I am really obsessed with pink and red ingredients at the moment – garnishing salads with sliced radish, swirly candied beetroot or bright amaranth sprouts. Now I am on the watermelon and it’s my latest pink/red fix. I am not really a pink person so not sure whats going on! It’s just so pretty.
This salad recipe is something I dreamed up with my sister when we were preparing for my latest supper club. We served it as the starter and it went down just beautifully – pink colours and all! That delicious crunch of the cold, juicy watermelon, bright fresh mint leaves and creamy feta just works so well. What we were surprised to find was that the unusual combination of a cinnamon, star anise, chilli and ginger in the dressing would be quite such a winner! It really works. Those at the supper club had this with a little side of rye bread or my pretty awesome fig and chia stone-age bread if you needed something completely gluten free.
For those of you not making this salad for 38+ people, buying a huge watermelon can be annoying – you never seem to get through it all. I have to admit that I don’t usually shop at Tesco’s but they are currently selling little mini watermelons which are so handy and actually fit in your fridge. If you do opt for a big one and have lots left over, then making a watermelon juice with parsley and lime is a great way to make sure that none of it goes to waste.
So here is the recipe for you all, so hope you enjoy it. It makes for the most delicious starter at a dinner party or served in a great big bowl as part of a summer spread.
- 200g feta cheese
- 7g coriander, roughly chopped
- ½ a medium red chilli, halved and thinly sliced
- ¼ red onion, finely sliced
- Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, finely grated (I use a microplane)
- 50ml olive oil
- 75ml brown rice vinegar
- 1.5 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1cm cube of ginger, finely grated (I use a microplane)
- 1 star anise
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 85g raw, unsalted cashew nuts
- 280g watermelon, peeled and remove as many pips as possible
- 2 large handfuls of rocket
- 16-18 whole mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon of nigella seeds (optional)
- Chop the feta into 2cm cubes and put into a bowl with the remaining ingredients to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Next make the dressing by whisking together the brown rice vinegar and maple syrup. Then add the grated ginger, star anise and cinnamon and set aside.
- Toast the cashews in a pan over a medium heat and toast for 2-3 minutes until they turn golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Pile the rocket onto two plates and chop the watermelon flesh into large 3cm wide chunks. Place the watermelon on top of the rocket and then the feta on top of the watermelon being sure to pour some of that lovely, now flavoured, olive oil and red onion over the salad too. Sprinkle over your mint leaves and top with the toasted cashew nuts. Finally, drizzle the dressing over the top of each plate – you should need about 2 tablespoons of dressing per plate.
- Serve straight away on a summers eve with the nigella seeds sprinkled over the top if you have any to hand! Just a note – nigella seeds are the same as black onion seeds.