Seasons are one of life’s most beautiful designs. I love that as the earth turns and seasons change, there is a completely unique expression of foods and patterns that cause culture and behaviour to shift. In the depths of winter, the earth provides the perfect earthy foods that beckon to be served hot, whilst in the height of summer, there’s the miraculous provision of hydrating fruits that are the perfect solution to a searing heatwave. As a cook, I find it extremely joyous to work with what each season provides me, forming recipes that celebrate and compliment our needs and desires that change at different times of the year. This salad is from my new book Fast Your Way to Wellness.
In following an Ayurvedic philosophy, summertime can cause an over abundance of the fire element within our constitution, which explains why we can get so angry and irritable during a hot day. However nature has its wonderful way of providing the exact kinds of foods that calm this fire; balancing us out and bringing our mind and body back into a happy, ‘cooled down’ state.
The hot months can very easily cause dehydration within our bodies as we sweat more. Apart from keeping on top of our water intake, we can also work with the seasons and capitalise on some of the hydrating and cooling foods that are growing at this time of year, and base our meal planning around these foods. In summer, juicy hydrating foods like berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, mangoes and watermelons are in abundance, and for this reason they’re also really cheap to buy!
We are having an extended Indian summer in Sydney this year, yesterday we spent the day at Bondi Beach to soak up the last rays of the east coast sunshine. To me, summer just screams the name WATERMELON. I love the sound of a knife cutting wedges of juicy watermelon, and the sensation of an icy cold piece of its watery sweetness is something of pure bliss on a day of sweltering heat. Enjoying it straight up is a joy on its own, but I’m definitely a fan of a good watermelon salad! If you haven’t tried watermelon in a salad before, you’re going to be in for a treat with this recipe!
A classic combination for a watermelon salad is a partnership between fetta or goats cheese, (The Yarra Valley version is tasty) with mint. One has to wonder how this interesting collaboration was formed, but somehow the trio will always knock your socks off when intermingled together. The juicy sweetness of the watermelon is cut through by the sharp, sour flavour of the goat’s cheese, and the cooling zing of mint really brings it to life. This teacup watermelon salad is something that I’ve created to be a joy for everyone on warm days.
The dressing for my teacup salad is a zesty mixture of lemon and lime, with the floral notes of coriander combined with creamy sheep’s milk yoghurt. I'm using sheep’s milk yoghurt for good reason. If you’re familiar with dairy proteins, there are big differences in how the body responds to either A1 or A2 beta casein proteins. A2 protein is the name of a milk protein that was previously in all dairy herds until a natural mutation occurred in the European herd thousands of years ago. Dairy milk will often contain a mix of A1 and A2 beta casein proteins, but milk from goats, sheep, camels, buffalo, yaks, donkeys is either mostly or completely A2, which is doesn’t inflame the body like A1 proteins, and is often tolerated by people who wouldn’t be able to consume other dairy products without ill effects. Sheep’s milk yoghurt is also exceptionally cooling and refreshing, with the added bonus of providing your gut with some lovely beneficial bacteria.
This dainty salad is a gorgeous refreshing snack, light meal or post meal enjoyment that will provide instant refreshment as well as a welcomed hit of hydration and nutrients. Watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent — but every juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as lycopene and beauty boosting antioxidants that help keep your complexion glowing all summer long.
Enjoy served in small portions for your guests at a summer BBQ, or as an afternoon pick me up if you’re embracing the fasting protocol found in my new book Fast Your Way to Wellness, which will help you to maintain abounding energy and a healthy weight year round.
144 calories per serve (603kJ)
- 350 g (12 oz/2 cups) diced seedless watermelon
- 90 g (31/4 oz/2 cups) baby English spinach leaves
- small handful of mint leaves, torn or roughly chopped
- 1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 60 g (21/4 oz/1/2 cup) crumbled goat’s cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
- 130 g (41/2 oz/1/2 cup) sheep’s milk yoghurt
- Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl, then divide between three wide-mouthed teacups, mugs or bowls. Spoon the dressing on top and serve immediately.
Keep the salad and dressing separate until just before serving, then when you’re ready to eat spoon the dressing on top.