Nothing Says Summer Like a Good Watermelon

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When you think of summer you always think of fresh pink watermelon! Not only is watermelon a refreshing snack on its own, but it packs a punch when it comes to nutritional benefits. One wedge of watermelon has 86 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, no cholesterol and less than 1% of your daily value of sodium.

Watermelon also provides 22 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein and 5% of your daily value of fiber, a healthy recipe for fat burning and weight loss. With 18 grams of sugar, watermelon is a great way to curb a sugar craving.

Watermelon is a “wonder fruit” in that it provides healthy amounts of virtually all essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and C are available in high quantities in just 1 wedge of watermelon, providing 33 and 39% of your daily value. Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and thiamin are also provided in significant amounts.

Aside from sodium, one wedge of watermelon can give you at least 2% of your daily value of all minerals. Potassium, magnesium and manganese are provided in the highest amounts, with other minerals in much smaller amounts.

The beautiful pink color of watermelon, due to beta-carotene, is a powerful ally against many types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Lycopene, a carotenoid found in abundance in watermelon provides additional cancer fighting health benefits of watermelon.

The high water content of watermelon is part of what gives it fat burning benefits, helping to make your metabolism work more efficiently. With a healthy amount of fiber and protein, your body will still work harder simply processing watermelon.

To be sure, watermelon works best for fat burning as part of a well-balanced diet, but you can rest easily that most of the calories in watermelon will be burned quickly after consumption.

Watermelon Pork Tacos

2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds), silver skin trimmed, cut into 1-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the salsa:

2 tablespoons vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 cup small (about 1/4 inch) watermelon cubes

1/4 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

4 large, sturdy romaine-heart leaves, cut into 4-inch lengths (to resemble taco shells)

Combine all the pork ingredients in a resealable plastic bag and marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, for the salsa, whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Gently fold in the watermelon, cucumber and avocado. Refrigerate until chilled.

Preheat a grill to medium heat. Remove the pork from the marinade, pat dry and grill for 2 minutes on one side. Turn and grill 1 more minute; remove from the heat and let rest 3 minutes before cutting into 1/2-inch pieces.

Fill the lettuce “shells” with pork, top with salsa and enjoy!

Watermelon Cooler

1 1/2 pounds (4 cups) sliced seedless watermelon, rind removed

1 cup lemon sorbet

1 lemon, zested

1 1/2 cups cold water

Watermelon wedges and mint, for garnish

In a food processor, blend watermelon, sorbet, and lemon zest until very smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cold water; cover and refrigerate until very cold. Serve over ice and garnish with watermelon wedges and mint.

Watermelon Tomato Salad

5 cups (3/4-inch) seeded watermelon cubes

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

3 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Romaine lettuce leaves (optional)

Cracked black pepper to taste

Combine watermelon and tomatoes in a large bowl; sprinkle with sugar and salt, tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.

Stir in onion, vinegar, and oil. Cover and chill 2 hours. Serve chilled with lettuce leaves, if desired. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper to taste.

Melon Mozzarella Salad

3 cups peeled, coarsely chopped fresh peaches (about 1 1/2 lb.)

1 (8-oz.) tub fresh small mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

3/4 cup Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing (or poppy seed dressing if you cannot find)

4 cups seeded and cubed watermelon

4 cups cubed honeydew melon

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 cups seedless green grapes, cut in half

Toss first 3 ingredients with 1/4 cup Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing.

Layer watermelon, peach mixture, honeydew, berries, and grapes in a large glass trifle dish or tall glass bowl. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours. Toss with remaining 1/2 cup dressing just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Spicy Watermelon Salsa

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 small red onion, diced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint

1 small seedless watermelon

1 small cantaloupe

2 cucumbers, diced

1 cantaloupe, diced

Combine lime juice and next 5 ingredients.

2. Place red onion, cilantro, and mint in a large bowl. Dice watermelon and cantaloupe into 1-inch pieces; add to bowl. Peel and dice cucumbers, and cantaloupe; add to bowl. Stir in lime juice mixture. Cover and chill 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Watermelon Salsa (great served with grilled fish)

2 cups chopped seedless watermelon

1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

1/2 cucumber, chopped

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

Combine chopped watermelon, next 5 ingredients, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Serve with grilled fish.