Yield: 4 servings
1 medium seedless watermelon
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups tahini
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup pistachio meats
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 pound baby spinach, rinsed and dried
2 to 4 plum tomatoes or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves, or to taste
Notes: The seedless melon we used for the test was very ripe and the slice in the center didn’t hold its shape, but it still tasted good. The other three slices held the triangle shape.
• The tahini salad dressing makes more than will be used in this recipe. Store leftovers in the refrigerator to use on other fruit dishes and salads. Remove from the refrigerator a few hours before serving to allow it to flow more freely.
• The melon-balsamic glaze shouldn’t be refrigerated.
• Both the dressing and the glaze can be placed in a condiment squeeze bottle with a narrow tip to criss-cross over the salad.
1. Cut the rind off the melon, starting with the top and the bottom, to create a base to work from. Stand the melon on end and remove the remaining rind and white from the sides.
2. Slice half the melon into 4 circles of equal size and set aside for assembling the salad later.
3. To make the juice, cut a slice about an inch thick from the remaining watermelon into small pieces and place in a juicer or blender. You will need 1 cup of juice to make the melon glaze, strained of any seeds. Add more watermelon if necessary. Stop when you reach 1 cup. Strain the juice. There will probably be leftover watermelon from this step.
4. To make the glaze, add the watermelon juice, balsamic vinegar and sugar to a 4-quart saucepan. Place on low heat and reduce until liquid is thick and viscous. Be careful not to burn, stir often and frequently. Also take care to not make caramel. If it cooks too long it will be too thick to drizzle. A good way to tell if glaze is done is by using a wooden spoon. Dip the spoon into the glaze, let cool a bit, drag your finger on the back of the spoon. Your finger should create a clear line on the spoon.
5. To make the tahini vinaigrette, add tahini, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and salt to taste in a blender. Blend until smooth, add water a little at time, if too thick. Note, you will only use a cup and a half of this dressing for the salads. Cover and refrigerate.
6. In a sauté pan dry toast pistachios until toasted brown, careful nut to burn. Rough chop with knife or in the food processor. Do not over process nuts or they will turn to pistachio butter.
7. To assemble the salads, line the bottom of 4 large plates or shallow bowls with spinach. Divide garbanzos and scatter across.
8. Cut each of the reserved watermelon discs into 4 quarters and stack in a line on top of spinach.
9. Slice tomatoes in half if using cherry tomatoes, thin slices if using plum tomatoes, then arrange around the watermelon.
10. Top watermelon with feta and pistachios. Drizzle with tahini vinaigrette, about 3 tablespoons for each plate, and with melon-balsamic glaze, about 2 tablespoons, crisscrossing the salad.
11. Garnish with fresh mint. Use whole leaves or slice the mint in a chiffonade.
Per serving: 1,158 calories; 55g fat; 14g saturated fat; 50mg cholesterol; 38g protein; 152g carbohydrate; 103g sugar; 22g fiber; 832mg sodium; 828mg calcium