When berry season is on its way out, and apple season is still just a twinkle in Mother Nature’s eye, whatever are your options for peak-season, locally-grown fruit? In most parts of the country, the answer is watermelon, which hits its prime in August. Watermelon is 92% water, which means it’s both hydrating and low-calorie (about 46 calories per 1 cup diced watermelon). It’s second only to the tomato in lycopene, a potent antioxidant that’s thought to help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer, and also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and potassium. The only nutritional downside of watermelon is that most of the calories it contains come from sugar; of the 11 grams carbohydrates in one cup of watermelon, nine grams are sugars.
I’ve never really been a watermelon fan—I’ve got nothing against the fruit, but it kind of just bores me. Of course, I’d also never eaten watermelon any other way than plain, or maybe in a fruit salad. But watermelon can actually work well in a lot of savory dishes—like this perfectly summery watermelon, mustard green and feta cheese salad, which you can throw together in about 10 minutes.
Watermelon & Feta Salad
4 cups watermelon, seeds removed and diced into ½-inch pieces
2 cups chopped mustard greens*
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Combine watermelon, greens, pine nuts and balsamic vinaigrette. Toss together in a large bowl until vinaigrette is evenly distributed. Top with feta cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
* I don’t like spinach, but I think spinach or arugula would work just as well.