A symbol of summer, watermelon is sweet, juicy and full of good nutrition.
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a delicious way to rehydrate in this summer heat! One cup of cubed watermelon has only 46 calories, no fat or cholesterol and only 1 mg sodium. What watermelon does have, more than any other food, is an antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene is a type of carotenoid, which are natural pigments that give color to plants, fruits and vegetables. As a red carotenoid, lycopene is found in red and pink fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, tomatoes, pomegranate, red bell pepper and pink grapefruit.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that can help protect the body from stress and prevent or slow cell damage. Interestingly, lycopene may also help increase the skin’s defense against sunburns and skin damage caused by UV rays, which is another reason to enjoy watermelon in the summer months (although not a substitute for sunscreen)!
Here’s an easy recipe highlighting watermelon that is perfect for your next cookout or get-together.
Watermelon Feta Salad
A delicious balance of sweet and salty flavors to go along with grilled meat and veggies,
or even on its own!
- 1 (2-3 lb) watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3 Tbsp balsamic glaze
- 2 Tbsp torn or chopped fresh basil leaves
Place cubed watermelon in a large serving bowl or on a platter.
Arrange crumbles of feta over the watermelon.
Drizzle over the balsamic glaze.
Sprinkle with the chopped fresh basil.
You can substitute mozzarella cubes or balls for the feta for a less salty taste. Or you can use goat cheese for a milder flavor too.
You can substitute fresh mint for the basil.
You can find the balsamic glaze near the balsamic vinegar in the grocery store or make your own by heating 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar thickens and is reduced to about ¼ cup. This process takes about 15-20 minutes, and it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely before serving. This is also wonderful drizzled over roasted vegetables such as brussels sprouts or cabbage.
Forge is delighted to partner with Laura Rutledge, MA, RDN, CSO, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist who focuses on oncology nutrition for during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment. For more information and recipes from Laura check out Nourishing Plate. You can find additional blogs from Laura on Forge’s blog!