Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with a Lemon Verbena-Infused Vinaigrette

I have been waiting for summer to arrive when watermelons would be in the market to make some recipes . Back on March 31, 2016   I shared a long post on Salt Blocks for Cooking, Serving and a Few Recipes. One of those recipes I posted, but just now made, is a watermelon appetizer with feta and mint. Very simple and a great way to serve this summer fruit. This appetizer is going to be a favorite this summer.

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I also found this recipe from one of Food 52’s cookbooks and knew I had to make this one too. I know you will love this as much as we did.

Watermelon, Goat Cheese and Pistachios with a Lemon Verbena Vinaigrette

  • handful of fresh lemon verbena leaves – I love this lemony herb (see below for substitution)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt – I used Maldon Sea Salt
  • seedless watermelon
  • pistachios, unsalted – I used roasted and salted and they were delicious
  • goat cheese crumbles (feta would be good too)
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to finish

Roughly chop the verbena and place in a mortar. Add a few drops of the oil and 1 tsp. coarse salt. I am a little salt sensitive but I decided to add the recommended amount and it was perfect. Grind for 2 minutes; add the rest of the olive oil and allow to steep for about an hour at room temperature. Remove the lemon verbena leaves before adding the red wine vinegar.

Even though I used roasted and salted pistachios (that’s what I had in the freezer) I still toasted them for 5 minutes and loved them; crunchy and so flavorful. Once they are cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.

Cut the watermelon into bite-size pieces and place on a shallow platter. Sprinkle goat cheese crumbles over the watermelon. Combine the lemon verbena mixture with the red wine vinegar and drizzle over the watermelon. Add the pistachios and season with Maldon sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently and serve right away.

This salad is refreshing and so delicious; I could eat the whole plateful! Be generous with the goat cheese and pistachios.

Substitution: If you don’t have lemon verbena, use 1-1/2 tbsp. minced lemongrass or lemon zest from 1 lemon and 3 tbsp. fresh basil, minced.

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju

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I am sharing this summer salad with Angie and everyone at Fiesta Friday #126. Come join us…

26 thoughts on “Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with a Lemon Verbena-Infused Vinaigrette

  1. This intrigues me, but I do not like watermelon. I think it is a texture kind of thing for me. However my husband loves it as well as feta. I bet he would love this! Happy FF!

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  2. I was salivating as I was reading the ingredients Judi. I love verbena, I have a plant too, and am going to try this on the watermelon. I’m sure the pistachios added a lovely crunch to it.

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  3. Thanks Loretta – Lemon verbena is a favorite herb – unfortunately I have to replace it every year as it does not make it through our winters. All of the ingredients just went together “like a bunch of peas in a pod”.

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  4. This looks perfect for the season, Judi! I have so much lemon balm growing in my garden and I don’t know what to do with it! I think I will try it in this recipe! Thanks! 😀

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    • Lemon balm is very invasive (member of the mint family). Lemon verbena is a nice sized plant that is an annual for me here in Michigan. It has a wonderful flavor though. I’m sure lemon balm would be a great substitute 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with a Lemon Verbena-Infused Vinaigrette – Chef Ceaser

  6. I always look forward to summer for many reasons, one of them is watermelon. I have never even considered such a recipe as this and am eager to try it. Thank you so much. 🐞

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