Grilled Watermelon Salad On Spinach Lettuce, with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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watermelon
Serves 8

½ watermelon, cut into 3-inch wide by 1-inch thick squares or rectangles (about 10 pieces total)
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 – 3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 – 8 cups baby spinach lettuce
½ cup halved grape tomatoes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
Crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese, optional
Candied nuts, optional

For the watermelon: Heat a nonstick grill pan or grill over medium-high heat. Brush oil over watermelon slices to thinly coat and place on hot grill pan. Grill each side about 2 minutes until grill marks appear; transfer to a plate and season with salt.

For the dressing: Pour the vinegar and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup consistency, about 7 minutes. Set aside. Whisk in olive oil in a steady stream until dressing is emulsified. Add salt and stir.

Scatter spinach on a large platter. Top with tomatoes, red onions, cheese, and candied nuts, if using. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad. Top with watermelon and a bit more dressing. Serve immediately.

Alternative dressing:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Whisk together dressing ingredients until combined.

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