When you think of your favorite summer meals, what probably comes to mind is refreshing, light, healthy, cool, flavorful, and seasonal. After all, it’s hot outside, the heat is making you feel drowsy, and the last thing you need is a heavy meal that will bog you down and make you drag your feet as you walk.
Summer should be all about enjoying the beautiful weather and making the most of it by being outdoors! And heavy, fatty foods just don’t seem to go hand-in-hand with activities like swimming, hiking, boating, or even just sunbathing at the beach.
On the other hand, when you think of favorite summer meals, you’re probably thinking about grilling and barbecuing! Of course, just because grilling tends to be more meat-heavy, it doesn’t mean that your BBQ foods need to be unhealthy. You can still enjoy BBQ’ed meat and keep it healthy by using leaner meats, less fat and oils, and serving them alongside veggie sides.
“This was awesome! The salmon melts in your mouth and the vinaigrette is delicious. Great meal – thanks!” -Noelle
Luckily the light bulb came on at the perfect time, because this week’s recipe was exactly what we needed to cool off in this warm weather – Grilled Salmon with Watermelon Feta Salad.
Grilled meat? Check. Lean, healthy protein? Check. Light and refreshing? Check. Delicious veggie (and fruit) side? Check. Using seasonal ingredients? Check.
We make good use of the grill to get that amazing smoky flavor for salmon, and we pair it with a light and healthy, summery salad composed of sweet watermelon, crisp cucumbers, tangy feta, and cool mint. We make it even more refreshing with a citrus-y orange vinaigrette that doubles as a marinade for salmon and dressing for the salad.
“My family said: This is one of the best meals you’ve made all year!”
And that’s another thing about summer meals – they should be quick to make, so that it’s all about less work, more play! More time to participate in your favorite summer activities, more time to sit back and enjoy an awesome and delicious meal.
By making a bigger batch of vinaigrette for both the fish and the salad, you only need to make once, and it helps tie both components of the dish together.
And that’s what we call an ultimate summer meal!
Save on time by chopping produce ahead of time. Here’s how:
A whisk is a must-have tool, as it helps emulsifies vinaigrettes quickly and efficiently.
- Salmon – 1 lb
- Orange Vinaigrette
- Shallots – 1/2 bulb, diced
- Orange juice – 1/4 cup
- Red wine vinegar – 2 tbsp
- Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
- Dijon mustard – 2 tsp
- Honey – 2 tsp
- Olive oil – 1/4 cup
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Watermelon, seedless – 1/4, cubed
- English or Persian cucumbers – 1/3 lb, sliced
- Mint – 2 sprigs, sliced in a chiffonade
- Mixed greens – 4 oz (Try arugula for a nice contrast to watermelon)
- Feta – 2 oz, crumbled
- Make orange vinaigrette – Dice shallots. Mix with orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, Dijon, and honey. Whisk in olive oil. (Can be done 3 days ahead)
- Marinate salmon – Pour 1/4 cup of vinaigrette into a baking dish that can fit the salmon. Rinse and pat dry salmon, coat in vinaigrette, and leave non-skin side down. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Watermelon / Cucumbers / Mint – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- On outdoor grill: Preheat grill to 500 degrees. Once grill hits 500, dip a paper towel into oil, and using tongs, rub paper towel against your grill grates. Transfer salmon – skinless side down – to hot oiled grill grates. Flip after 4 to 5 minutes. If you oiled the grates and started them off hot, the salmon will release without sticking. Cook salmon for another 3 to 5 minutes with the lid closed and remove from grill.
- In oven: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast salmon directly in pan with marinade for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on thickness (1 inch should take about 14 minutes). Salmon is done when the inside is no longer translucent (or just a little bit translucent, if you like your fish on the rarer side like we do).
- Toss 1/4 cup of orange vinaigrette with greens, watermelon, cucumbers, and feta. Sprinkle mint on top.
- Use remainder of the vinaigrette to drizzle over salmon, and enjoy with the watermelon feta salad.