Starters & Sides, Vegetarian
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Watermelon Salad‏ with Basil Oil & Pumpkin Seeds

Watermelon Salad‏ with Basil Oil & Pumpkin Seeds Recipe Whole Food Republic

As the juiciest fruit of summer, is there such a thing as savoring too much watermelon? I think not. Healthy and delicious it’s such a wonderful summer treat. It’s ideal by itself, but then again it’s also fantastic in a salad. And here, as the star attraction.

Light and refreshing, this super easy watermelon basil salad has only handful of ingredients and can be put together in a flash. Besides mouth-watering watermelon, what I particularly love about this salad is the combination of freshly toasted pumpkin seeds and aromatic basil, plus my all time favorite salt on earth. A fantastic tasting Slow Food award winning Portuguese sea salt that’s harvested by hand and dried in the sun — Belamandil Flor de Sal from Olhão, Algarve. With its delicate crystals, this is one of those semi-moist salts you want to rub between your fingertips when sprinkling it over the dish you are about to enjoy. I cannot imagine cooking without it and have even gone as far as buying it for all my friends and family. Love it! AND…salt and juicy watermelon is just plain awesome.

Watermelon for a Salad‏ with Basil Oil & Pumpkin Seeds Recipe Whole Food Republic

So how do I choose a flawless, sweet tasting watermelon? It always seems a mystery to me. That’s why I always buy a half or a quarter melon. One where I can actually see the crystalizing sugars. I’m pretty sure that finding a ruby red fleshed whole melon that is crisp and exquisitely sweet is basically a fluke. Some people say the trick is to give it a thump to see how it sounds. Does this work? What’s the real secret to finding a superstar watermelon?

Fresh watermelon is so sweet and tasty, and such a great thirst quencher in the heat of summer. Mmmm, I could really imagine drinking an ultra-hydrating watermelon basil smash…sans the tequila. I guess that would make it a smoothie. Just imagine watermelon, basil and coconut water. Brilliant! It would make for a fantastically delicious post workout thirst-quencher – one that’s perfect for replenishing H2O and electrolytes. I know what I am drinking after my next workout.

I devoured half of this salad all by myself as a light dinner before heading off to my Pilates class. It was so good, I just couldn’t stop myself. It’s a great option as a summer appetizer or side dish (or in my case, healthy pre-workout snack). Enjoy!

Watermelon Salad‏ with Basil Oil & Pumpkin Seeds Recipe Whole Food Republic

Watermelon Salad‏ with Basil Oil & Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (60 ml)
1 large handful fresh chopped basil leaves, plus extra leaves to garnish
generous pinch of sea salt
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon (about 1/4 of a watermelon, ca. 1.6 kg)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
freshly ground pepper, to taste (optional)

TIP: crumbled feta also goes really well with this salad. Melons love salt (think prosciutto and cantaloupe).

METHOD:
1. First toast the pumpkin seeds and set aside.

2. Process the oil and the fresh basil with a mortar and pestle (or use a small hand-powered food chopper) until well combined.

3. Arrange the watermelon on serving platter. Drizzle with the basil oil and scatter evenly with pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the extra basil leaves. Serve and enjoy!

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