because what is life without good food?

Basil Watermelon Salad with Chicken, Blue Cheese & Toasted Pecans

and a Tequila Lime vinaigrette

Basil Watermelon Salad with Chicken, Blue Cheese, and Toasted Pecans

I know it’s getting close to Christmas and everyone is baking cookies and such, but if you can find some watermelon (or if you miraculously happen to have a bit sitting about still from the bounty of the summer garden, like me), make this sublime salad and, just for a moment, transport yourself back to warmth, sunshine, swimsuits and flip-flops. Your winter wonderland will be waiting for you when you return.

This salad to me screams California cuisine. When I eat it, I picture myself sitting in a beautiful restaurant with white tablecloths, fresh flowers, real cloth napkins and lots of windows … even a balcony where you can sit outside and feel, hear, smell, gaze at the beauty of the ocean. It deserves to be served at one of those posh, funky California restaurants that serves the most unusual combinations of flavors. Perhaps the view would be something like this …

California Beach

When I first thought of putting these things together in a salad, I was a little scared to try it. Honestly, how can you be scared of a salad? I need not have worried … it was divine. The sweetness of the watermelon, the earthy flavor of the basil, the creamy bite of the blue cheese, the gentle crunch of the pecans, and the crisp greens with the lime and tequila … oh it is heaven.

If you have no watermelon, then just order some yellow watermelon seeds for your garden and stash this recipe away for next summer.

Basil Watermelon Salad with Chicken, Blue Cheese, Toasted Pecans and a Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

Basil Watermelon Salad with Chicken, Blue Cheese, Toasted Pecans and a Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

I made a single-serving salad, but you could easily make a bigger version for a hungry crowd. To me, this is a complete meal all in one bowl.

  • Mixed organic greens
  • A small slice of watermelon, seeded and chopped into small chunks (I used yellow watermelon)
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped (and flowers, if you have them!)
  • 1 chicken patty, cooked and cut into pieces (or leftover chicken of any kind!)
  • Pecans, chopped roughly and toasted


  1. Fill the salad bowl 3/4 full with mixed greens.
  2. Top with watermelon, blue cheese, chicken, basil leaves and pecans.
  3. Sprinkle with tequila lime vinaigrette and serve.

Tequila Lime Vinaigrette (from Cooking Light Magazine)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Dash of salt


  1. Toss all ingredients into a food processor and whir till blended. Or you can just whisk them all together in a bowl, but the food processor will chop up the cilantro really nicely. I used watermelon-infused tequila (made by soaking watermelon cubes in tequila for several  days). Cover and chill until ready to use.

Basil Watermelon Salad with Chicken, Blue Cheese, and Toasted Pecans

This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week: Healthy/Low Cal Recipes.

8 responses

  1. YUM!

    December 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

  2. Lovely salad, colorful.

    December 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

  3. Ann

    Thanks Melissa and Suzi. I think this is my favorite salad EVER! Too bad it was “born” in winter when watermelon is difficult to find.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:14 am

  4. Ah, I’ve been having some christmas parties at my place the past two weekends – I’m so stuffed with English and Swedish Christmas food – starchy, meaty stodge… this is just the thing I need – light, tasty, refreshing – something to revitalise my taste-buds😀 Looks delicious!

    December 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm

  5. I love EVERYTHING about this recipe. All of those amazing flavors in one salad. Mmmmmmm. The picture is beautiful. Great, great recipe.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:49 am

  6. Pingback: Jump Up Chicken Orange Salad with Feta & Pecans « Sumptuous Spoonfuls

  7. Pingback: Stella de Oro Salad with Cucumber, Pecans & 2 Cheeses « Sumptuous Spoonfuls

  8. Pingback: Mulberry, Sausage and Couscous Salad « Sumptuous Spoonfuls

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