A stacked watermelon, feta and arugula salad is a great summertime starter. Sweet, slightly spicy and a little salty, it makes a delightful presentation served as a salad, either tossed or composed or it can be put on skewers and served as a cool and refreshing appetizer at your next party.
I believe that you are going to enjoy the tasty combination of sweet juicy watermelon, slightly salty feta and peppery arugula topped with a drizzle of honey lime jalapeño vinaigrette. Presented as a salad or as an appetizer, this recipe may soon become one of your summertime favorites. The flavorful combination is very versatile and can be served several ways. For an outdoor barbecue, bring a large bowl filled with watermelon, feta cubes and arugula tossed with the jalapeño vinaigrette. Thinking of having a summer cocktail party, serve the melon and cheese on skewers along with the jalapeño aioli dipping sauce. If you are planning dinner with friends, you might want to serve the recipe as a composed stacked salad perhaps with dots of the jalapeño dipping sauce decorating the plate. The recipe is easy to make and easily adaptable to your own taste.
Spicy Stacked Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad
Serves 2 for a light meal or 4 as a composed salad, adjust the recipe accordingly
- 3 Tbsp. Honey Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 1 chilled baby seedless watermelon sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices then cut into circles
- 2 c. baby arugula leaves (about 1/2 cup, more or less per person)
- 4 oz. feta cheese ( I used part of a 7 oz. imported block of Greek feta packed in brine)
- salt and pepper to taste
To Assemble The Salad:
Cut the watermelon into slices about 1/2 thick. Cut circles (I used a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter) out of the slices. Cut the feta into the same size circles with the biscuit cutter then carefully slice horizontally into two pieces. You will need two discs of melon and one of feta for each stack. Place one piece of melon on the serving plate, drizzle lightly with vinaigrette, top with feta. Finish the stack with another piece of watermelon then drizzle lightly with vinaigrette. Place the arugula in a bowl, add a tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette and toss gently. Mound the melon with arugula and serve immediately.
Honey Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette
- 1 Tbsp. green jalapeño pepper sauce (I use green Tabasco)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (1 large lime)
- 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey, more or less
- 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh mint leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
Prepared the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Taste and adjust the ratio of acid, oil and sweetness to your own preference.
To Assemble As An Appetizer:
Cut watermelon and feta into equal size cubes. Using long toothpicks, spear a mint leaf, feta cube and then a watermelon cube. Serve with the Jalapeño Aioli Dipping Sauce, (recipe below).
Jalapeño Aioli Dipping Sauce
- 1 Tbsp. green jalapeno pepper sauce
- 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 sprig of mint, about 6 to 8 leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the mayonnaise, green jalapeño pepper sauce and mint leaves to the bowl of a small food processor. Season with salt and pepper then blend until smooth.
Green jalapeño sauce (I use Tabasco brand) is a mild but flavorful sauce with a bright jalapeño taste. You can substitute your favorite pepper sauce but you may have to adjust how much you use.
Adjust the vinaigrette and aioli according to your taste preferences, as written they are just slightly spicy.
The feta that I used was soft and creamy. After cutting with the biscuit cutter, I pushed the cheese halfway out of the cutter and then sliced it in half to retain its shape.
I grew up eating watermelon with a sprinkling of salt as I think it brings out the natural sweetness. If you do use salt, remember that the feta cheese in this recipe will add salt as well.
If you are planning to serve this recipe to a crowd, serve in a large bowl as a tossed salad. Just cut the feta and watermelon into chunks or you could use a melon baller to make cute watermelon balls, add the arugula, drizzle with vinaigrette to taste, toss and serve.Notes From The Kitchen
This colorful and delicious summer salad will impress your guests at any summer dinner party you may be planning. Not only is it pretty but the combination of flavors work so well together. If you want something for a more casual meal, serve the watermelon, feta and arugula tossed in a large bowl with some of the Honey Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette. For a simple appetizer, serve cubes of watermelon and feta on skewers and serve with the Jalapeño Aioli Dipping Sauce. Anyway you decide to make this recipe, I believe it will become one of your summer favorites, With its tasty combination of sweet juicy watermelon, slightly salty feta and peppery arugula dressed with the honey lime jalapeño vinaigrette, it is sure to please.