Watermelon, Tomato & Four Herb Salad

By • July 1, 2013 • 10 Comments


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Author Notes: This salad is exactly the type of food I want to make and eat during the heat of summer – either as a light dinner or as a side to grilled meat. It’s inspired by the various watermelon and feta salads I’ve made over the years. For this version, I decided to pay homage to the recipes I’ve recently cooked from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi by using a large quantity of herbs to add freshness, brightness and flavor. With equal parts of torn basil, mint and tarragon, it’s my favorite watermelon salad I’ve made to date. The herbs add a lot of interest to the salad, and the lemon-rosemary vinaigrette (which plays double duty as both a marinade and dressing) pulls all of the various components together – with the sweet heat of the Aleppo nicely balancing the sweet, juicy watermelon and cherry tomatoes. For something a bit different, I opted for shaved pecorino but feel free to use feta if it's what you have on hand.EmilyC

Serves 2 to 4

  • FOR SALAD
  • 1½ cups baby arugula
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup tarragon leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, torn
  • 3 cups of seedless watermelon cubes (about 1” in size), about ¼ of a large seedless watermelon
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 oz aged pecorino, thinly shaved (if you can find it, Pecorino ‘Grand Old Man’ is delicious here)
  • FOR VINAIGRETTE
  • 2 T lemon juice + zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 T walnut oil
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • flaky sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest, rosemary and Aleppo in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the walnut and extra virgin olive oil; whisk until emulsified. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Combine the watermelon cubes and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Add 2 T of the vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat. Set aside for about 10 minutes to marinate.
  3. Toss together the arugula, herbs, walnuts and thinly shaved pecorino in a large serving bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt (you want each individual component to be well seasoned). Add the watermelon cubes and cherry tomatoes, draining off any excess liquid that's accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. Add just enough additional vinaigrette to lightly coat the arugula and herbs, taking care to not overdress. Toss lightly, and season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Aleppo for more heat.

Comments (10) Questions (0)

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8 months ago EM-MV

It looks like sungold cherry tomatoes in the photo, which are so sweet. How would this salad be if you didn't use sweet tomatoes or used large tomatoes chopped up?

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8 months ago EmilyC

Any type of tomato would work well here; I went with yellow cherry tomatoes for the color contrast. A large tomato chopped up will yield more juice, but that's not a bad thing!

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10 months ago JanetFL

In the garden...mint/Yes! tarragon/Yes! Basil/Yes! Everything else is in my grocery store....except Aleppo :( Someone needs to send me Aleppo! Can't wait to try this, Emily.

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10 months ago EmilyC

Thanks Janet! Feel free to sub regular red pepper flakes, though they're hotter than Aleppo so add to taste. It's definitely a good, no-fuss summer salad to have up your sleeve!

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10 months ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Love your spin on a watermelon salad! It sounds refreshing and delicious which is a perfect combination for the 90+ weather we've been having.

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10 months ago EmilyC

Thanks HLA! I agree, no-cook dishes like this are a must when it's hot and humid! Which is pretty much every day in the DC area!

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10 months ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Gorgeous photo! I wish I could eat it off the screen.

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10 months ago EmilyC

Thanks! : )

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10 months ago Midge

Love the sound of this. Saved!

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10 months ago EmilyC

Thanks, Midge! It's my new favorite salad!