A Taste of Summer
With just a little preparation, this recipe is perfect for summer potlucks, cookouts or picnics!
Written by Maggie O-Meara, Dietetic Intern, & Dani Rodriguez-Brindicci, Director of Clinical Nutrition
During the warm summer months, fruits and vegetables are at their peak ripeness and optimal flavor. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants good for your health. Salads are a great way to combine a variety of fresh produce topped with simple, tangy dressings. With just a little preparation, this recipe is perfect for summer potlucks, cookouts or picnics!
Watermelon, in particular, is a fruit lower in calories but full of natural sweetness. It is rich in vitamins A and C to support immune function, as well as smaller amounts of potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and other health-protective antioxidants. One cup of watermelon contains 5 ounces of water—meaning this fruit will also keep you hydrated on hot summer days!
During watermelon season, picking the best-tasting melon can be a guessing game. The key is to look for the “yellow spot” on the outside rind. Watermelons tend to develop a white splotch where they rest on the ground. When this splotch turns into a creamy yellow, it means the watermelon is perfect and most likely at its peak sweetness.
The easiest way to tell whether a watermelon is ripe is simple: Pick it up! It should feel weighty in your hands, no matter its size. You can also try tapping the underbelly of the watermelon with your thumb and listening for a deep, hollow sound. If you hear this, it is brimming with juice and ready for eating.
If you have never tried watermelon in a savory setting, these recipes for Watermelon, Tomato & Mint Salad and Watermelon Cucumber Popsicles will convert your taste buds. Juicy and fresh melon goes so well with creamy, tangy and crisp ingredients. Once you try these sweet and savory recipes, you will put them on repeat for the rest of watermelon season.
The light and refreshing Watermelon, Tomato & Mint Salad is a healthy and colorful side dish with a flavor combination that will amaze your friends and family. The pop of mint makes the salad extra special. Serve it alongside any summer meal, such as portobello mushroom burgers, BBQ jackfruit sandwiches, chicken skewers or corn on the cob.
The Watermelon Cucumber Popsicles are made with three good-for-you ingredients—a delectable, cold treat for kids and adults on hot summer days. They can be prepared in minutes, have no added sugar and sneak in nutrients! Don’t have popsicle molds or want to enjoy your frozen treat right away? Make a cucumber watermelon slushy instead! Just blend ingredients with a few handfuls of ice and serve with a spoon.
Watermelon, Tomato & Mint Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 20 minutes | Serves: 6
- 1 baby watermelon, seedless (about 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon pure honey
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 cup torn fresh mint leaves
- drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional)
- Chill watermelon in refrigerator for best taste. Use a sharp knife to remove the rind from watermelon and cut into bite-sized cubes, about 1/2-inch pieces.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt and black pepper. If you are saving this dish to serve at a later time, pack dressing and salad separately for maximum freshness.
- On a large plate or platter, arrange the baby arugula, watermelon, grape tomato halves and red onion slices. Top with cheese, mint and dressing. If using balsamic glaze, drizzle right before serving.
Per serving: calories: 165kcal, total fat: 6.8g, saturated fat: 2.3g, cholesterol: 6.7mg, sodium: 135mg, carbohydrates: 21.4g, fiber: 1.7g, sugar: 16g, protein: 4.2g, potassium: 50mg
Watermelon Cucumber Popsicles
Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 5 minutes | Serves: 6
- 3 cups watermelon, seedless
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1–2 tablespoons lime juice
- Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until very smooth and no bits of cucumber remain. Skim off any foam that rises to the top of blender.
- Pour blended juice into a popsicle mold and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Run popsicle mold under hot water for a few seconds to make the popsicles easier to remove.
Per serving: calories: 26kcal, carbohydrates: 6g, protein: 1g, fat: 1g, saturated fat: 1g, sodium: 1mg, potassium: 115mg, fiber: 1g, sugar: 5g, calcium: 8mg, iron: 1mg
If you have questions or are interested in learning more techniques to help build a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, contact one of our registered dietitian nutritionists at the Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy Office or our Diabetes Self-Management Program, located in the Torrance Memorial Specialty Center, 2841 Lomita Blvd., Suite 335, Torrance. Call 310-891-6707.