Watermelon Bites with Feta, Fresh Spinach and a Cilantro-Mint Pesto

by feastonthecheap on July 8, 2010

Mariel here. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but this month’s crop of watermelon seems to trump any melon I’ve relished in years past…that or I’m suffering from seasonal amnesia. Inspired by a particularly tasty treat I enjoyed this past holiday weekend, I decided to try and incorporate this juicy summer staple into a non-dessert recipe. One that might provide refreshing respite from the red-hot heat here in the northeast.

I suggest serving the following as finger food at an alfresco barbeque, picnic or afternoon party. For a fuller meal, the melon bites also pair nicely with grilled shrimp/chicken. This dish requires almost no cooking – just a flash saute to wilt the spinach – and if you’re lucky enough to own a food processor, there’s hardly any chopping involved. In my opinion, it may just be the perfect hot weather snack. But that’s just me…

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Watermelon Bites with Feta, Fresh Spinach and a Cilantro-Mint Pesto
Makes 40-50 Squares

Ingredients for the Cilantro-Mint Pesto:
1 cup fresh cilantro, packed (if you hate cilantro, parsley might sub-in nicely) – $0.99
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed – $1.49
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted – stock
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan -$4.00
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime) – $0.50
1/3 cup olive oil – stock
3 garlic cloves – stock
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper – stock
1/2 teaspoon salt – stock

Ingredients for the Bites:
Approximately 5lbs seedless watermelon, sliced 3/4″ thick then cut into bite-sized squares – $5.45
2 cups fresh spinach – $1.50
2 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
6 oz feta (I used reduced fat) cut into thin squares sized to fit watermelon bites – $3.99
Sprinkle of salt – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $17.92
Cost per bite: $0.36

Directions for Pesto:
1. In a cuisinart, blend the walnuts, garlic, parmesan, pepper and salt until you create a thick paste.

2. Add the cilantro, mint and lime juice until finely chopped.

3. While the cuisinart is running, slowly add the olive oil until everything is smooth and creamy. Set aside. (PS: this pesto saves in the freezer for up to a month).

Directions for Bites:
1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over a high flame. Once the oil is hot, add the spinach and quickly wilt (this takes less than a minute). Immediately remove from heat and transfer the spinach to a bowl, sprinkle very lightly with salt and set aside.

2. Assemble the bites starting with the watermelon square on the bottom, followed by a piece of torn spinach, then the feta then a dot of the pesto. Et voila! Wasn’t that easy?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Shachi July 8, 2010 at 10:42 am

OMG! These look outstanding!!

I’ve always drizzled watermelon, mint and feta with some thick, sweet balsamic syrup and a drop of olive oil but will have to definitely try these too!!

AWESOME!

PS: The picture is gorgeous too!

Reply

feastonthecheap July 8, 2010 at 10:48 am

Ha, funny you should mention that Shachi! Next week we’re posting a lovely little watermelon salad that sounds a lot like your creation – we’ll have to compare notes!

Reply

thecompletecookbook July 9, 2010 at 4:53 am

Aah, heaven in one delightful bite. A magnificent use of colour and originality. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. Ideal for a summer entree.
Mandy

Reply

feastonthecheap July 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Thanks, Mandy. And all of the credit goes to Mariel! She is really creating some wondrous fare, and to think only a short time ago I was teaching her. Seems that my “student” can teach this old dog some terrific and unique combos!

Reply

Debbie July 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Sounds like the perfect Summer finger food, and looks just luscious!What an interesting combination of flavors. I will certainly be trying this, thanks for sharing.

Reply

foodtable July 10, 2010 at 1:50 am

Wow, very creative. And looks so pretty!

Reply

monicasawhney July 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Looks awesome. In Indian we usually eat chilled watermelon with some sea salt and pepper sprinkled over it but this takes it to the next level. Can’t wait to try this.

Thanks,

Monica

http://www.balleindianfood.com

Reply

Animalcouriers April 29, 2012 at 6:16 am

Oh wow – we’ve had watermelon and feta salad before but this is so much more sophisticated. Will try the coriander and mint pesto right now! Thanks ;-)

Reply

Susan June 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Made these tonight for friends and LOVED them. Such a wonderful summer (solstice) treat!

Reply

feastonthecheap June 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

So happy to hear that Susan, thank you for sharing!

Reply

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