Watermelon and Feta Salad

For this week’s Greek recipe I went back to an oldie but a goodie. And on this first day of summer, what better treat than fresh watermelon and feta salad!

The recipe can be easily adapted to include other seasonal items such as arugula and onion. And I have even tried it with balsamic vinegar instead of the citrus. You can easily experiment with the acid in this recipe. Enjoy!

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Watermelon, cut in large slices
  • 4 oz Feta cheese (spring for the quality stuff like Dodoni for this recipe, it’s worth it!)
  • Fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice, about 2 tbsp
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from Kalamata olives preferred!)

Method

Place the watermelon on a serving platter. Top with feta cheese, crumble or leave in large chunks. Drizzle the fresh squeezed citrus over them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh mint leaves. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve and enjoy!

 

 watermelon lemonade

Yummy and refreshing watermelon lemonade

It’s only May, but the sun is shining in Southern California and it feels like summer is already here.  There is something about a fruity cocktail, enjoyed outside in the evening that brings back memories of tropical vacations and good times with friends.

Below is the recipe for Watermelon Lemonade, adapted from the California Sol Food Casual Cooking from the Junior League of San Diego.

Cheers! Yamas!

Watermelon Lemonade Cocktail

Recipe adapted by Allison Baloglu, from the California Sol Food Casual Cooking from the Junior League of San Diego


Makes about 8-10 servings

Ingredients

4 cups pureed seeded watermelon
2 cups water, sparkling water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1-2 cups of vodka (optional, omit for a non-alcoholic beverage)
1 cup sugar

Preparation

Step 1: Puree the watermelon in a food processor or blender.  Squeeze several fresh lemons and set the juice to the side.

Step 2: Mix the watermelon puree, water, lemon juice, vodka and sugar in a large pitcher.  Stir to mix well.  Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill.

To Serve: Fill a glass with ice.  Pour the lemonade over the ice and garnish with lemon and sprigs of fresh mint.  Enjoy responsibly!

Note: Omit the vodka for a non-alcoholic version.  Try replacing the sparkling water with sparkling wine or regular tap water for a variation of this cocktail.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to have a chance to visit Greece for 2 weeks with my, at the time boyfriend, now husband. There are so many things that I can tell you about that trip, but today as I was walking through the grocery store deciding what to have for dinner, I strolled by a large display of watermelons, and was instantly transported back to Greece. Watermelon, or Karpouzi (CAR-POO-ZEE) in Greek, is a staple in the Greek diet. While in Piraeus, we stayed with Steve’s Theo (Uncle) Spiro and his family. Every night after dinner, Theo Spiro would eat almost half a large karpouzi.

Karpouzi (watermelon) is a low calorie and nutrient packed treat

What I know now is that not only is this a great dessert choice, it is choc full of valuable vitamins, and antioxidants, such as the free radical neutralizing, lycopene. It is rich in vitamins, C, A and B. It also is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium. Giving it many added benefits when it comes to energy production (thanks to vitamin B6). And according to some studies, reduces the risk of developing various diseases such as heart disease and some cancers, such as colon cancer, reduces the airway spasm that occurs in asthma, and can alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Watermelon is a nutrient rich food. Because it has such a high water content and only contains 48 calories per cup, it delivers more nutrients per calorie than many other fruits.

It also turns out that eating carrots is not the only way to protect your eyesight. Fruits, like watermelon which is also rich in beta-carotene, are just as important. Eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily. (Source: Archives of Ophthalmology) Curious how much fruit makes up 1 serving? See my previous post here: Getting your 5 a day

It has also been associated with numerous other health benefits in recent studies. According to one study, there may be a link between eating lycopene rich foods, like watermelon, and drinking green tea and a man’s reduced risk of getting prostate cancer. (Source: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jian L, Lee AH, et al.)

The benefits go on, and on. I guess Theo Spiro, who is also a Doctor, is on to something. So if you happen to wander through the produce section and see some fresh watermelon in stock this season, stock up! Karpouzi for everyone! And for us, a little walk down memory lane of our trip to Greece as we feast on karpouzi for dessert tonight!

Karpouzi at a beachside cafe in Naxos
Karpouzi at a beachside cafe in Naxos
Scenic and breathtaking Oia, Santorini
Scenic and breathtaking Oia, Santorini
© 2017 The Accidental Greek Allison Creative