The Veggie Cook
Watermelon and mint team up for summer salad
A perfect salad: A good ripe watermelon is so flavorful it requires nothing extra. Our recipe adds mint for a refreshing summer treat. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)
Through the centuries, farmers and backyard planters worldwide have developed more than 1,200 watermelon varieties. All are packed with healthy antioxidants and loads of vitamin C and A.
The range of watermelons can be mind-boggling. Rinds that are starred, striped or spotted enclose a watery flesh that may be red, pink, orange, yellow or white.
A good, ripe watermelon is so flavorful it requires nothing extra. But the versatile fruit produces juice that Russians turn into wine and a rind that Chinese chefs pickle, fry or stew. The recipe here features watermelon as a cool summer salad.
Cut the watermelon into quarters, then into 2-inch slices. Smaller chunks make removing the rind easier.
The recipe tastes great with cantaloupe as a substitute for watermelon.
Agave syrup, from a cactuslike plant, is sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way. Sub with another liquid sweetener.
Watermelon salad with mint and lime
Prep: 15 minutes Servings: 4
4 cups seedless watermelon in 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh mint, about 18 leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 large lime
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 cups arugula
1. Place watermelon in a bowl. Finely cut the mint leaves in a chiffonade: Stack 6 leaves at a time, largest on the bottom. Roll the stack tightly lengthwise; slice as thinly as you can. Add to the watermelon. Repeat with remaining mint.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, agave syrup, salt and cayenne in a bowl; stir into the watermelon. Divide the arugula among 4 plates; top with the watermelon. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Per serving: 114 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 17 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 99 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor and former owner of a vegetarian restaurant/whole-grain bakery. Email her at email@example.com.