Even the calendar agrees: summer is officially here. Whether you were at a Juneteenth celebration or a solstice parade, it was a good weekend for grilling, sunscreen, and watermelon. (Though really, the end of slavery seems like a better excuse for a celebration than cyclists wearing only body paint.)
As promised earlier, here’s the first installment of crisp lettuce-free summer salads: the Israeli breakfast salad. I’ve never been anywhere in the Middle East, but if Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking is in any way typical, I’d seriously dig it. Bales of fresh herbs? Lentils, garbanzos, and flatbreads? Warm spices and honey? Tangy yogurt and lamb? Especially if I can start my day with a watermelon and feta salad, I’m sold.
I’m skeptical of breakfast on the best of days, but it’s especially difficult to muster enthusiasm for food when your apartment is an oven by 9:00 a.m. I know it’s slightly unorthodox to eat salad for breakfast, but it’s a light and refreshing way to start your day. Plus, crunching through fruit and veggies in the morning does a better job of waking you up than coffee! Who knew?
I first discovered this recipe back in college (perhaps in Bon Appetit?) though the original recipe eludes me at the moment. The premise is simple: grab all the great summer produce you can get your hands on, dice it up, and top with feta cheese, fresh herbs, and olive oil. Super simple.
Later, we’ll break this salad down into gazpacho and, yes, popsicles! But for now, here’s the basic recipe for your new favorite breakfast.
- 4 cups watermelon, diced into 1/2" cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 smallish cucumber, seeded and diced
- 1/4 c. packed basil and mint leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
- As you're chopping watermelon, tomato, pepper, and cucumber, put in a large bowl with the herbs. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil over the top, and toss gently.
- Top with a sprinkle of feta cheese and serve.
- Yellow tomatoes would be beautiful here if you can get your hands on a few.