Watermelon is the official summer treat in my family. I love bright pink, juicy, seedless chunks and I incorporate the fruit/vegetable (it’s both) into meals from breakfast smoothies to dinner entrees to desserts. We challenged our taste panelists to come up with their favorite watermelon recipes and they didn’t disappoint. Who could turn down watermelon fries, spicy watermelon salsa, a fruity summer salad or a refreshing watermelon ice?
Julie Overton-Newland sliced watermelon into french fry-shaped sticks and served them alongside a cool coconut lime dip. It’s a showstopper for company, for sure. It’s also a great way to begin a poolside party. She used a recipe from Pinterest that looked as good as it tasted.
1 cup coconut yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon coconut sugar, or to taste
1 watermelon, rind removed and flesh cut (with a serrated knife) into long frylike shapes
2 teaspoons Tajin classic seasoning
In a bowl, combine yogurt, lime juice and zest and coconut sugar. Set aside.
On a plate, scatter watermelon fries and sprinkle Tajin classic seasoning on top.
Serve with dip.
Source: Abbey Sharp, abbeyskitchen.com
Summer Watermelon Salad
Blogger Laura Jolly recently tweeted about her watermelon recipe being a summer favorite. She prepares a watermelon salad with lime dressing as a lunch or light dinner. “As the summer months heat up I like to keep lunches simple and cool,” she said on her blog. “This watermelon salad with lime dressing is easy to throw together. You can make an individual serving or whip up a large batch if you’re having guests. Just chop, squeeze and stir.”
1 watermelon, rind removed, diced
1 cup blueberries
1 cup cherries, seeded
½ lime, juiced
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ cup feta crumbles
In a large mixing bowl, stir together fruit, lime juice and sugar until fully combined.
Transfer fruit to a serving dish and top with feta crumbles.
Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Spicy Watermelon Salsa
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Elaine Goller took the challenge to a higher, hotter level, preparing a spicy watermelon salsa salad with herbs, hot peppers, raw ginger and garlic. “It was served in bowls accompanying barbecued meats, corn and baked beans,” she said. “Later, we turned the leftovers into chunky salsa and scooped it up with crunchy corn chips.” For salad, she recommends cutting the watermelon into bigger pieces than you would for preparing salsa.
When she makes the dish for guests, she substitutes parsley for the cilantro for those who don’t like the flavor of cilantro.
“For a little extra taste and texture, I’ve also added things like thinly sliced celery, radish, diced Jerusalem artichoke, jicama or tomatillo,” said Goller.
1 thumb fresh ginger root, peeled
1 or 2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon and/or lime juice (or use both)
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
Splash or two of balsamic vinegar
7 or 8 cups diced watermelon
1 ½ cups diced English cucumber
1 cup red or sweet onion, chopped
1 fresh sweet pepper, any color, diced
2 spring onions, sliced thin, tops and bottoms
1 fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded, finely minced
In a food processor, puree the ginger root and garlic.
Add to the processor the fresh herbs, lemon zest, honey or sugar, lemon or lime juice and vinegars and pulse until well blended.
Add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl. Pour the food processor mixture over the fruit and veggies in the bowl and mix gently. Refrigerate for several hours, stirring occasionally.
Strain off some of the juice and add salt if desired. Serve as is or over arugula or mixed greens.
Source: Elaine Goller
What better way to top off a summer day than with a refreshing watermelon ice? Mary Jane Park prepared this one with just a few ingredients. Park pointed out that slightly frozen pulp “can become a fizzy beverage with the addition of seltzer, sparkling water or ginger ale. For a watermelon cocktail, pour in a shot of vodka, gin, tequila or light rum.”
3 cups seedless watermelon chunks
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Fresh lime or fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Pulse the watermelon chunks in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add lime juice and zest.
Empty mixture into a shallow container, cover and freeze, stirring after 2 hours.
Freeze a total of 6 hours before scooping mixture into cups, mugs or bowls for serving.
Picking a “winner” of the watermelon challenge was problematic. The watermelon fries were a cute and very photo-worthy effort. But, in the end, the spicy watermelon salad/salsa has to be the top pick because of the level of difficulty and the versatility of the dish. Goller even suggested saving the strained juice from the mixture to add to adult beverages. That kind of ingenuity deserves a shout-out.