I got the idea for this watermelon | chevril challenge entry from a delicious lunch I had at 10 Barrel Brew Pub in Bend, OR. I had been on a search for something with great produce to add fresh watermelon and decided the quinoa base with the nice tangy punches of lemon and feta would be a great summer salad, plus the quinoa, beets, walnuts, and watermelon all have such interesting textures together.
This salad is simple to make and easy to keep. I used the colors of things I had on hand (red quinoa and beets, unlike the salad at 10 Barrel) and while they look different, the taste is just as good.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
I like to eyeball recipes like this and recommend adding more or less of things depending on your preferences. Salads are pretty forgiving that way :-)
2 large red beets + oil for roasting (canned beets are an okay substitute here and make this recipe speed along a lot faster)
2 cups red quinoa, cooked
1 lemon, juiced and zested (there is no such thing as too much lemon for my tastebuds -- you might prefer less)
Dash of olive oil
1 small bunch chevril (parsley), freshly chopped
salt, pepper to taste
A few slivers of red onion, super thinly sliced
handful feta, crumbled
handful walnuts, chopped
Slice of watermelon
Step 2: Cook the Quinoa
I like to cook the quinoa in a rice cooker. I recommend double water to quinoa.
Step 3: Prep Your Lemon Chevril Vinagarette
Zest your lemon into a bowl then squeeze the juice on top. Special kitchen tools are some of my favorite things, but if you don't have a juicer you can use your hands and a grater will do for removing the yellow zest from the top of the lemon.
Add a dab of olive oil and the chevril (chopped) and mix the vinagarette up to combine.
Step 4: Mix the Salad Base
Finely chop some red onions into thin strips and dice up your beets - roasted or canned.
Add these to a second bowl with the cooked quinoa and add the crumbled feta on top.
Step 5: Combine the Bowls
Add the herb/vinaigrette mix to your salad base and let all the delicious flavors get to know each other. Mmm...
Step 6: Slice Up Your Watermelon!
Cut a 1/2" slice of watermelon out of the middle. Next, using a round template, cut a large circle from the middle and release it from the slice.
Step 7: Get Ready for Plating
One of the best things when I had this quinoa salad at 10 Barrel was the plating. They did a great job and I wanted to see if I could recreate that with the watermelon as a delicious base to the Tower of Quinoa and add it as a fruit crust accent to the whole thing.
Using my same template container, I packed the salad in and tamped it down. I then placed the watermelon slice on top and flipped it so the quinoa salad would neatly come out and sit on the watermelon. This worked beautifully!
Step 8: Plate and Eat!
Delicious with some arugula and grilled chicken/fish on the side. I had this again for lunch today with marinated chicken and it was excellent. The watermelon pairs really nicely with the savory salad and the citrus flavors from the lemon chervil vinaigrette and provides a nice texture to the already interesting salad. I definitely tried this at first because of the ingredient challenge, but I've discovered a new favorite salad! Mmm!