In case you live in an air-conditioned fortress with no plans of stepping outside, you should know that most of the country is experiencing a major heatwave right now. Temps are reaching past 90°F and, in some cases, into the triple digits, and keeping cool is quite the challenge. It certainly makes figuring out what to make for dinner difficult.
One dish that offers a refreshing solution: a simple watermelon salad, like this one from The Well+Good Cookbook. Created by Well+Good co-founder Melisse Gelula, it's currently being served in Dan Churchill's restaurant Charley Street, located in New York City (where one Well+Good staffer says walking around currently feels like "moving through peanut butter"—it's that humid).
Gelula says it was a trip to Australia that inspired her recipe. "In Australia, sweet and spicy flavors more typically accentuate produce, rather than cloying American salad dressing," she says. And sure enough, adding watermelon, grapefruit, and jalapeño to the greens gives enough flavor that you don't even to reach for that bottle of Ken's. Watermelon is also one of the most hydrating fruits (hence its name), made of more than 90 percent water, which will help combat the crazy heat outside.
This salad makes a great side dish as is, and can be a main meal with an added protein, such as tofu or chickpeas. Scroll down for the full recipe to see how to make it at home.
Spicy watermelon salad
For the dressing:
1 small grapefruit (preferably red)
1 small jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
Pinch of sea salt
For the salad:
1 small bunch watercress
1 small bunch arugula
2 cups coarsely cubed watermelon
1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
4 mint sprigs, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Fresh lime juice
Slivered almonds (optional)
Pink Himalayan salt
1. Make the dressing. Roll the grapefruit back and forth on a cutting board, then cut it into quarters. Use your hands to squeeze the juice of the grapefruit into a small bowl. Add the jalapeño and sea salt. Set aside for at least 20 minutes to allow the heat of the pepper to infuse with the grapefruit.
2. Meanwhile, make the salad. On a large serving platter, arrange the watercress and arugula so they cover most of the platter. Add the watermelon and later the avocado slices on top.
3. Gently strain the grapefruit dressing over the salad, reserving the jalapeños, being sure to cover the watermelon and avocado but now to drown the watercress. Place the jalapeños around the edges of the platter.
4. Sprinkle the mint over the top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, the almonds (if using), and a pinch or two of pink Himalayan salt. Serve immediately.
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