Watermelon Mint & Feta Salad
with Chicken, Bee Balm & a Honey Lime Margarita Vinaigrette
I like to garden, but most of my property is forest, so there isn’t much light for gardening. I have a little pond on the edge of the forest with a waterfall. Years ago I planted a bee balm next to the pond. I heard that they like wet spots and they attract bees and butterflies, so I thought my pond would be the perfect spot for a bee balm. But it didn’t grow. I was sad.
What I didn’t know was that it must have actually taken foot because this year for some reason, it popped up and grew like mad and made so many lovely blossoms! I really love edible flowers so I did a little googling to find out if bee balm is edible. I was so excited to discover that not only are the bee balm blossoms edible, but the whole plant is often used to make tea and for medicinal purposes. Also called Wild Bergamot, there are lots of medicinal purposes for this beautiful plant according to Alt Nature:
Bee Balm leaves and flowers and stems are used in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. An infusion is medicinal used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, and gastric disorders, to reduce low fevers and soothe sore throat, to relieve flatulence, nausea, menstrual pain, and insomnia. Steam inhalation of the plant can be used for sore throats, and bronchial catarrh (inflammation of the mucus membrane, causing an increased flow of mucus). Externally, it is a medicinal application for skin eruptions and infections. Bergamot’s distinctive aroma, found in both the leaf and flower is wonderful for use in potpourri. While a fragrant herb in its own right, Wild Bergamot is not the source of the commonly used Bergamot Essential oil.
Bee Balm is gorgeous and tasty and yes, it makes a lovely addition to a watermelon salad. The way the flower petals grow reminds me a bit of a jester’s hat.
If you don’t have bee balm, you can certainly make the salad anyway. I like to add crunchy breaded chicken on top if I’m eating it right away. If I’m making the salad in a jar, I usually leave the chicken out of the salad. I made a bunch of these (sans chicken) in jars for my yoga friends and they LOVED them. The sweet crunchy watermelon with salty crumbled feta, fresh mint leaves and crunchy chicken drizzled with honey and lime and a splash of tequila plus fresh flower petals … it’s the essence of summer!
- Juice of 2 fresh limes
- 2 Tablespoons orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 - 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon tequila
- 1 teaspoon orange liqueur
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- a pinch of salt
- Cubed watermelon
- 2 -- 3 Tablespoons of the dressing
- Leftover chicken, chopped (optional)
- Fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
- Fresh salad greens
- Bee balm petals, fresh
- Crumbled feta cheese
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Taste and adjust honey, salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- To make this salad in a jar: put the watermelon chunks on bottom, then the dressing, then the chicken, mint leaves, greens, flower petals and several hunks of feta on top. Store upright in the fridge until time to eat. At serving time, remove the feta, then pour the salad in a bowl, toss together the salad and crumble the feta on top.
- To make this salad to eat right away: Toss the greens with the watermelon and mint. Sprinkle chicken, bee balm petals and feta cheese over top. Drizzle with dressing.
To make this recipe gluten free, make sure to use gluten free tequila and chicken.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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