can that be bad? You also won’t be judged if you drink the sweet tangy liquid on the bottom of the bowl. Go ahead, drink it up. No one is looking.
Be happy, eat well…
- 2 - 3 big handfuls of spinach - about 4 - 6 ounces
- 4 cups cubed watermelon - more or less
- 4 ounces or so of cubed feta cheese
- ½ small red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup salted and toasted pistachio nuts
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
Combine salad ingredients into a big bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients. Pour over salad and toss to combine.