Simple Food: Watermelon Goat Cheese Summer Salad

A few weeks ago my friend Kate Armstrong, the Urban Forager, made a house call.  We wanted to get together and she came to do a neighborhood walk to find and point out purslane and sorrel that had eluded us on our May Urban Foraging walk in Denver.  It was very fun to have her personally scour my yard and giving me an excuse to let all my weeds go; after all they might be edible!
Sorrel, the burgundy clover-like leaved plant interspersed with the grass, has a beautiful lemony bite; great for salads

I did learn that a big patch of something that looked purposeful in my raised vegetable bed was plantain, Kate’s favorite edible/medicinal (she actually plants it to get enough).  She demonstrated the art of gently severing the vascular system of the leaves by gently snapping the stem and wiggling the leaf from stringy inner attachments rendering the leaves pliable and ready to be used for something like a wrap (as in food wrap).  We found a tiny patch of sorrel in the corner of the lawn.  Burgundy colored clover-like leaves produce a lemony tang great for salads.  There were still tender dandelion greens and salsify root (but not the kind with the white flower whose root tastes like oysters).  Love finding these tender, useful greens I’ve always looked at as the bane of my existence, now as the highlight of my salads.

Kate Armstrong, the Urban Forager


I’d put together an eclectic spread for a languishing lunch on the back deck.  Majorcan Sobrasada sausage picked up in Santa Fe, Mangalitsa Lardo from Cure Organic Farms, Mead from local meadery Medovina, organic breakfast radishes, freshly picked strawberries, freshly home baked gluten free bread with hemp and chia seeds and a selection of gourmet mustards; all things I knew Kate would savor.
I was going to throw together a simple salad with vinaigrette made from my home-fermented wine vinegar when Kate intervened.  ‘Do you have watermelon?’  Yes.  ‘Goat cheese?’  Yes, local chevre from Haystack Mountain Dairy.  She tipped me off to her extended family’s favorite summer salad staple, thanks to her daughter Amy Pankenier.  I threw pieced it together at her instruction and now it is MY favorite warm weather salad.  Maybe it will become yours! 
Fresh and clean, this salad has ample mouth watering flavors, is cooling and not heavy though filling.  In 100 years I would not have put goat cheese and watermelon together for anything other than execution of a dare. It’s fantastic.
You can tailor the proportions of this to any serving size or volume.  This quantity makes a large bowl perfect for a main serving for 4 and generous side servings for 6-8.
·         8 cups freshly washed lettuce (select a seasonal variety with some flavor if possible)
·         2-3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
·         1 ounce goat cheese/chevre (I used Haystack Mountain ‘Applewood Smoked goat cheese)
·         2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
 Put in a large tossing or serving bowl, lettuce, then watermelon then the goat cheese.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar and toss.  Taste.  If desired add more balsamic vinegar to suit your taste.  Serve!


  1. says

    I think I have purslane growing in my alley near my mint – but need someone to confirm that's what it is before I eat it! And I also make a watermelon salad like this, but I add heirloom tomatoes to it and some thinly sliced red onions. Delicious!

  2. says

    I admit…I've had the two mixed in a salad recently. Everyone seems to be on a feta and watermelon kick but I have a fridge full of goat cheeses sent to me so I've been using them a LOT! Now for that foraging thing…I guess I should look and see if the weeds in my yard have some value. I'm still of the mind that they are weeds and I want them gone. It's true; don't hate me. 🙂

  3. says

    What a fantastic salad idea. I would not have thought to combine the two, but I'm totally trying that one for the next potluck I attend. I think this will be a crowd wowzer!! Looks like your summer is going great. Love reading your stories. 🙂


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