Maggie Jimenez's Watermelon Salad is a Great Vacation Dish

Culinary personality Maggie Jimenez has oft been labeled the "Latin Rachel Ray," not because her voice can hit dog-whistle range but because she shares a practical approach to cooking. As host of TeleFutura's !Que Sabor!, the former fashion model turned self-taught cook creates Latin-inspired multi-course meals with the help of guest chefs. 

But why would the smokin' hot host with a soft spot for chilis want to share a cool, fruity summer salad recipe with New Times' readers? "Being that we are in South Florida, summer for us is year round!" she exclaimed.And heck, with school vacation starting this Saturday, it's a perfect way to keep the kids entertained.

"This recipe has been in my family for many generations but, over the years, it's been tweaked to reflect local ingredients. For example, in Mexico my mother makes this salad with queso fresco, but here in America I use feta cheese. [The salad] reminds me of my family, home. I make it quite often, usually on Sundays. My girls, Nicole (6) and Paola (10), specially love it when they get out of the pool."

She suggests that the star ingredient chosen is heavy: "Usually this means that it's fresh and juicy. You may also want to head out to your local farmer's market where watermelons tend to be ripe." The super-ambitious can also serve this salad in a carved watermelon.

Catch Maggie Jimenez on TeleFutura's !Que Sabor!, Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m., or visit

Watermelon Salad
Serves 10

1 medium watermelon, seedless, cut in cubes
3 medium cucumbers, seedless and peeled, diced  
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
2 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cup low-fat feta cheese crumbles
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large glass bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, cucumbers, basil and mint leaves.  In a separate bowl, combine the lime, kosher salt and vinegar. Then slowly add the olive oil and mix well. Pour mixture over ingredients in the glass bowl. Toss and serve immediately.