Watermelon Spinach Salad

watermelon spinach salad

Happy hump day, folks!  Who else is planning their summer menu?  I’ve got the perfect recipe for barbecues, family potlucks, and all of the upcoming summer festivities!  Picnic or potluck style food used to be my jam.  I loved eating potato salad, cold pasta salad, deviled eggs—basically anything with mayonnaise. 😋 Though, why have mayo when you can have fresh, colorful food?!  The Watermelon Spinach Salad I’ve whipped up will be the game-changing healthy side dish or main to jazz up summertime meal spreads!

watermelon spinach salad

Occasionally, salads make an appearance at the average summer get-together but a big pile of green leaves does not usually appeal to people.  Add in a little texture and color and bam!  Suddenly the dish takes on a whole new kind of appetizing.  Watermelon is abundant and affordable during summer months so make sure you use a fresh and firm one for this salad.  Grainy or barely-sweet watermelon is not something we want in this salad.

Refreshing watermelon, briny green olives, and the texture of the quinoa and sliced almonds make this salad so satisfying!

It works great as a side dish but it’s also easy to turn into a meal.  Just add protein of choice like chickpeas (or lemon pepper tuna, if you’re like my mom) and then it’s a complete meal!  To coat the salad, I used an adaptation of a lemon dressing from Cookie and Kate that I’ve been head over heels for.  It’s seriously the best for drizzling on ANYTHING!  It is a subtle complement to make this salad come alive.  I know I’ll be making this again and again throughout the summer!

watermelon spinach salad

watermelon spinach salad

watermelon spinach salad

watermelon spinach salad

Have a great rest of your week!  Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of my new posts.  Subscribe via the right-hand side panel or at the bottom of this page. 😉

watermelon spinach salad

Watermelon Spinach Salad
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Recipe type: Main, Side
Cuisine: American
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
I've created a fun salad to take to all of the upcoming summer festivities! It's perfect for barbecues to potlucks, or simply enjoy at home with a glass of lemonade. Recipe makes 2 main salads or 3 side servings but can easily be multiplied.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder (Kate uses 2 cloves garlic, minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • A dash of black pepper
  • 5 cups packed spinach
  • 1 heaping cup cooked white quinoa
  • ½ cup sliced radishes
  • 4 large green olives from a jar (I used garlic-stuffed, marinated olives)
  • For serving: 3 cups cubed watermelon, 3 tbsp sliced almonds, and, optional, protein of choice—I went with ½ cup garbanzo beans
Instructions
  1. First, combine ingredients for the dressing in a medium bowl. Everything from the olive oil through the black pepper.
  2. Then, add the spinach to the bowl and lightly massage or toss to thoroughly coat with the dressing.
  3. Incorporate the cooked quinoa, radishes, and green olives.
  4. To serve, add the watermelon and sliced almonds. Plus, optional protein, if eating the salad as a main dish.
Notes
Salad is best eaten right away but can last up to a day if made ahead of time. If saving for later, store the watermelon separately so it doesn't water down the salad and combine when ready to serve.

 

May Pole Day and a Fresh Salad with Pasta and Fruit

Today is May 1st, AKA May Day.

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with Pasta for May

In elementary school, this day was a big deal for the kids because they would get to participate in the May Pole Dance.  Also, by kids, I mean me.  I got to participate in the May Pole Dance along with my entire third grade class.

I think it was a whole month in advance that we started practicing.  My teacher would take a break from lesson plans a few times a week and take us outside to the field to dance with ribbons.  I can’t exactly describe how the dance went but it looked something like this. Our parents and the community got notified of the event (because 8 year olds dancing around a pole to create a ribbon braid is considered an event for a small town like mine, mmkay?).  It was also a rite of passage for children.  As a youngling in school, I saw the older kids participate and looked forward to the day that I would be so privileged to participate in the acclaimed event.

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with Pasta for May

Oh, and you might be wondering what May Day is and the meaning behind the May Pole Dance.  Honestly, I only ever participated in May Day at that elementary school of mine so I don’t know the exact history.  I believe the dance is ceremonial and dates back to really old times in England.  These days, especially in the U.S., we tend not to follow such traditionalist practices so it I think it is less common.  The dance and celebration that occur are in honor of the start of summer and the new life that it brings.  Thus, I felt it appropriate to share the story as I mention that I am so very into fresh recipes for summer!

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with Pasta for May

The warm weather has me craving chilled salads, sweet and juicy produce, and ingredients that won’t weigh me down.  I called this dish a Fresh Salad with Pasta and Fruit because that’s what it is.  It also has all of my favorite ingredients from chicken salad but without chicken 🙂 I know apples aren’t technically considered summer fruit but they’re around all year long!  Some light and crisp lettuce, plus, crunchy celery, adds to the hydrating factor of this salad.  A very important factor if you’re dealing with hot temperatures like me.  #SoCal

As always, I made this recipe based on ingredients I had in my fridge but change it up to fit your needs.  Some darker leafy greens would work nicely instead of the iceberg.  Even try dried cherries instead of fresh grapes.

Have a happy month of May!

Fresh and Fruity Iceberg Salad with for May

Fresh Salad with Pasta and Fruit
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Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Salad
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 salad
The warm weather has me craving chilled salads, sweet and juicy produce, and ingredients that won’t weigh me down. It's kind of like a chicken salad but made vegetarian and I utilized what I had in my fridge. Feel free to change it up and sub in whatever greens you like.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of lettuce of choice (I only had iceberg but some kale, arugula, or romaine would be lovely!)
  • 3 oz of Banza penne pasta (or other short cut pasta)
  • 1 small-medium sized apple, chopped
  • 1 small stalk of celery (or half a large stalk), chopped
  • ¼ cup of red grapes, chopped in halves
  • Extras: black olives, sliced in half, and chopped pecans
  • Dressing is: 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup, and ¼ tsp dried tarragon.
Instructions
  1. Set a pot of water on the stovetop to boil and cook the pasta for about 10 minutes or until desired doneness.
  2. In the meantime, chop up the veggies and fruit. Add all ingredients to a serving bowl.
  3. Drain the pasta water and let pasta cool for a minute before adding to the salad.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over all ingredients and enjoy!

Quinoa Taco “Meat” Recipe

Salad with Quinoa Meat

When I was in high school, the cafeteria used to serve junk like pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, or hot dogs.  I like a slice of pizza once in a while but what I love is food that makes me feel good.  There was a limited supply of salads because the school must’ve thought no one would want to eat salads.  On the contrary, everyone would make a beeline for them right at the start of lunch (teachers included).  Every day there was a different lunchtime salad option.  Wednesdays used to be Taco Salad day.

My very favorite!

Salad with Quinoa Meat

You know the one.

It has a bed of lettuce, ground beef crumbles, tomatoes, black or pinto beans, shredded cheese, crunchy tortilla chips, and salsa.  If you order something similar at restaurants, it will probably come with some guacamole, too.  It has all of the yummy taco flavors but is totally healthy because there’s some lettuce in there, am I right?  Well, today’s quinoa taco meat recipe is inspired by my old favorite salad but completely plant-based.

I use a taco seasoning recipe from My Blessed Life which I then add to cooked quinoa, warmed up in a pan.  It provides the Mexican taco flavors but also adds a bit of protein and texture to a salad.  My favorite salad is shown in the pictures.  I like using the quinoa meat with a romaine lettuce base, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and a red salsa for topping.

It is so simple and find myself making this all too often!  Let me know if you give it a try.

Salad with Quinoa Meat  
Quinoa Taco "Meat" Recipe
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Cuisine: Vegetarina, Vegan
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 serving
An easy-to-make "meat" alternative to add some Mexican flair to any dish. It is the perfect base for beans, vegetables, or any other proteins you would like to add.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning (see notes)
Instructions
  1. There is not really a science to making the taco meat. I throw some quinoa into a pan and warm it up with the spices. Half a cup of quinoa to 1 tsp of homemade taco seasoning or store-bought should work, though adjust based on your taste for spice.
Notes
Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning via my Blessed Life
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
Simply, mix all seasoning ingredients together.

Seasoning recipe can be found at My Blessed Life.