Hello! Happy Sunday. I am writing to you from one of my favorite places on the planet ~~ our family mountain getaway home in Julian, CA. If you’ve been a long time reader then you’re probably familiar with my mentions of this special place, as my family typically spends a lot of weekends, holidays, & festive occasions here. Lately, busy weekends, unfortunate circumstances, & just life getting in the way has kept this country house quiet & unvisited for many months. After a jam packed summer, & this being my last weekend before going back to full time work, I was determined to clear my schedule & escape the city for a relaxing & peace filled weekend away in our beautiful home. Ahhhhh….
One of the many things that makes this house so special is the beautiful gourmet kitchen (which is likely the size of my apartment!). It is a lovely place to cook, so even though I spent all of last week cooking for the Sophia Camp (a leadership camp for teen girls) & needed a bit break from the kitchen, I felt myself called back in! One of the creations of the weekend was this beautiful salad…
I cannot take all of the credit, however. It was a collaboration of my Mom & me. After a walk about town, we returned home for lunch & took inventory of what we still had on hand…last night’s risotto (a variation of this favorite from my early blogging days), rosemary bread from the Candied Apple Pastry Company in town, baby kale, watermelon, mango, peach, & some vegan mozzarella left over from yesterday’s caprese panini lunch. We thought the rosemary bread would make fantastic croutons for a panzanella, which we both love, but my mom was craving watermelon, & there is nothing like a watermelon salad in the height of summer. Well, why not combine two tried & true favorites?
Look at that beautiful, vibrant watermelon ~ the absolute essence of summer. Juicy, hydrating, & considered one of the world’s healthiest foods, watermelon boasts a significant source of lycopene, vitamin C & amino acids. As we all know, it makes a wonderful snack on a hot summer’s day, but there is more than one way to enjoy this summertime staple. A few of my favorites ~ cut into chunks & freeze, then add to smoothies with some frozen blueberry & banana for a wonderful frosty treat. For a refreshing appetizer ~ cut into chunks & string on to skewers with a cherry tomato & basil leaf & drizzled with balsamic reduction, so good! For a wonderful afternoon drink ~ press through a juicer with fresh lime & mint, serve over ice or with a spike of vodka, if you fancy. And of course it makes a wonderful summer salad with fresh basil, pine nuts, & chunks of marinated tofu. But this…this sweet spin on panzanella (typically made with crusty bread & tomatoes) is my new favorite. We made croutons out of the rosemary bread, & decided to jazz it up even further with the addition of peach & mango, tossed in some baby kale for greenery, & dressed it with a honey-lime vinaigrette. Yum universe!
- 2 cups cubed crusty bread
- 3 cups baby kale
- 3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 1 peach, peeled & diced
- ½ mango, peeled & cubed
- 2 cup crumbled vegan mozzerella (we used Go Veggie Dairy Free)
- Small handful of pecan pieces
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tbsp raw honey (or agave, if vegan)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup citrus infused olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss bread cubes in a bowl with olive oil & sea salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden, tossing once. Remove from oven & set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, cumin & pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil & whisk to emulsify.
- Place kale, watermelon, peach, mango & toasted bread cubes in a large serving bowl. Toss with a few tablespoons of dressing. Sprinkle vegan mozzarella & pecans. Drizzle more dressing over top & serve immediately.
This salad was incredibly delicious, cool & refreshing. The mouthwatering melange of watermelon, mango & peach was a definite winning combination. The croutons & pecans added a nice bit of crunch, while the vegan mozzarella added a nice salty bite. The zesty lime & honey dressing added a lovely sweet & sour balance of flavor. Pure summer in a bowl. I am already craving more!
What are your favorite ways to enjoy watermelon? Please share, I’d love to know.