The Fourth of July falls on a Tuesday this year, smack dab in the middle of the week. I plan to enjoy the holiday by the pool with my new float, a cold drink and a good book. If you’re grilling out, headed to the beach or a family affair, I have the perfect cold salad you can take along featuring summer’s most popular fruit: watermelon.
Refreshing and easy to prepare, Watermelon Orzo Salad with Feta and Mint is made with “little pasta,” known as orzo — a thin, oval, rice-shaped pasta. Remember to cook the pasta in advance and let it cool in plenty of time to toss with the other ingredients. You can add grilled chicken or roasted shrimp to this recipe to bulk it up, or enjoy it meatless. It’s a light, colorful side dish that compliments ribs, burgers, corn on the cob and anything you may be grilling.
Make a fresh vinaigrette or toss the salad with your favorite bottled version, such as zesty Italian dressing. This dish also travels well. Be sure to store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
An iconic symbol of summertime, watermelon comes by its name honestly. The sweet, juicy fruit has an extremely high water content — approximately 92 percent — giving its flesh a juicy and thirst-quenching texture while maintaining crunch. The fruit is also packed with nutrients (watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes!) and boasts some pretty impressive health benefits, such as heart health, protection against sunburns and certain types of cancers. So, eat up, y’all. Have a restful and happy Fourth of July!
Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a private chef and the author of the best-selling memoir “Some Kinda Good.” Featured in Forbes, on Food Network and ABC, she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in season.
Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.
Watermelon Orzo Salad with Feta & Mint
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 cup lemon vinaigrette
3 cups seeded and diced watermelon
4 ounces crumbled tomato-herb feta cheese
3 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Toss together hot pasta and lemon vinaigrette in a large bowl. Cover and chill pasta mixture 3 to 24 hours. Before serving, gently toss together watermelon, feta cheese, and pasta mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.