Pardon my absence. I’ve been swamped the past couple weeks with canning the mega pounds of tomatoes from my garden (making salsa, tomato sauce, and tomato basil soup as well as canning whole tomatoes). I’ve also spent time preparing my classroom and lessons for the new school year. So sad to say goodbye to another summer…boo hoo.
But during all these busy days, I have managed to make one of my favorite summer dishes and finally take a picture of it for the blog. I’ve actually made this numerous times this summer but always devour it before I remember to snap a shot.
Please don’t be turned off by the unusual combination of ingredients in this dish. Truthfully, I don’t go for a lot of odd combos, but the day I saw this one, my mind was open to trying something new and different.
First of all, if you haven’t tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), put it on your list. It’s a tiny seed that expands a bit when cooked and has a slightly nutty taste. It’s kind of like a grain but really it’s in the seed category. It’s also highly nutritious from what I’ve read, high in protein. I’ve enjoyed it all summer long in several recipes, often swapping it out for rice or other types of grains. By the way, I buy my quinoa from the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods–much more affordable that way.
Now, I wouldn’t think to mix watermelon with quinoa–or any other grain or seed for that matter. It just seems so odd. Nor would I think to mix feta cheese with watermelon. My basic food mind just doesn’t work like that. But it was a hot summer day when I saw the picture and the combo sounded healthy and refreshing. So I tried it. And not only did I like it, but I ended up loving this recipe.
You get a slightly nutty flavor and a soft chew from the quinoa. You get a refreshing crunch and light flavor from the watermelon. And my-oh-my, the slight saltiness of feta complements the crisp watermelon. Who knew?! Oh, and the parsley provides an earthy, lemony flavor. Yes, it’s a party going on with all these flavors, and it’s a party you don’t want to miss. I’m just sorry I haven’t found time to share this sooner, but at least I got it posted before watermelon season ends!
Quinoa Salad with Watermelon and Feta
- 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion, such as vidalia (I leave this out)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I’ve also used flax oil)
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (start with 1/2 cup dried quinoa)
- 1 1/2 cups watermelon, diced
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta
- 3-4 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (I’ve tried cilantro and basil but like parsley best)
- lemon zest, to taste
To Prepare Quinoa
- Measure out 1/2 cup dried quinoa. Place it in a mesh strainer and vigorously rinse it under cool running water for a couple of minutes. This will rid it of the outer coating that can cause a bitter taste otherwise. Drain.
- Place quinoa in a saucepan with 1 cup water and bring to a rolling boil. Lower heat to lowest setting, cover saucepan, and cook for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, turn off heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes, then gently fluff with a fork.
Note: Basically, quinoa is cooked with a 1:2 ratio of seed:water and will triple in amount when cooked. I always make extra; it keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator.
To Prepare Dressing
- Combine vinegar, lemon juice, and onion in a small bowl or food processor. Mix well. Add olive oil and whisk well to emulsify the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Note: Zest the lemon first since you will need it for the salad.)
To Prepare Salad
- In a medium bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, diced watermelon, crumbled feta cheese, and minced parsley. Toss to mix.
- Add lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle with dressing and toss to mix. Serve chilled or at room temperature.