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Posts Tagged ‘healthy meals’

 

I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy! These extraordinary times we’re living in seem to be challenging just about everyone–even those with secure jobs and plenty of resources.

Here in Northern California, we’re also experiencing horrific wildfires and the resulting smoke, which makes the air quality so poor you often can’t go outside to escape the stress of being cooped up because of Covid-19. What’s more, the recent heatwave brought thousands of tiny ants into my home, and one day, a few dozen large ones. I tried joking with friends about the “fire, plague and pestilence,” because when you think about it, things are so bad it can seem unreal or surreal, and you almost have to be able to joke about it to keep sane.

I try to cope by reminding myself of all the good things I have in my life–particularly my health and my children’s health. I also remind myself that it’s pointless to worry about those things I have absolutely no control over. And I take joy in small things–like seeing a fawn with its mother on my lawn, a funny meme one of my kids shares with me, a simple but delicious meal or favorite sweet. (Of course, there’s always Netflix, too!)

Back to the food… I love this salad! I’ve been making it nearly every week since May, and I definitely rate in among my top five favorites. It boasts beautiful color, complex flavor and texture, and you can easily source its ingredients all summer and into autumn. It has just the right combination of sweet, savory, soft and crunchy, and the chili-lime vinaigrette gives it just a little added kick. You can make a vegan version leaving out the feta.

Make sure you use a nicely ripe watermelon. My nearly full-proof technique for choosing watermelons is to pick one up and rap on it gently with my knuckles–just like you would knock on someone’s door. If you get a true “hollow” knock, then the melon is ripe. If you get more of a “thud” sound, try another.

 

Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)

1/2 a ripe watermelon, rind/seeds removed and cut into 1-inch cubes

2-3 golden beets

1 large handful sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced thin

1/2 cup firm feta (I use sheep’s milk feta)

2 large handfuls arugula leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice from 1 lime* (about 3 Tbsp)

1-1/2 tsp ground chili pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

Optional: 1/3 cup chili lime pepitas (recipe follows)

Mix 1 cup raw pepitas with 1 tsp olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika or ancho chili powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and the juice of one lime. Preheat oven to 325F. Spread pepitas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

*Get the most juice out of your lime by pressing down on the lime while it’s still whole, and rolling it while pressing down on it against a countertop or cutting board.

 

Preparation

Trim away any roots or pointed tops on the beets, wrap in foil and roast in the oven or toaster oven at 375F until cooked through, 30-40 minutes. Let cool. Run under cold water to help slide the skin off. Cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.

Add cut watermelon, snap peas and arugula and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice chili pepper and salt. Drizzle over the watermelon and beet mixture and toss to coat evenly. Crumble feta over the salad and lightly toss. Sprinkle toasted pepitas if using and serve immediately.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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