Watermelon, Cucumber & Marinated Feta Caprese with Pistachio-Mint Pesto & Arugula

A spin on a traditional Caprese salad with all the flavors and textures you want on a hot summer day. It’s refreshing and a perfect balance of salty, sweet, crisp & bright. Pretty easy on the eyes too!

Tips for making it ahead/making it on the fly

  • You can marinate the feta for up to one week
  • You can make the pesto, freeze it, then have it on the ready. Otherwise it keeps in the fridge for up to one week
  • If you’re pressed for time you don’t even have to marinate the feta, you can simply toss the arugula with orange juice, olive oil, salt& pepper

Recipe: Watermelon, Cucumber & Marinated Feta Caprese with Pistachio-Mint Pesto & Arugula

Marinated Feta:

2 lb block of feta

1 orange, peeled and then peel cut into thin slices

1 lime, peeled and then peel cut into thin slices

1 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

Combine olive oil, orange zest, lime zest & coriander. Let oil infuse for at least 1 hour. Cut feta into 1/4” slices. In a glass container, pour a small amount of oil mixture, add a layer of feta, top with some oil, and continue layering until all feta is covered in oil. Marinate a minimum of 12 hours but up to 7 days.

Pistachio-Mint Pesto:

4 c mint leaves, picked from the stems 

3/4 c shelled, raw pistachios

1 tsp sea salt

3/4 to 1c extra virgin olive oil

juice of 2 limes (the ones you used the zest of  for the marinated feta)

1 ice cube

Add pistachios to a blender or food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Remove 1/4 cup and set aside for garnish. Wash the mint leaves in cold water, shaking lightly but leaving a bit of the cold water clinging to the leaves. To the blender, add ice cube, mint leaves, 1/2 cup of olive oil and salt. Blend briefly, then add lime juice and remaining oil as needed and pulse all together. The mixture should be mostly smooth and bright green. Taste and adjust the salt, lime juice & olive oil to your liking.

Salad Assembly:

1 large watermelon, cut into roughly 1/2” x 4” x 4” pieces

3 english cucumbers, cut in half then into 1/4” slices using a mandolin or vegetable peeler

marinated feta slices (allow excess oil to drain off of the feta as using)

pistachio-mint pesto

1 container baby arugula

1 orange (the one you used the zest of for the feta marinade)

1/2 bunch mint, cut into a chiffonade

1/4 c chopped pistachios (reserved from pesto)

sea salt & pepper

Spread 1/3 of the pesto on the bottom of a large platter. Arrange watermelon, feta & cucumber pieces, somewhat overlapping, in rows or in a concentric circle. Drizzle with additional pesto. In a bowl, toss arugula with juice from the orange, some of the oil from the marinated feta, salt & pepper to taste. Mound arugula in the center of the platter, and sprinkle with mint & reserved pistachios.

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