Am I the only one who is happy with just salads and some sort of grilled meat for dinner, once summer hits?
There is something so light, fresh, even noncommittal about a big colourful salad, not weighed down with too much heavy dressing, and the smokey goodness of some sort of charred meat! Besides, if we don’t take advantage of all the primo produce at the markets now, when will we??
Yesterday I went to the freezer to see what was hanging out in said igloo. I always try and keep a variety of meat products there (chicken legs, pork chops, back ribs, kebabs and sausages, let alone burgers) so that we have some grilling options. Options are good! I decided on hot Italian Sausages from our favourite ‘The Healthy Butcher’ here in Toronto. They have the best selection of organic in-house made sausages, burgers, kebabs and kofta, as well as amazing cuts of meat, here in the city. It’s a treasure trove, and it’s hard to leave with only one item for purchase! I’m sure you guys can say the same about some great little place in your respective towns and cities, right?
Jim loves Italian sausage, and the hotter the better. So I figured, the perfect foil for these spicy grilled sausages would be a light, almost sweet salad. Right now the melons in the stores are just fantastic. I haven’t come across a disappointing one all season. Case in point, this amazingly luscious, ruby red watermelon: isn’t it fantastic!!
I love having honeydew melon in the fridge for Agua Fresca and smoothies, but I knew there would be just enough to make a salad with just enough to spare for one more smoothie before I headed out on a grocery run.
Last year I discovered this amazing honeydew and cucumber salad with feta and red onions, on the Two Peas and Their Pod website. It was a fresh take on the Watermelon and Feta salad I had been making for years now. So I made it and fell in love. Well then, back to that recipe for this dinner.
It really is a fabulous recipe. So fresh, slightly sweet, which works wonderfully against the saltiness of the feta cheese. Jim loves this salad, and I don’t blame him. I have even been known to make it just to eat for breakfast! It comes together so quickly- just a matter of slicing up the melon and cucumber, some red onion and dill, and then crumbling some feta over the entire salad. The dressing is light: honey, lemon, olive oil and seasonings. Shake it up in a small jar and drizzle over everything. Voila!
Lately I’ve been using my melon baller for these salads. I think this is an underused silly little tool! There’s something so retro, and yet whimsical visually, about seeing all those little balls of fruit. And with all the new mini cucumbers at the market, they end up all being the same size, which is perfect for this type of salad. Besides, if I don’t use it, then I will start wondering why it’s taking up valuable real estate in my condo kitchen!
Last night I spooned the salad over shredded Lacinato kale. There were a few leaves feeling a tad lonely in the fridge, so I thought that they should join the party. It was a great addition. So go ahead and add some finely shredded baby kale or even arugula to this dish- it really does flesh it out. It does become a bit more savoury, but that’s alright, right?!
Let’s see how many more salads we can come up with before September hits! Sorry, so very sorry, I didn’t mean to mention September!!
Honeydew and Cucumber Salad with Feta
A fresh, slightly sweet melon and cucumber salad with the lovely contrast of tangy and salty feta cheese.
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup EV olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 medium honeydew melon seeded and cut into bite-size cubes (I use a melon baller)
- 1 English cucumber (or 5 mini Persian cucumbers) chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/3 cup finely sliced red onion
- 3 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1 1/2 cups lacinato (black) kale shredded (OPTIONAL, see Notes below)
In a medium bowl or jar, add lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk or shake until dressing is combined.
In a large bowl, add honeydew melon, cucumber, onion, and dill weed. Toss to combine. Drizzle dressing over the salad and stir. Top with feta and serve.
The original recipe states that it feeds 8, but I find that as a summer dinner, it is not truly a side, but most of the meal. Therefore I am saying it feeds 6. It really depends on how you are serving it.
Side note: I have taken this recipe and added shredded kale to it (about 1/4 cup per person) and it added another texture dimension (and some healthy superfood nutrients, right?)
I was able to take the leftovers of this salad including the kale and store it in the fridge overnight. It was totally fresh and amazing! Not wilty in the slightest!