Watermelon Basil Salad with Balsamic Reduction – Summer Salad Recipes
This watermelon basil salad with sweet balsamic dressing is the kind of summer salad people will talk about after the party. Made with just 4 ingredients, it couldn’t be easier to make. I had it at a luncheon yesterday and then picked up a less-than-sweet watermelon at the store on my way home. I knew that this salad would be the best use for that watermelon.
When you’re looking through summer salad recipes to find a dish to take to the potluck or an office picnic, consider this quick watermelon basil salad. Even with the balsamic reduction, it takes only 10 minutes to make. It’s a surprising salad bar addition that will have people coming back for seconds.
How to pick a watermelon
You know, there won’t be any local watermelon until August around here. However, the grocery stores have bins of watermelon available from Mexico and South America right now. Unfortunately, often those watermelons are picked before they are ripe. Notice how pale the inside of this watermelon is?
When you buy a watermelon in the store, thump it gently with your finger. It should sound hollow and give a resounding “thunk” sound. If it doesn’t it’s definitely under-ripe. But even if it does it could still taste bland, instead of honey-sweet.
Be sure to wipe the outside of the watermelon with soap and water before you cut into it. Fruit travels such a long distance to get to the grocery store and you want to clean and disinfect before you pass the knife through. Just sayin’.
Watermelon basil salad with balsamic reduction
When you get a bland watermelon make this summer salad recipe. It has a salty-sweet flavour and thirst-quenching juiciness.
Note: The watermelon will release its juice when you add the salty feta, so plan to drain this before adding the balsamic reduction.
1 small watermelon, rind and seeds removed and cut into medium chunks
¼ cup balsamic vinegar, reduced
1 large handful of fresh basil
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan on medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer until it is reduced by 1/3rd and coats a spoon. Set it aside to cool.
Cut the watermelon off the rind and remove any seeds. Cut it into medium chunks. The chunks will shrink when you add the feta, so don’t cut them too small. Place in a large salad bowl.
Finely chop a handful of fresh basil leaves and stir them into the watermelon. (I just pinched off the top cluster of leaves from all my baby basil plants. They will regrow in a week or two and I’ll get double the basil from those plants.)
Cube the feta cheese and add to the watermelon and basil in a bowl. (I used a 1/2 a brick of locally grown and made feta from Jerseyland Organics. So worth it!)
Drain the bowl of any excess watermelon juice. Pour the balsamic reduction on the salad and stir well.
Serve with crusty French bread for a light but satisfying lunch. Or add it to a salad bar for something just a bit different.
And while you eat this yummy summer salad you can look forward to August when the watermelons will be local and at their peak of sweet juiciness.
A dozen+ more summer salad recipes:
Israeli salad from Joybilee Farm
Roasted Rhubarb salad from Learning and Yearning
Spinach Apple and Bacon salad from Reformation Acres
Garden fresh rainbow salads from whatever you have in the garden from Little Mountain Haven
Easiest Creamy Coleslaw from Timbercreek Farmer
Back to you:
What’s your favourite summer salad recipe? You know, the one you could eat for lunch or dinner and you take it to potlucks, too. Go ahead and leave a link to the recipe.