Strawberry, Beet, and Watermelon Salad

I call this a TOB, a thing of beauty. This very simple salad combines three summer stars that you might not normally put together. The color red is strikingly beautiful on the table; it can be served as is or on a bed of salad greens. The strawberry vinaigrette ties the beets, watermelon, and strawberries together. Salad perfection.

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When summer comes, I always think about the Italian festivals like the Feast Day of San Giovanni, Calcio Storico, Palio horse race, and Carnival of Ivrea with its Battle of the Oranges. Many of the Italian festivals and patron saint days are simultaneously held in Italian enclaves in the U.S. and in other countries. These epic events include marching bands, fireworks, and tons of street food like zeppole, braciole, pizza, and arancini. Most of all, however, the purpose is to allow people to connect to their homeland and to pay honor their patron saint in an hours-long procession

The festival that means the most to me is Saint Anthony’s Feast in Boston’s Little Italy. Held on the last week of August, this three-day feast marks the grand finale of the North End summer feast season. Read more of my story here if you wish…

And on to beets……

How do you steam your beets? How do you soften these dense bulbs that lie deep in the earth? We love them because they gift us with produce a source fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Stovetop Method: Peel, cut in wedges (or slice in 1/2 inch rounds) and cook on the stovetop in a steamer. Simple. Depending on the size of the beet and the size of your cuts, this could take about 20 minutes.

Oven Method: To cook whole beets, preheat oven to 375 F. Scrub, top-n-tail (cut off both ends) and place in a baking dish. Add a cup of water to the baking dish and place the beets so they are sitting in the water. Yes, that’s right! This method takes about 30 – 40 minutes, but the beet retains a very sweet flavor and smooth consistency.

Dare I say it…. I use my Instapot. Yes, I broke down and bought one and now it is my favorite kitchen appliance. Scrub (I like to leave the skin on), top-n-tail, and place the whole beet in the Instapot, and in 15 minutes you have a perfectly cooked whole beet without having to preheat the oven or heat up the kitchen in the process. The consistency is just about perfect and the flavor is divine.

Want more Italian cooking? How about taking one of my virtual cooking classes? I focus on naturally vegetarian Italian dishes – either small group or private. For more detailed info on upcoming classes, click here!

strawberry salad

Strawberry, Beet, and Watermelon Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Everything summer (adapted from Seasons cookbook from Kendall-Jackson)
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course antipasto, Salad, Side Dish
Servings 4



  • 3 oz. strawberries, washed and corred
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 ½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt to taste


  • ½ medium seedless watermelon
  • 2 medium beets, steamed
  • ½ lb. strawberries, sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh mint leaves



  • In a blender, add the 3 oz. strawberries and blend to break up. Add red wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, and balsamic vinegar. Blend until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and whisk in the olive oil.


  • Steam or cook the beets until tender. See methods above in the text of the post. Choose your preferred method. Cool and cut into wedges.
  • Use a melon baller to prep the watermelon. Place in a large serving bowl and add the sliced strawberries, and beets. Dress salad with strawberry vinaigrette and garnish with torn mint leaves.

Your comments are always welcome!