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Feeling a bit parched? Here, let us pass you a hydrating recipe (or 34). At 92 percent water (no wonder its name), watermelon is nature’s thirst quencher. This isn’t a one-trick fruit, though. Chc vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene, and betaine, watermelon has been shown to reduce blood pressure, ease inflammation, and soothe sore muscles.
Ready to get your watermelon on? These 34 recipes will keep you hydrated while you sip, slurp, and bite into the watery fruit’s benefits.
2. Chilly Watermelon Soup
This creamy soup is sweet heaven to the taste buds (without any added sugar, mind you), and a godsend to the digestive system thanks to a base of chilled, protein-rich Greek yogurt thick with probiotics—live bacteria that rev up digestion ((Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial to health. Parvez, S., Malik, KA., Ah Kang, S., et al. Journal of Applied Microbiology 2006 Jun;100(6):1171-85.)).
3. Gluten-Free Watermelon Rind Soup
Let’s just say your skin will love you after slurping up spoonfuls of this super simple soup. Hearty chunks of watermelon rind contribute citrulline, a key component in creating amino acids that perk up the collagen in your skin. Meanwhile, crisp slices of carrot bring vitamin A and antioxidants, which protect the skin from sun damage, to the table (or, er, bowl).
4. Stewed Watermelon Curry
When the nights cool down, heat them back up with this spicy, sweet, and seriously refreshing soup. Juicy morsels of sweet watermelon and diced tomatoes (both of which benefit the heart, courtesy of lycopene) perfectly complement the savory spices of cumin, chili pepper, and turmeric, which eases inflammation ((Lycopene in tomatoes: chemical and physical properties affected by food processing. Shi J., Le Maguer M. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology, 2000;20(4):293-334.)). The whole dish gets a pop of unique flavor thanks to hing, a hard spice made from sap and bursting with taste reminiscent of leeks.
5. Watermelon and Basil Soup
Sit back, kick your sand-covered feet up, and chill out with a big bowl of this soup. The kick of red onion holds its own under waves of sweet watermelon and refreshing cucumber. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil.
6. Watermelon Gazpacho
Chop, blend, freeze, eat! Could you ask for anything more deliciously stress-free? This gazpacho not only replaces tomato juice with watermelon, but it also adds red bell peppers to the mix for a burst of vibrant color and mood-soothing nutrients such as vitamin B6 and magnesium—a combination that’s been shown to ease anxiety ((Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. Lakhan, S.E. and Vieira, K. Nutrition Journal, 2010, 9:42)).
7. Watermelon Soup with Cucumber and Cilantro
First things first: Keep it chunky! The bite of cucumbers and watermelon will keep you extra-hydrated; cucumbers are actually 96 percent water! Their skin is also packed with potassium, which can help keep your heart kicking and blood pressure in check during active days under the sun ((Potasium and Health. Weaver C.M. Advanced in Nutrition, 2013 May 1;4(3):368S-77S.)).
Photo: Turntable Kitchen
8. Grilled Watermelon Salad and Pickled Radishes
You’ve never quite tasted watermelon until you’ve tasted watermelon kissed with char-grill marks. This recipe starts with brushing a slab of watermelon with basil-infused olive oil and throwing it on the grill (or grill pan). Once it’s done to perfection, just chop and toss it on a bed of iron-rich mixed greens. Finish with tart, crunchy pickled radish and pumpkin seeds. If you’re into it, add in some pickled blueberries for a pop of color and immune-boosting zinc!
9. Curried Crab and Watermelon Salad with Arugula
Cutting into this salad could very well be the best thing you do all day. Lumps of curried crab sit atop juicy slices of watermelon, while arugula serves as a bitter complement to the fruit's sweetness.
10. Cucumber Watermelon Summer Salad
Crisp cucumbers, refreshing watermelon, and crunchy peppers tossed in a tequila spiked dressing—what a summertime delight! This salad also features vitamin-E-rich avocado for an antioxidant punch.
11. Chicken and Mango Salad with Watermelon
There’s a small side salad, and then there’s “Oh man, this is like an entire meal” salad—and this recipe falls into the latter category. Chili and hazelnut-encrusted chicken are layered alongside refreshing chunks of watermelon and mango atop a bed of calcium-rich baby spinach, then finished with a drizzle of lemon dressing—yeah, it’s more than a mouthful. Extra bonus: When you’re biting into that mango, you’re chowing down on bone-strengthening vitamins ((Mangifera Indica (Mango). Shah, K.A., Patel, M.B., Parmar, P.K., et al. Pharmacogn Review, 2010 Jan-Jun; 4(7):42-48)).
Photo: i am a food blog
12. Watermelon Burrata Salad
“What the heck is Burrata?,” you ask? It’s one of the best cheeses to pair with watermelon, is what it is. This Italian cheese is basically a mozzarella casing filled with scraps of mozzarella and topped off with fresh cream before closing, making it super creamy and quite mild. A little of the cheese goes a long way, but when it comes to the sweet watermelon and tart blueberries, pile them on! Those little berries will give your health a big boost thanks to their high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin ((Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. Cassidy, A., O'Reilly, ÉJ., Kay, C., et al. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011 Feb;93(2):338-47.)).
13. Quinoa Salad with Watermelon, Feta, and Basil
While this salad can be prepared in a flash, you’ll want to plan ahead: The longer the nutty quinoa and salty feta soak in the sweet watermelon juices, the better. Plus, you’ll want to make sure it’s chilled to perfection—because that’s how a salad dripping with muscle-replenishing lysine, an amino acid found in quinoa, should be devoured on a hot and hectic summer day.
14. Roasted Beet and Watermelon Salad
Remember: Waste not, want not. And in this salad, nothing goes to waste. Once the beets are roasted, they’re tossed alongside watermelon and the beets’ tops and stems and drizzled with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. The best part? Beets are brimming with folate, a B9 vitamin that helps keep cognitive function and memory sharp ((Accumulation and Distribution of Free Folic Acid Content in Red Beet (Beta vulgaris L.). Wang M., Goldman I.L. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 1997;50(1):1-8.)).
15. Shrimp and Watermelon Summer Salad
This salad is kissed with a lime-garlic-honey dressing and is perfect for the summer season. Protein-rich shrimp complement a fruit salad made from antioxidant-rich lychees, oranges, and watermelon ((Composition of flavonoids and phenolic acids in lychee (Litchi Chinensis Sonn.) Flower extracts and their antioxidant capacities estimated with human LDL, erythrocyte, and blood models. Chen Y.C., Lin J.T., Liu S.C., C, et al. Journal of Food Science, 2011 Jun-Jul;76(5):C724-8.)).
16. Tomato and Watermelon Salad
Some days you just need to lighten up and brighten up! Red, yellow, and green heirloom tomatoes bring an array of colors and antioxidants to this refreshing salad, not to mention bone-strengthening vitamin K. Finished with a splash of balsamic vinaigrette, a dash of mint, and a handful of pistachios, this salad will bring a smile to the face of anyone lucky enough to eat it.
Photo and Recipe by McKel Hill of Nutrition Stripped
17. Watermelon, Grapefruit, and Blackberry Salad
If you’re all about textures, then you’ll be all about this salad. Spongy watermelon, dense blackberries, and fiber-packed grapefruit—what more could you ask for? Except maybe... a little protein-packed crunch? Toss in some hemp seeds, walnuts, or almonds, and you’re good to go!
18. Watermelon, Carrot, Zucchini Salad
Move over, cucumber; there’s another refreshing, oblong vegetable on the scene (yes, we’re talking about zucchini). When sliced up and tossed into this salad bursting with carrots, green peppers, red cabbage, and watermelon, all of the ingredients work together to provide a whole heap of vitamins (and tastiness).
19. Kickin’ Watermelon Salad (Goat Cheese, Balsamic, and Cayenne)
Now this is a wedge salad! A heaping wedge of watermelon is sprinkled with tangy goat cheese, which perfectly complements the fruit’s sugary juices. The savory side of this salad is also brought out by a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper, which can speed up the metabolism and slow down snack cravings ((Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance. Reinbach, HC., Smeets, A., Martinussen, T., et al. Clinical Nutrition. Jun; 28(3):260-5)).
20. Watermelon and Ricotta Salad
Sweet, salty, peppery—goodness, your taste buds have no idea what they’re in for! This hearty salad features chunks of hydrating watermelon, antioxidant-rich olives, crisp red onions, and pillows of ricotta atop a mound of peppery arugula ((Antioxidant and other biological activities of phenols from olives and olive oil. Visioli F., Poli A., Gall C., Medicinal Research Reviews, 2002 Jan;22(1):65-75.)).
Photo: Damn Delicious
21. Watermelon Mango Pico de Gallo
You know those summer days when it’s so darn scorching that you can barely concentrate and truly believe your brain is about to overheat? Well, those are the days you should be dipping tortilla chips into this fruity pico. The copper in mango is known to stimulate the brain, while morsels of watermelon work to cool you down.
22. Southern Watermelon Benedict
There’s just something about beautifully plated food that makes people want to devour it! You can pull off this aesthetically pleasing and oh-so-refreshing treat in a snap. Start with homemade granola bars (It’ll help you avoid added sugar and preservatives), then stack immune-boosting kiwi and heart-healthy watermelon on top before finishing with a drizzle of yogurt ((Anti-oxidant effects of kiwi fruit in vitro and in vivo. Iwasawa H., Morita E., Yui S., Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2011;34(1):128-34.)).
23. Watermelon Coconut Lime Popsicles
Take a chill pill? How about grab a chill pop? They’re the perfect antidote to rising temps. The fresh lime juice (zest included) frozen into this popsicle packs flavonoids that lower blood pressure and cholesterol ((Lime-treated Maize Husks Lower Plasma LDL-cholesterol Levels in Normal and Hypercholesterolaemic Adult Men From Northern Mexico. Vidal-Quintanar R.L., Mendívil R.L., Peña M., C, et al. The British Journal of Nutrition, 1999 Apr;81(4):281-8.)). And the watermelon and coconut cream in this no-fuss treat can sweeten any mood.
24. Halloumi and Watermelon Bites
Who doesn’t like to get decadent every now and again? Thin slices of halloumi (a mixture of sheep- and goat- milk cheese) crisp up perfectly on the outside and melt wonderfully on the inside. They’re then layered atop thick slices of watermelon—and the contrast between the warm cheese and the cold watermelon is to die for!
Photo: Healthy. Happy. Life.
25. Watermelon Custard
So fruity and oh-so-creamy (thanks to a base of silken tofu, soy milk, and a dash of coconut cream), this versatile custard can be enjoyed frozen, nestled into a pie crust, or tucked between layers of granola and topped with sunflower seeds (which just so happen to be packed with magnesium, a known stress-reliever ((Why All Migraine Patients Should be Treated with Magnesium. Mauskop A., Varughese J. Journal of neural transmission. 2012 May;119(5):575-9.)).
26. Watermelon, Pineapple, and Blueberry Popsicles
When watermelon and pineapple get together, deliciousness is sure to ensue. These fruity ice pops are the perfect blend of coconut water, superfood pineapple, and watermelon, with whole blueberries added in for a nice tangy bite. The best time to pop one in your mouth is after a strenuous summer activity—your muscles will thank you for it.
27. Watermelon, Strawberry, and Mint Salsa
Over on the sweeter end of the salsa spectrum sits this bowl of awesomeness, which is filled with finely chopped watermelon and antioxidant-rich strawberries drizzled with honey. Serve with cinnamon pita chips and you’ll be helping to lower inflammation, too.
28. Watermelon Sorbet
Restore your body’s (pH) balance with this fresh, sweet, and slightly tart treat. All you’ve got to do is fill your blender with freshly-squeezed lemon juice, juicy cubes of watermelon, a drizzle of honey, and pinch of Himalayan salt. Puree, transfer to an ice cream maker, and voila!
Photo: Teaspoon of Spice
29. Watermelon Mojito
Because the watermelon is so sweet, you can skip the sugar in this refreshing liquid treat. Not only does this drink contain vitamin E, which works like nature’s anti-aging serum (thank you, lime juice), it can also soothe digestive upset (cheers to you, mint) ((Vitamins in Aging, Health, and Longevity. Thomas D.R., Clinical Interventions in Aging March 2006; 1 (1) : 81-91)).
30. Watermelon Carrot Juice
Looking for benefits you can literally see? Just set your eyes on this juice, then. The beta-carotene in carrot juice is converted by the body into vitamin A, the very vitamin your eyes' retinas rely on (especially when you’re outside chasing lightning bugs or hanging around a bonfire) ((Carrots, Carotene and Seeing in the Dark. Smith W., Mitchell P., Lazarus R., Australian and New Zealand Journal of Ophthalmology, 1999 Jun-Aug;27(3-4):200-3.)). Your taste buds will also get a treat in the form of a spicy kick, thanks to amchoor, cumin, kala namak, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, asafetida, and chili powder.
31. Watermelon Coconut Cocktail
This one is for the 21-and-over crowd. Or you could always 86 the booze and add this one to your juice cleanse schedule because it’s loaded with some serious nutrients. For starters, watermelon is packed with the amino acid citrulline, which is great for improving blood flow ((Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults. Collins J.K., Wu G., Perkins-Veazie P., et al. Nutrition, 2007 Mar;23(3):261-6.)). This drink is particularly great after a workout session, because the coconut water is as effective as water and sports drinks for rehydrating after moderate exercise.
Photo: Running to the Kitchen
32. Watermelon Frosty
Warning: This drink may cause brain freeze. It’s so good and so refreshingly cold (frozen watermelon chunks = brilliant) that you won't be able to stop yourself from slurping it down at super speed. While the watermelon supplies a burst of juice, the creaminess of this frosty comes from heart-healthy bananas. The yellow fruit has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, thanks to its fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B6 content.
33. Watermelon Cooler
Add sipping down this watermelon cooler to your pre-workout schedule. Turns out downing some watermelon before heavy exercise can reduce inflammation, since the fruit is loaded with flavonoids and carotenoids like lycopene and beta-carotene. And the dash of black salt in this cooler can help replace sodium lost on hot days.
34. Watermelon, Pear, and Banana Green Smoothie
All those years being lectured about building strong bones, yet the Health Ed. teachers never told you about this smoothie. Calcium-rich spinach is blended with pears loaded with boron, a mineral that helps the body to retain calcium (talk about a match made in heaven!) ((Effects of boron and calcium supplementation on mechanical properties of bone in rats. Naghii M.R., Torkaman G., Mofid M., BioFactors (Oxford, England), 2006;28(3-4):195-201.)). This hydrating concoction is also insanely filling.