Monday, July 26, 2010

No-Cook Month: Watermelon and Feta Salad with Mint

NOTE #1: Hello, readers from Get Rich Slowly! Welcome to Cheap Healthy Good. It's nice to have you here. If you're looking for a good place to get to know us, this post is a good start. Thanks for visiting and enjoy!

NOTE #2: Today on Serious Eats: Zucchini Carpaccio with Feta and Pine Nuts, an excellent alternative to a green salad.

Dude. It’s watermelon season.

Last week, it went on sale for $0.39/pound, so I dragged a 13-pounder home from a supermarket half a mile away. It's been parked on my kitchen table ever since, like some giant, edible bowling ball.

Yesterday, I finally cowboyed up and gutted the thing. And now, as you can see from this picture, we have enough watermelon to fill two man-sized storage containers.

The problem is, Husband-Elect and I are but two people. True, we’re two people who really like watermelon, but we’re two people nonetheless.

Consequently, over the next week, we’re gonna have to get creative with this thing. I’m thinking Watermelon Margaritas, Watermelon Salsa, and of course, more Watermelon and Feta Salad with Mint.

I have to admit: I didn’t think dropping feta into a bowl of fruit would do much. But it adds two things: salt and creaminess, which are both unexpected and very welcome. The mint and lime provide additional freshness and lightness, which keep the dish from being murky.

Beyond that, the dish boasts three huge pluses:
  1. It takes less than 10 minutes to make.
  2. There are no mandatory ratios. You can tailor the amount of feta, melon, mint, and lime to your liking.
  3. If you’re feeling adventurous, the recipe can be expanded to include olives, red onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, cilantro, cotija cheese, jicama, and many, many more exciting ingredients. Guidelines abound online.
Alas, there is a minus, as well. In my experience, the salad doesn’t store particularly well. The fruit juice eventually breaks down the cheese, and you’re left with a thick, fruity mess. So you gotta eat this fresh, or within a day of making it. Otherwise … to the trash, Robin. Still, it's good. And I will be eating again. Probably several times tomorrow.

And with that, readers, any suggestions for watermelon recipes? We, uh, could use ‘em right now.

P.S. All-watermelon barbecue at my house tomorrow!


If you’re thinking about making this, you might also whip up some:

Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint
Serves 1 or more.
Adapted from many, many sources, but especially Whipped.

A few cups watermelon, balled or cut into 2-inch chunks and chilled
A small block of feta cheese
A small handful mint leaves, chopped
Fresh lime juice

1) Place desired amount of watermelon in a bowl or on a plate.

2) Crumble desired amount of feta over watermelon. (The more, the better.)

3) Sprinkle mint over watermelon-feta mixture.

4) Squeeze lime over it all.

5) No. Seriously. That’s it.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
147 calories, 6.5 g fat, 1 g fiber, 5.5 g protein, $0.79

NOTE: As this recipe is totally/completely adaptable to your tastes and preferences, I’m making up some arbitrary numbers for calculations, just to give y’all an idea of the nutrition/price breakdown. Your numbers will undoubtedly be different, so please take this as a rough guide, only.

1-1/2 cups watermelon: 69 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0.9 g fiber, 1.4 g protein, $0.26
1 ounce feta cheese: 75 calories, 6 g fat, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein, $0.37
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.10
1 teaspoon lime juice: 2 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.06
TOTAL: 147 calories, 6.5 g fat, 1 g fiber, 5.5 g protein, $0.79

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debbie koenig said...

We've been going nuts on the whole watermelon, too! So far I've done a couple granitas (with lime juice for zing) and this amazing gazpacho, multiple times:

April said...

I had the same problem so when my remaining melon started getting overripe, I blended that band boy up with simple syrup and lime juice and poured into popsicle molds. MMMM! And it lasts for almost ever in that form.

I bet steeping some mint leaves in the simple syrup would be amazing too.

Anonymous said...

I bought a watermelon for the 4th of July and put half in the freezer (cubed in a freezer bag). I have been breaking off chunks of the watermelon solid and leaving them out to thaw for a bit. This is an awesome way to make smoothies (and I bet it would work for a margarita as well). I finally finished the beast off yesterday. Typically I would use the blender, but I discovered a potato masher was a pretty effective tool as well. Good luck!

Michael said...

I had a similar "watermelon salsa" at Zephrus on Martha's Vineyard this summer. Their version had a hint of onion; it was really great. I'm going to give this a try.

A said...

I was at the grocery store last week and wanted some watermelon, but didn't think I could eat a whole one (I live alone). The prices were interesting, though:

Quarter-melon - $4
Half-melon - $4
Whole melon - $4

So I bought a whole gigantic melon. I've almost managed to finish it. I like to chop it up and mix with cucumber and dill, or mint, for a salad. Or put it in smoothies; no need for juice, as it liquefies in the blender.

Or just eat it ice-cold out of the fridge, of course. It's really hard to beat plain watermelon.

Anna N said...

This watermelon granita looks like a great way to use up some, if you have the freezer space!

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff said...

Mr. BFS and I have been gorging ourselves on watermelon and loving it. We've eaten 3 seeless ones in about 9 days all by ourselves...we're's a problem. Thanks for showing me there might be another way of eating this yummy goodness other than straight up. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry in advance if this is not helpful.

But I suggest just diving in and eating a GIANT slice (aka 1/4 to 1/3) at a time

When I come home from my 45min subway commute (ahem, Metro, cuz its DC - blarg) I'm hot and sweaty and hate the world. I go into my fridge, cut a huge hunk off the watermelon - and in an instant i have hydration, sweetness, cold - all the things i need.

We are two people and go through about 3 watermelons a week... just eating giant hunks.

Also good is WM juice - no water, no sugar - just drop a big hunk in the blender and rip!

Celia said...

Spiced pickled watermelon rinds. I use a recipe from Vegan Soul Kitchen, and it's fab. They've got oranges and lemons and allspice... Yum.

Anonymous said...

Watermelon, cantaloup and prosciutto.

GreenTeaDaily said...

We just enjoyed a salad very similar to this at a restaurant in San Francisco. It also had chili flakes. VERY good. We haven't tried to make it yet. You've inspired me to try.

Another who's come from GRS. I enjoy your writing and look forward to exploring your site more.

Eva said...

Mix watermelon juice (throw a couple of chunks in the blender for watermelon juice) with sugar and a bit of lemon juice. Place in the freezer, and stir crystals about every 1/2 hour. Should take about 4 hours to fully freeze. You are left with yummy watermelon ice!

paulvb said...

A suggestion for watermelon - Emeril's Watermelon, Tomato, and Basil salad

I've made it at least 3 times this summer and loved it.

Dee Seiffer said...

I love it with goat cheese instead of feta. I've made this salad with tomatoes, kalamata olives, onion and tabasco (the Faith Middleton/Jacques Pepin recipe in Food & Wine mag last summer).

I make big batches of it for parties and people go crazy over it.

Diane said...

You could also go Nigella Lawson and add red onion & olives to it.

Gabe said...

Yesterday I made a watermelon soup. Need fresh mint, ginger, lemon, a glass of white wine and a big watermelon. Blend about half the watermelon with the ginger, mint, wine and the juice from the lemon. Add sugar to taste. The other half cut into cubes and serve mixed with the soup.

rip said...

Delicious sounding recipe. As others have suggested, I'd probably add some chili pepper or chopped jalepeno.

coldsong said...

I just came across a recipe for fried watermelon! (Watermelon Carpaccio) Possibly one of the only watermelon recipes completely inappropriate for no-cook month : )

Inventive... not sure if it is cheap, healthy OR good though!

Georgie said...

Darn, now I really want watermelon and it's winter here.

Brittany said...

I bought a huge watermelon (at least 10 pounds) last week, and I'm the only one in my household who will eat it. I ate it all but two pint-sized baggies worth i stuck in the freezer. Yesterday, I threw the watermelon from one baggie, two shots of lime juice, and two shots of cheap rum for the most delicious daiquiri I've every had. Blended frozen watermelon has a delightful texture. Plus, it's an alcoholic drink with more iron than spinach--a vegetarian's dream!

I'm going to have to try this salad with my next melon.