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Watermelon is a perennial summer favorite.
Sweet, light, and refreshing, it’s the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day (especially after a challenging workout).
But while watermelon may be a staple of picnics and cook-outs, it’s much more versatile than most people realize.
It can be transformed into savory snacks (such as Watermelon, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Skewers) or desserts that satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth (such as Watermelon Sorbet).
It can be incorporated into light appetizers (such as Watermelon and Peach Salsa) or satiating, protein-packed meals (such as Shrimp, Tomato, and Watermelon Salad).
However you use it, watermelon adds color, texture, and freshness to a whole host of dishes.
So the next time you promise to bring the watermelon to a friend’s grill sesh, plan to “wow” all the guests with a unique recipe like Watermelon Rind Soup, Watermelon Bread, or Watermelon Wine Slush.
You (and they) will never look at watermelon the same way again.
Summers can be so sweltering hot that even iced tea won’t help you cool down. That’s when it’s time for frozen drinks – or even better – these boozy popsicles.
Not only is there tequila, but a shot of Grand Marnier is in the mix to add the rich notes of brandy and touch of orange to complement the freshly squeezed lime juice.
Too much alcohol means the mixture won’t freeze, though, so don’t go overboard. The whole recipe has less than three shots, which means you won’t be left with a popsicle hangover even if you eat the entire batch.
2 cups fresh watermelon juice (about 1 1/2 lbs. watermelon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup silver tequila
2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
10 lime slicesGet the Recipe
Watermelon salad doesn’t just have to be for picnics. This one is easy to assemble and awesome enough to bring to a potluck, but it’s also great for everyday eating as part of a light lunch or afternoon snack.
And in the summer when it’s too hot to want to eat a hot plate of food, this salad makes a great side dish to a chilled entrée like tuna, shrimp, sea scallops, or chicken breast topped with fresh herbs.
5 cups cubed watermelon
1 cucumber, cut into 3/4” cubes
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta (optional)
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of ground clovesGet the Recipe
A Sicilian-style watermelon pudding can come together in a saucepan with just sugar, cornstarch, and a touch of vanilla extract. But what it’s too hot to stand over the stove, use fresh watermelon to make a nutritious no-cook pudding with chia seeds instead.
To give this watermelon chia pudding a savory note that’ll kick-start your morning, sprinkle on a touch of chili powder or crushed red pepper. For something sweeter, a pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey would be delicious as well.
1 cup watermelon juice
1/4 cup watermelon shards
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. granulated sugar (optional)
1 Tbsp. whipped toppingGet the Recipe
This is a fun snack that’s so light it’s practically calorie-free. To make watermelon gelatin that doesn’t actually contain gelatin, you’ll need agar powder. It’s a plant-based thickener made from seaweed, and luckily it contributes no flavor or odor.
It’s not exactly the same as gelatin, leading to a firmer texture, but that’s better for making bite-sized vegan Jello snacks.
1 cup watermelon juice (about 2 cups cubed watermelon)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. agar powder
1 tsp. vanilla extractGet the Recipe
Watermelon lemonade should be just as popular as other fruit blends like strawberry. It’s easy to make, and it’ll quench your thirst even better thanks to watermelon’s hydrating nature.
Beat the summer heat by blending the fruit and then stirring in the lemon juice and simple syrup. That’s a great drink as is, but it gets even better when you top it off with club soda to make it bubbly.
3 cups water
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 small seedless watermelon (about 4 lbs.)
4 cups seltzerGet the Recipe
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Watermelon is one of the best fruits for a summer cocktail because it’s so cool and refreshing. You can even cut a hole in a watermelon, fill it with vodka or your liquor of choice, and then patiently pour in the whole bottle until it’s all absorbed. But that could take a few hours or a whole day.
If you don’t have the patience, don’t worry about it because you can blend the same ingredients together for instant results. Or, as with this cocktail, muddle the watermelon at the bottom of a tall glass so there are still chunks of the fruit remaining for texture.
1 1/2 cups diced seedless watermelon, chilled
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. turbinado sugar (optional)
2 oz. gold or dark rum (not spiced)
Crushed iceGet the Recipe
You’ve had banana bread. You’ve had pumpkin bread. There’s even bread made out of vegetables like zucchini and carrots.
For a unique quick bread that’s just as easy to make, try this summer version with fresh watermelon. It even uses the seeds, which are strained out, cleaned, and then roasted to go on top. The watermelon seeds add a nice crunch, plus essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and copper.
1 ripe watermelon, with seeds
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup dried black currantsGet the Recipe
Watermelon contains so much juice that it’s easy to turn into a sorbet. You can even freeze it in an ice cube tray and blend them up for a quick one-ingredient frozen dessert. If you have an ice cream machine, though, you can make it into a smoother textured sorbet with even more concentrated flavor.
For a smart presentation, freeze your sorbet in a cylindrical shape, and mix in mini chocolate chips to look like seeds. You don’t need any fancy molds for this. Try using a snow cone paper cup, and you can peel it off before serving.
3 cups watermelon juice (2 1/4 lbs. cut seedless watermelon)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chipsGet the Recipe
If you love to cool off with a tall glass of iced tea, make this refreshing summer drink with just a few simple ingredients.
You don’t need to steep anything in hot water, which makes this the perfect iced tea for sweltering weather. So that the green tea powder dissolves and doesn’t clump up, mix it with water first.
Blend fresh watermelon, and then either layer the two in a glass as pictured, or stir together before sipping.
1 3/4 cups cubed watermelon, deseeded
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. matcha
Handful of iceGet the Recipe
Watermelon, fresh mint, and cheese make a quick summer salad. If you want to take it to the next level for an appetizer – or maybe dessert – take a half hour to soak the watermelon cubes in beer.
Other kinds of alcohol could work too, including white wine or rum, but an IPA will add a bite that goes perfectly with the salty Cotija cheese.
1 lb. watermelon, cut into 1” cubes
1 bottle (12 oz.) IPA
2 oz. Cotija cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mintGet the Recipe
There are endless ways to make a great salsa, and here’s one you probably haven’t tried.
Rather than the standard diced tomatoes, this recipe uses watermelon as the base. Of course, they’re also great together, so if you’re going to miss the tomatoes, dice one up to mix in too.
This watermelon salsa also highlights other fresh summer ingredients: white peaches, cucumber, and cilantro. If you want to make it spicy, add a chili pepper like jalapeno or Serrano to taste, and remember that it’ll get spicier the longer the salsa sits in the fridge.
4 cups small diced seedless watermelon
2 cups white peaches, pitted, peeled and diced
2 cups chopped cucumber
1 Tbsp. minced Serrano chile
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. peach white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to tasteGet the Recipe
These skewers are a refreshing snack whether you’re enjoying a lazy afternoon in the sun, or greeting guests at a backyard barbecue. And once you assemble them, they’ll keep in the fridge for a couple days, so it’s worth putting them together for a healthy snack.
20 small mozzarella balls (about 4 oz.), patted dry
20 chunks seedless watermelon
20 cucumber slices
20 thin slices prosciutto (about 5 oz.)
Minced fresh basil, for garnish
Balsamic glaze, to drizzleGet the Recipe
If a muffin doesn’t fill you up in the morning, don’t worry about finding a second breakfast. Crumble it up to layer as part of a yogurt parfait, and you’ll get more protein.
That’s also a good excuse to add some fresh fruit, especially something juicy like watermelon since it’ll counter the dryness of a fiber-filled bran muffin.
2 large bran muffins
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt
2 cups chopped seedless watermelon, drained
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pure honey
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
4 cups cubed watermelonGet the Recipe
Although gazpacho is usually made with tomatoes, it can be just as good with watermelon. And for those new to eating cold soups, it might be the better bet since watermelon is most often served chilled.
In this savory soup, it’s paired with cucumber, bell peppers, and several fresh herbs to make an ultra-fresh dish that requires zero cooking.
10 heaping cups cubed watermelon
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. saltGet the Recipe
This refreshing shrimp salad doesn’t need any mayo, just a quick balsamic vinaigrette. That makes it lighter on the palate and in your stomach.
Yet this savory watermelon salad doesn’t hold back on the flavors. And with a half-pound of shrimp per person, it’s a super filling lunch or dinner. Leftovers would be great to have for breakfast too.
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. pure honey
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups arugula (or baby spinach)
2 large yellow tomatoes, sliced 1/4” thick
4 lbs. seedless watermelon, sliced 1/4” thick, rind removed
1 red onion, thinly slicedGet the Recipe
If you love bubble tea, try this watermelon soup that also contains tapioca pearls. It’s a healthy dessert that only requires four ingredients, and it’s a cool way to cap off a summer party since the soup can be served up in the watermelon.
Once the fruit has been scooped out of the inside, the hollow watermelon rind can be used as a fun bowl for salad, soup, or sorbet.
1 small seedless watermelon (about 5 lbs.)
1/2 can (7 oz.) light coconut milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup small tapioca pearlsGet the Recipe
Sangria is a great summer drink, but the downside is that it takes a while to prep all the fruit, plus you need to get some rum, brandy, or another kind of liquor.
This watermelon cooler is way easier to make, and the result is equally refreshing. Just pick up a few ingredients like lemons and a bottle of white wine. Chop up the watermelon, blend it all together, and freeze the mixture for a few hours until it gets slushy.
4 cups watermelon cubes
Juice of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 bottle white wine, very coldGet the Recipe
Upgrade from ice water to this fruit slushie. The combo of watermelon and cucumber is refreshing and full of vitamins, but there are even cooler benefits on top of that.
Watermelon juice is thought to reduce muscle soreness, based on a study of athletes that was reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. So drink this up before a big workout, or make a watermelon smoothie with a scoop of whey protein powder.
1 small cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and chopped
6 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed (optional)
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar (or stevia to taste)
Pinch of salt
3–4 cups iceGet the Recipe
With a sharp knife, you can slice watermelon into rounds and hollow out the middle to fill with something sweet or something savory. Watermelon cups would be great with a berry salad, or use them to serve a chilled soup as an appetizer.
They’re also great for a crab salad. This simple recipe doesn’t take much work aside from cooking the crab (or opening a can) and mixing everything together. And if you’d rather not use mayonnaise, try using Greek yogurt instead.
8 watermelon cups
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1 tsp. minced fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
1 lb. cooked crabmeat, rinsedGet the Recipe
The green part of the rind has chlorophyll, an antioxidant that can actually speed up the healing of wounds. And the white area – although it seems less beneficial – contains more of the amino acid citruline than the pink part of the fruit.
1 Tbsp. chopped dried anchovy (or dried salted shrimp), pounded
1/4 lb. diced red onion (or shallot)
1 cup diced watermelon rind
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Thai chili powder to taste
2 Tbsp. lemon basil leavesGet the Recipe
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