Summer is in the air and that means all of my favorite bright, colorful fruits are in season. If there’s one thing that brings back childhood memories of summer vacation, swimsuits and fun in the sun, it’s biting into a big, juicy piece watermelon.
I love watermelon this time of year; want it, need it, gotta have it. While nothing beats a big bowl of plain ole watermelon, there are actually a variety of recipes and flavor combinations that highlight the fruit in different and surprisingly delicious ways. We are going to look the three fun ways to level-up your watermelon game this summer.
Quick and easy, this winning fruity combo is a fun snack for the kids and eye candy for the grub table at bbq’s and summer dinner parties. It’s so simple to throw together, it’s really just a few simple prep work steps and you’re ready to dig in (but we’ll still let it slide as a lazy recipe).
Simply turn your watermelon on its side lengthways and cut into flat, even slices. Next, choose your fruity toppings of choice (I like strawberries and blueberries, but the sky is really the limit here) and chop away into bite-sized slices. If you’re worried about blueberries rolling off and away into those dark, creepy crevices of your kitchen, you can slice them in half to help them stay in place. (You know. If you have that kind of patience. )
All you have to do from there is sprinkle your toppings over your base, slice and dice it all together like a pizza pie and you’re ready to go. I find that a nice dusting of feta cheese really adds that extra tasty gusto to tie it all together, but if you’re serving this as a side dish at a get-together you may want to just keep a little bowl of feta on the side and let guests add it as they want it (or it may get soggy sitting on the watermelon for an extended period of time).
Some people like mint with their watermelon, but I’m more of a basil girl. There’s just something delightfully crisp and satisfying about freshly harvested basil in a recipe that makes me want to do a happy dance after every bite. (And honestly, if your food isn’t making you want to dance, what quality of life are you really living?) This recipe is sweet, tangy and simple to throw together. Top it off with a smooth balsamic vinaigrette dressing and you’ll be on your way to choreographing your own dinner-time happy dance.
- 1 Medium seedless watermelon, cubed
- 3 Mini cucumbers, sliced
- 1 Small red onion, sliced and quartered
- 1 Lime
- 1/4 Cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 Cup low-fat feta cheese
Combine watermelon, cucumbers, onion and basil into a mixing bowl. Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Toss everything together in the bowl and set aside to serve. Add the feta cheese right before serving, once again to avoid it from soaking up liquid from the fruit and getting mushy before meal time or if you’re meal prepping for the week in advance. (I’m a big fan of fresh, crunchy onions, but if they’re a little strong for your taste, you can tone them down a bit by allowing them to marinate for 10-15 minutes in either an extra portion of the vinaigrette dressing or the lime juice from the other half of your lime. Whatever your preferred taste may be, you do you, boo.)
- 1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Large garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/2 Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 Sea salt
- 2 Tbs Raw honey
Pour honey and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and whisk together thoroughly. Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue whisking until well combined. Drizzle over the salad and enjoy! Store any remaining dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator and shake well before each use.
Last, but not least, is easily one of my favorite uses for watermelon in the summertime: Watermelon Salsa. It’s sweet, it’s spicy and packs the perfect punch to make you the life of the party at your next neighborhood cookout! (Okay, if nothing else, to at least make your side dish the life of the party at the snack table. For best in-person life-of-the-party results, combine salsa with a winning personality, gold chain and handfuls of cash to “make it rain” every time you enter a room.)
- 1 Medium seedless watermelon, cut into small cubes
- Two large tomatoes, diced
- 2 Large Limes
- 1 Small red onion,
- 1/2 Cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 Tsp Sea salt
- 1-2 Jalapenos, deseeded and minced
Grate your limes to harvest 1 1/2 tsp of lime zest. Pour the zest into a small bowl, along with the juice from both limes; whisk together and set aside. In a large bowl, combine watermelon, tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and cilantro. Pour the lime juice in and mix everything together. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and sprinkle your sea salt over the salsa right before serving.
And there you have it! Your three-recipe watermelon trifecta for acing this summer and wowing your friends and family in all kinds of wonderful, watermelon-y ways!
All writing and images copyright © 2018 Rachel Elise Weems Woods