Tahoe recipe: Labor Day watermelon and arugula salad | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe recipe: Labor Day watermelon and arugula salad

Simone Grandmain
Special to the Tribune
Watermelon and arugula salad is a super delicious, refreshing, easy addition to your Labor Day menu.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain |

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — I almost closed out summer last week with the pineapple barbecue sauce recipe — almost. We all know that this weekend is really the big send off, we just don’t like to talk about it.

We all know about the Labor Day. We all know how this first Monday in September got its name: Everything is labor intensive.

You work to find your parking place at the market, struggle to stay awake to make the spread for the visiting guests, kill yourself to get to the lake early and secure a dock, labor to find a genuine smile for the in-laws, forge your way into left-hand turns in bumper to bumper traffic, strive to plaster a loving, sympathetic expression on your face in lieu of the ecstasy you feel when your children bemoan the long days of school to commence Tuesday, yes Tuesday, the day after Labor Day.

This day is not a labor of love. It is work, pure and not-so-simple. Until now. Until I came along with this watermelon and arugula salad.

A huge salad full of chunks (No time-consuming dicing! Oh no.) of goodness and pre-crumbled feta. So big and colorful your family will probably pause, send a little smile and a heart-felt salute your way and say, “You have labored long and hard this day. Come. Sit in the hammock. We will do the dishes.”

Oh look. There’s a line for the hammock. Maybe next year…

Watermelon and arugula salad

I have had a few variations of this salad this summer, but in the end went back to the first one I tried in June.

I was at a street fair, camera at the ready, it was very crowded and very hot and this might explain the shadowy picture featured in this column.

You can, if you like, do a blend of half spinach, half arugula for the salad, but I find the bite of the arugula with the sweet of the watermelon and the savory feta is a perfect combination.


4 cups seedless watermelon chunks

6 cups arugula salad

1/2 cup of your favorite store bought vinaigrette

1 tbls. Gourmet Garden® cilantro paste, available in the produce section at Safeway

1/2 tbls. olive oil

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup roasted pepita seeds, which are dark green pumpkin seeds, found in the Hispanic spice or food section of most grocery stores.

sprinkle of coarse salt to taste


In a very large bowl toss the watermelon chunks with a little bit of salt. Let sit at room temperature, about one hour. Add the arugula and mix.

In a small bowl combine salad dressing with cilantro paste and olive oil. Pour this dressing over watermelon and arugula and toss. Sprinkle on feta cheese and mix gently.

Finally, toss all with the pepita seeds. I like it served at room temperature, but it is also good refrigerated.

Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at simonegrandmain@gmail.com.

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