What I refer to as the “decadent salad” - a super rich and creamy vegetable…
Be the fancy guest at the next backyard cookout by serving this incredible healthy treat. With watermelon, strawberries, grilled onions, feta, arugula and pistachios your family and friends (and even the kiddos) will go crazy over this unique twist to fruit salad!
It’s almost summer and after being cooped up in our houses all last summer season, some of us are in need of a get together! Just the thought of getting the grills going and the beers flowing while relaxing on the back patio gets me excited. Something else that gets me even more amped up is this salad!
Holy crap! I heard about this amazing combo on TV and then I saw a post on Facebook from a friend who talked about how their son LOVES this salad instead of chicken nuggets! I had to try it for myself with a few little twists to make it my own.
Let me also say that I can’t remember a time when I have ever added one of my favorite summer fruits, such as watermelon, into a semi-savory recipe. Usually it’s perfect on its own or else you toss it in a generic fruit salad and call it a day. This is mind-blowing and super simple!
I can almost guarantee some people will be a little hesitant about the odd combo of cheese and a water-based fruit but you really have to give it a try and I can almost promise you’ll be amazed.
It’s also important to call out that I made this salad twice using with two different methods. One had grilled watermelon and the other had fresh watermelon. Both worked but read and make the executive decision for yourself. Either way, you’re going to love it because of the fresh watermelon and arugula paired with salty pistachios and tangy feta! Yum!
I highly suggest not overthinking how you want to make this and just freakin’ make it. There are a million ways on how to put together a simple summer salad and yet somehow we overcomplicate it. I wanted to elevate the flavors ever so slightly by testing some ingredients on the grill and tossing in extra berries. I had to finish off the salad with a balsamic drizzle and the added nuts and cheese which was simply perfect.
The other great thing about this salad is that it doesn’t really need a dressing and therefore can last a little longer on the picnic table. Even as the arugula wilts down, it has enough integrity to be eaten and enjoyed hours later.
The biggest reason I got hooked onto this recipe was because as I look back on attending BBQs while trying to watch my caloric intake, I felt like I was being deprived. I always had to nix the breads and sauces and stick with a piece of grilled chicken and fruit salad. Enough was enough. Where were all the fun, flavor packed foods that left me feeling great about bathing suit season?
This is your answer! Instead of taking a veggie tray or a fruit platter to your next cookout, make this stunning masterpiece of a salad. You’ll have something to enjoy and still get all the summer cookout vibes in one bite! It’s so easy to throw together last minute and I promise you, your friends and family will be amazed!
- 1 small onion sliced 1 cm thick
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 pounds seedless watermelon sliced 1 inch thick (6-8 pound whole melon)
- 6-8 cups arugula lightly packed
- 2 cups strawberries quartered
- 6 ounces feta crumbled
- ¾ cup pistachios chopped
- ¼ cup chives chopped
- mint/basil chopped (optional)
- sea salt to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
- In a large baking dish, slice onions and marinate them in balsamic vinegar for 1-8 hours (or overnight). Remove and reserve vinegar for reduction.
- Prepare watermelon by slicing pieces into 1 inch thick slices.
- Preheat the grill to high heat. For the onion, place on the grill (more so on the indirect heat areas). Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. Add watermelon at the same time and quickly sear for 1-2 minutes on each side and remove to let cool.
- In a large serving bowl add strawberries and feta to the bottom of the bowl. Add watermelon and onions. Top with arugula and pistachios.
- For balsamic reduction: Use one cup (leftover from onion marinade – add extra if needed) and add to as small sauce pan. On medium-high heat, reduce vinegar for about 12-15 minutes until it's thick and starts to coat the back of a spoon. Keep in mind, it continues to thicken off the heat. Set aside and allow to cool a little further.
- Gently toss till everything is evenly combined. Top with chives, mint or basil, salt and pepper.