Watermelon and Feta Salad with Fresh Mint

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

6 cups (1-inch) diced seedless watermelon (approximately a 3 pound watermelon)

3 small Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and diced medium (1¾ cups)

2 teaspoons roughly chopped lemon zest (zested on a microplane and chopped)

1 pint (25-30) cherry tomatoes, halved (preferably assorted colors)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

¾ cups crumbled sheep’s milk feta cheese

Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Flaky sea salt, to taste (preferably Maldon or Jacobsen sea salt)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Place watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, basil and mint in a large mixing bowl. Very gently fold to combine (you don’t want the tomatoes to leach their juice) with a large spoon.

 

Arrange on plates. Sprinkle feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over each plate. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Ginger Pickled Watermelon Rind

Don’t leave behind that watermelon rind!

Watermelons are a low water footprint fruit, using around 50 gallons of water to grow per pound. But a lot of that weight is in the watermelon rind. So, here’s a drought friendly, delicious recipe that will use the rind and extend your summer by months!

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Pre-Pickling!

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Pickled Watermelon Rind

Yield: 10 cups

 

1 8-pound watermelon

1½ cups distilled white vinegar

4½ cups water

¾ cup granulated sugar

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds (1/2 cup)

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

½ Serrano pepper

3 whole cloves

5 green cardamom pods, crushed

½ vanilla bean, sliced open and seeds scraped with back of a knife

1 tablespoon kosher salt

10 whole black peppercorns

 

Cut watermelon in half and scoop out watermelon (yum!) leaving approximately ¼ to ½-inch of flesh on the rind.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the green outer layer of the watermelon.

Cut watermelon rind into 1-inch pieces. You should have approximately 10 cups.

Place all ingredients (except diced watermelon rind) in a large pot and heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has melted.

Add watermelon rind, stir and remove from heat.

Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Once cooled to room temperature, transfer to a bowl and place a plate or an inverted saucepan lid over watermelon to submerge the pieces in the liquid.

For maximum flavor, refrigerate for 24 hours before eating.

Watermelon Ginger Juice

There are still delicious ripe watermelons on offer, so let’s juice them up with some mint and ginger. Mmmmm. A perfect end of summer refreshing drink.

 

Watermelon Ginger Juice

Watermelon Ginger Juice

Yield: 2 cups

 

2 ½ cups watermelon flesh

20 mint leaves (stems on)

½-inch by ½-inch knob of fresh ginger

2 drops vanilla extract

 

Place mint leaves followed by the ginger and watermelon in a juicer and process. Stir in the two drops of vanilla extract. Drink up!

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pops

After using 1 cup of watermelon for the ice pops, grab a spoon and eat watermelon until you consume it all. Yup. This pretty much sums up my summer so far!

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pop

Mint Ginger Watermelon Ice Pop

Yield: 6 ice pops

 

1 cup watermelon, deseeded

1 ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

8 mint leaves, finely chopped

¾ cup water

6 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute.

Pour into ice pop molds and freeze.

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho

I love this recipe (from the Summer chapter in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh) because it utilizes the best of summer: tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, bell peppers, mint and cilantro. Not only that, but with a little jalapeno in the mix, there’s a kick of heat. But it’s nicely balanced with the sweetness of the watermelon. Plus you can make it all in a blender – can’t beat that! Happy summer!

 

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho

 

Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

 

2 cups chopped watermelon, seeds removed, rind discarded

3 small cucumbers (Persian or Japanese) peeled, seeded, chopped roughly (1½ cups)

1 small yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped roughly(1 cup)

1 medium tomato, cored and quartered

½ small jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and chopped roughly (1 tablespoon, or more to taste)

15 medium-sized fresh mint leaves, chopped roughly

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish

½ small red onion, peeled and chopped roughly (⅓ cup)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

 

Add all the above ingredients to a blender or food processor (It’s gonna be full—work in two batches if necessary).

Beginning with the slowest speed, blend or pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. I find that it’s perfect after blending for approximately 30 seconds. Enjoy your gazpacho with more texture? Blend less.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and refrigerate until chilled. Serve topped with a cilantro leaf.