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Cool Summer Salad: Watermelon, Cherry, and Tomatoes

Ditch the lettuce and opt instead for a healthy side made with the season's best flavors

Today is National Watermelon Day, and what better way to celebrate it than with an unexpected take on a classic summertime staple. Enter this refreshingly simple watermelon, cherry, and tomato salad by chef, instructor, Today-show stylist, and now author Ashton Keefe, whose first cookbook Lemon & Salt: A Modern Girl's Guide to Culinary Revelry combines the elegance of the culinary arts with the ease of everyday cooking. True to that mantra, this effortless side mixes sweet and savory, getting its tangy kick from ricotta salata in place of ubiquitous feta. Serve it as a simple weeknight accompaniment or as the first course at an alfresco dinner party among friends. Then check back here in the next few weeks for more of Keefe's approachable, delicious recipes.

Cool Summer Salad: Watermelon, Cherry, and Tomatoes

Watermelon, Cherry, and Tomato Salad with Ricotta Salata and Toasted Pistachios
Serves 6

- ½ seedless watermelon, rind removed and cubed
- 2 large jersey tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup yellow baby tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
- ½ cup basil, picked
- 1 cup ricotta salata, cubed

In a large bowl, gently toss together watermelon, tomatoes, and cherries. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Garnish with pistachios, basil, and cheese.