Watermelon for Agua Fresca

Watermelon for Agua Fresca

With such low calories and cool sweetness, watermelon is the neglected ingredient making its way into my personal menu this week.    Not only a slender snack, it packs Vitamins A, B6 and C in just 40 calories per cup (and possibly libido?).  Once just a messy, hydrating side served outdoors in sliced chunks, watermelon matured with recipes to be served in cocktail glasses and dainty bowls.  Many recipes use watermelon as an alternative to tomatoes, and I’ve tasted a delicious fresh salsa with grilled watermelon and mint at an Atlanta Botanical Garden garden chef demonstration.

Watermelon Tabbouleh

Watermelon Tabbouleh

I made my own watermelon creation based on Rachael Ray’s Feta-Watermelon Tabbouleh.  Instead of feta, I made this dish vegan by using seasoned, crumbled tofu, which wonderfully substitutes for feta with similar texture and coloring and adaptable flavor.  Most vegan feta recipes call for a one-hour tofu marinade including a combination of apple cider or white wine vinegar, basil, oregano, lemon juice, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  This tabbouleh recipe lasted over a week for me and is both light and hearty.  A tip from a friend who could make tabbouleh with their eyes closed: you can never over season.

Straining Blended Watermelon

Straining Blended Watermelon

I also made agua fresca with a slice of watermelon from a recipe in SHAPE magazine.  For this super easy and lightly sweetened healthy sipper, blend 1 cup of cubed watermelon, strain it (I used my tea strainer from Teavana), and mix with sparkling water or juice (I used a flavored sparkling water, splash of cranberry juice and a dash of lime).  The magazine’s recipe also suggested using honeydew or cantaloupe, so play around.  This is a great substitution for soda drinkers, and I recommend it for all the hot, weathered souls of summer.

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