Watermelon in Season

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Sweltering describes many summer days in our area, so what could be better that a cool, refreshing salad, beverage, or other treat featuring watermelon. Recipes courtesy the Watermelon Promotion Board.

Watermelon Waldorf Salad
Yield: 4 servings
2 cups cubed watermelon (about ½” cubes)
½ cup sliced celery
½ cup seedless red grape halves
Dash of salt
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

Stir together watermelon, celery, and grapes in bowl. Just before serving, stir salt into yogurt for dressing. Add water as desired to decrease dressing thickness. Pour mixture over fruit and stir until coated. Sprinkle with almonds.

Watermelon Pomegranate Tossed Salad
Yield: 4 servings, dressing about 3/4 cup
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (Pomegranate vinegar is the best)
1 1/2 tbsp. orange zest
1 tbsp. agave syrup
1 small shallot, minced
1/8 tsp. stone-ground mustard
1 /2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
8 cups baby spinach (6-oz. bag)
3/4 cup diced red onion
2 cups diced watermelon (placed on paper towel to drain excess fluid)
1 clamshell (6 ounces)
Fresh raspberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Place juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 tbsp. and liquid is a thick syrup. Set aside. When cool, add remaining dressing ingredients, from vinegar to salt and pepper. Whip. Set aside so flavors can blend.

Place spinach in a large serving bowl. Top with onion, watermelon, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds. Divide onto 4 salad plates and drizzle with dressing.

Watermelon Lavender Granita
Yield: 4 servings
4 1/2 cups pureed watermelon pulp (divided)
1/2 cup sugar (or part Splenda)
1 tbsp. lavender flowers/leaves (culinary type)
1/8 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. vodka* (watermelon or citrus flavor)
*the alcohol helps prevent sorbet from setting up too firmly
In a small saucepan over medium high heat, add 1/2 cup watermelon pulp, sugar, lavender, and salt. Bring to a slow boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes.
Place strainer over a large bowl and pour syrup mixture through, straining out lavender flowers. Add remaining 4 cups watermelon, lemon juice, and vodka. Stir until blended.
Pour into container, cover, place in freezer. When semi-solid, mash up sorbet with fork and freeze again. When frozen, place sorbet mixture into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Scoop desired amount into a small bowl or parfait dish, garnish with a small wedge of watermelon and a lavender sprig.

Lemony Quinoa & Watermelon Salad
Yield: 4 servings
4 tbsp. agave syrup
5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
salt to taste
2 cups cooked black quinoa
2 3/4 cup watermelon cubes
1 kiwi, peeled and diced
4 tbsp. shredded coconut
1/2 cup candied pecans*

In a medium bowl, blend thoroughly the agave syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, and salt. Add the quinoa and toss until fully coated. Set aside to allow flavors to blend.
Add the watermelon, kiwi, coconut, and nuts. Toss.

Divide into four bowls and garnish each with a mint sprig.

*Purchase already candied nuts, such as Sahale Snacks Valdosta Pecans, or use the following recipe:
Candied Pecans:

Toss 1/2 cup pecans with 1 tsp. olive oil. Mix a dash each of ground cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cayenne, cumin, and salt with 1 tbsp. powdered sugar. Toss nuts with this spice blend and roast in a 350° oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Cool.        


Watermelon & Spicy Mayan Dark Chocolate Fondue
Yield: 4 servings
4 cups watermelon cut into 1-in. cubes
1 /2 cup fat-free half & half + extra reserve
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 /2 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 /2 tsp. coriander
8 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa powder)

Wrap watermelon cubes in paper towels to soak up excess fluid. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring half & half and spices to almost a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Let chocolate melt, then continue to stir until thoroughly blended and creamy. Adjust flavors.

Transfer the fondue to a fondue pot and heat according to directions. If fondue becomes too thick, stir in extra reserve half & half, 1 tablespoon at a time, to desired consistency.

Place watermelon cubes on a platter with fondue forks or skewers.


Watermelon Gazpacho
Yield: 6 cups
5 cups seedless watermelon, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. jalapeno, chopped
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 cup finely seedless Watermelon. chopped, reserve for garnish
1/2-1 cup avocado finely diced, reserve for garnish (optional)

Puree the first 10 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Stir in the finely chopped watermelon and avocado at serving time.

Watermelon Citrus Cooler
Yield: 6 servings
3 cups watermelon juice
2 cups grapefruit juice
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar

In pitcher, blend watermelon juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly.


Watermelon BBQ Sauce
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup watermelon juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Stir all ingredients together. Pour enough sauce over vegetables, chicken, pork, fish, or shellfish to marinate. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Baste with additional sauce while grilling or broiling. Sauce not used for marinating or basting can be spooned over cooked vegetables and meats.

Watermelon Mediterranean Salad
Yield: 6 servings
6 cups torn mixed salad greens
3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
dash cracked black pepper

In large bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad mixture with oil.  Garnish with pepper.

Watermelon Rind Coleslaw
Yield: 4 1-cup servings
1/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1 1/2 tbsp. stone-ground mustard
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups grated watermelon rind, fruit and green peel removed
1 cup grated carrot
1 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

In a small bowl, blend dressing thoroughly. Set aside. Place watermelon rind on several layers of paper towels to soak up excess fluid. In a medium-sized bowl, place dressing, rind, carrot, and pineapple and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve.

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