My mother never failed to serve a salad with dinner and now my table seems empty if one doesn’t grace it. It’s never a complicated affair. I toss crisp romaine or mixed greens with whatever vegetables are in the bin. I dress it right in the bowl with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and my no-longer secret ingredient, garlic powder.* I could happily eat our house salad every night, but there are those times when I feel the urge to toss habit and get a little creative.
Take this salad featuring watermelon and blueberries. This is the salad to eat on summer’s hottest days when its colorful presentation and refreshing taste are just what you need to cool down. Arugula adds peppery bite when combined with crisp spinach and bright mint, while the sweetness of the watermelon chunks and blueberries plays well with the salty feta. Pine nuts add a bit of richness and crunch and a simple vinaigrette, made with lemon olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, ties everything together with revitalizing acidity.
There is nothing complicated about this salad, but as with most simple recipes care with quality ingredients is a must. The fruit, especially the watermelon, should be served ice-cold. I also recommend using seedless watermelon for obvious reasons. I tend not to be a fan of fused oils, but a client gave me a bottle of lemon olive oil from Olive This! and I’ve been obsessed. It works beautifully with this recipe, but if you can’t get your hands on some don’t fret about using regular extra virgin olive oil. It will be just as delicious. Enjoy!
* When I bring a friend dinner, I typically pack up a mixed green salad with a small tupperware of our house vinaigrette. No matter what entree I prepare, without fail it is the vinaigrette that garners a request for the recipe. Seeing nothing unusual about balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper, I can only assume that it is the garlic powder that leaves people wanting more.
Spinach & Arugula Salad with Watermelon & Blueberries – Printer Friendly Recipe
Sugar may seem to be an odd thing to add to a salad, but it’s the best remedy for too much acidity in vinaigrette. If you find yourself puckering up after trying this vinaigrette, add a pinch of sugar to tone things down a bit.
For the salad:
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups fresh arugula
Torn mint leaves from 2 to 3 sprigs
1 heaping cup ice-cold watermelon chunks
½ cup blueberries
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar, if needed
Toss the spinach, arugula and mint leaves together in a large bowl. Add the watermelon and blueberries.
To make the dressing, place the olive oil in a medium bowl and whisk in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sugar, if needed. Add half the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. If needed, add more dressing.
Sprinkle the dressed salad with the feta cheese and toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.