By Hannah Powling
Nothing says summer like a sweet, juicy wedge of watermelon and word on the street (okay – current Twitter trends) is that it’s actually National Watermelon Day today. Who would’ve thought? So go on, grab your watermelons and get in on the fun!
Naturally, anything food related obviously calls for some funky and in this case – unusual recipes – so here’s some juicy watermelon treats to get you in the summer swing (even if it is raining)…
Watermelon Feta Salad
7 cups of cubed watermelon, chilled and well drained
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1. Gently toss melon with rice vinegar, feta cheese and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Note: This salad is best served right away. The vinegar starts to break down the watermelon if made too far in advance.
Coconut Lime Watermelon Slushie
4 cups frozen watermelon (~ 3/4 of 1 small seedless watermelon)
1 lime, juiced
1/3 cup (80 ml) light coconut milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) watermelon juice (plus more to ease blending)
Optional: 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as maple syrup or honey if not vegan)
Optional: Pinch sea salt
1. Halve 1 small, ripe, seedless watermelon and scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts (or cube with a knife) and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm – about 3-4 hours.
2. In the meantime, halve another small seedless watermelon and add the fruit (leaving the rind behind) to a blender. Blend on high, adding a touch of water if needed (I didn’t), until completely smooth and pureed.
3. OPTIONAL: Drape a large, thin dish towel over a mixing bowl and pour over juice. Then gather corners, lift up and squeeze the juice out leaving the pulp behind – there shouldn’t be much, but this makes the juice extra smooth. Transfer to a mason jar, cover, and refrigerate – should keep for 3-4 days, or more.
4. Once watermelon is frozen, add ~ 4 cups frozen watermelon (I found this was about three-quarters of one small watermelon), coconut milk, lime juice, and watermelon juice to a blender and blend on low until creamy and smooth. You will need to scrape down the sides and blend on low to encourage it along. If it has trouble blending, add a bit more watermelon juice, but not too much or it will become too thin.
5. Once the slushie is blended and smooth, taste and adjust flavor as needed. Add more coconut milk for creaminess, lime for brightness, a pinch of salt to enhance sweetness, or 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice to sweeten. Blend and sample again – repeat as needed.
6. Serve in empty watermelon rinds or chilled serving glasses and garnish with a lime wedge.
7. This recipe serves 2 generously. Best when fresh!
Spicy Grilled Watermelon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup juice from about 4 limes
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 medium watermelon, cut into 1-inch thick wedges
1/2 cup mint chiffonade
1. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt.
2. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush each side of watermelon slices with spicy lime and honey mixture. Place watermelon and grill and cook until grill marks developed, about 2 minutes per side.
3. Remove watermelon from grill, sprinkle with mint, and serve.
19 oz cubed seedless watermelon (about 3 1/2 cups)
5 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup canned coconut milk, well shaken
13 oz kiwi (about 6 medium)
1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips
1. Add watermelon, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar and lemon juice to a blender and blend until well pureed. Skim off foam then carefully pour into 10 popsicles moulds, filling each about 2/3 full (try not to splash on sides, I found it worked best to let it run down the outside edge then just wipe off that part later with a damp paper towel or q-tip). Sprinkle the chocolate chips over tops then using a popsicles stick gently push down to immerse chips (push towards sides so you can see them once they freeze). Wipe sides clean as needed. Cover with the lid and insert popsicles sticks. Freeze 3 1/2 hours.
2. During last 30 minutes of popsicles freezing, whisk together coconut milk with 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar until sugar has dissolved, chill 30 minutes (you want it to be a nice pourable consistency after chilling, not too thick. If you find that it is stir in 1 – 2 Tbsp cold water to thin. I recommend chilling it because you just don’t want it warm or it will melt the watermelon layer when pouring in).
3. Remove popsicles from freezer, remove lid and carefully pour a scant tablespoon coconut milk into an even layer over watermelon layer (again, it works best to pour it down the outside edge then wipe clean). Clean sides as necessary. Return to freezer, uncovered, and chill 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cut tops from kiwi and use a spoon to scoop flesh from kiwi while leaving skins. Transfer kiwi to blender along with 2 Tbsp granulated sugar. Pulse until well pureed. Force mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl using a rubber spatula to remove seeds (at this point I mixed int just a tiny bit of blue gel coloring because mine weren’t the best shade of green, so that’s optional). Chill kiwi mixture 30 minutes.
Remove popsicles from freezer and carefully pour about 1 Tbsp kiwi mixture over coconut layer. Return to freezer and chill until popsicles are solid about 2 – 3 hours.
4. To remove popsicles from molds, turn tray to the side and run plastic moulds under warm water several seconds (don’t let the water touch the kiwi portion at the top) then slowly pull from moulds.