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Summer Watermelon Salad

watermelonThis summer salad is loaded with watermelon, arugula, fresh mint and basil. It is an awesome way to beat the summer's heat!

Summer is the season of fire. Its associated color is red, and its organs include the heart and small intestine. Watermelon is cooling, and it is a mild diuretic. It is rich in electrolytes, and is used in Chinese Medicine to help combat summer heat. Lightly salted, it is one of my favorite summer post-workout foods!

Mint is also cooling. The basil adds a fragrant and warming element to this salad to balance all the cold. Arugula is bitter, spicy, and neutral in temperature, adding a sharp bite to balance the unabashed sweetness of the watermelon. The pomegranate vinaigrette adds a note of sour and feta adds a bit of salty, making this salad a perfect balance of the five flavors.

This recipe serves four people as an appetizer or side dish, and is deliberately dressed lightly. Use the given quantities as a guide – if you love mint, feel free to add more. If you hate basil, reduce or omit it. If you must have more dressing for it to feel like a salad, go ahead and double the vinaigrette recipe. Feel free to experiment – while I haven’t tried it yet, I bet bleu cheese would make a fine substitute for the feta…

6 heaping cups seedless watermelon (approx 3/4 of a 6.5 lb melon), chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
2 1/2 oz arugula, torn into bite sized pieces
3 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup crumbled feta (I love the Israeli feta from Trader Joe's!)
1 recipe pomegranate vinaigrette (below)

Combine all ingredients, and chill for 30 minutes. Serve cold.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1.5 tsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. concentrated pomegranate juice
1.5 tsp. organic raw sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients, and whisk until slightly thickened.