Watermelon Feta Salad with Olives

I hear Labor Day is the signal for the end of summer, so naturally I'm obsessed with all of the summer produce. Watermelons, tomatoes, corn, berries. I want it all. With the recent move to Brooklyn and regular excursions to the New Jersey countryside, I've had plenty of opportunities to stop at farm stands, most of which are run on the honor system where you pay for what you take by dropping money into a bucket at the stand.


The first watermelon was so delicious that I had to find a second. But I didn't want to make another watermelon, feta salad, I wanted something different. Luckily I remembered this insane (delicious) salad I had in New Orleans at the James Beard Award Winning Shaya on Magazine Street. (Check out their menu and definitely go if you're in town.) Watermelon, Bulgarian feta, green olives, chermoula. I left the fancy food for the award-winning restaurant and stuck to what I know which meant Whole Foods brand feta, a side of the road watermelon, Trader Joe's olives, and a modified version of chermoula. 

Lesson: You don't have to be fancy to make good food. Leave the fancy for the restaurants and experiment in the kitchen with what you have!


1 small watermelon, cubed and seeds removed (about 6 cups)
3 tbsp fresh, chopped mint
1 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped olives*
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Cube and remove seeds from watermelon. Chop herbs and olives. Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss.

*I used Trader Joe's marinated olives with lemon and herbs. If you don't have lemon marinated olives then add lemon juice and zest from 1/2 lemon to the recipe.  


Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Radicchio, and Watermelon Radish Salad

Bitter, spicy, crunchy, colorful. This salad is a simple, back to basics recipe (#btobrecipes on Instagram), and a tasty addition to your holiday table. It's perfect for winter featuring three seasonal vegetables: brussels sprouts, radicchio, and watermelon radish. You'll need a cutting board, knife, and food processor. Optional is the mandolin, a useful, but not necessary kitchen gadget used to thinly slice produce. Note: always use a guard. I can speak from experience, a mandolin and the tops of your fingers don't mix!


1 bag of brussels sprouts or about 3 cups
1 medium head of radicchio
1 medium watermelon radish
ANEWtrition Dijon Vinaigrette with Shallots 

Wash brussels sprouts and trim ends. Wash radicchio, trim end, and cut into quarters. Wash watermelon radish and set aside. Assemble food processor with blade in place to slice vegetables. Add brussels sprouts and radicchio to slice/shred. Use a sharp knife or mandolin to thinly slice watermelon radish. Toss all ingredients in a bowl, add vinaigrette and mix well. Hold in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours prior to serving. 

Dijon Vinaigrette with Shallots

It wasn't until I found myself in graduate school in Boston that I truly learned how to be comfortable in the kitchen. At that point I had been immersed in the nutrition field for over 5 years and had been a registered dietitian for 2 of the 5 years. My signature response when someone asked how it was possible that I could be an RD and not know how to cook was: "I can tell you everything about the nutrients in the food, but I can't tell you how to put it together." I honestly felt like my lack of culinary of skills was justified because I didn't go to culinary school. Another post for another day, but boy was I wrong. 

Is culinary school necessary to prepare delicious meals? Nope. I did what I call, learn on the job, but I have to give credit where it's due. For this one, a dressing I've modified over the years, I give credit to a brilliant fellow student at Tufts University whom I had the privilege of living with for a few years. She was a master in the kitchen and could almost create something out of nothing. The basics of this simple dressing came from watching her make it over and over in our tiny Boston apartment. That experience proved to me that something like a salad dressing isn't daunting and has a much superior taste than many store-bought varieties. 


1 lemon
1 medium shallot, diced
2 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cut lemon and squeeze juice through a strainer (to catch seeds) and into a bowl. Dice shallot and add to bowl along with mustard, red wine vinegar, salt, and cracked black pepper. Mix well. Slowly add olive oil while whisking to blend. 

Dressing can be held in the refrigerator for up to a week.