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There's more to watermelon than a summer seed fight

LyndaBalslev
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Lynda Balslev

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How do you like to eat watermelon? Undoubtedly, it's a summer treat. I remember hot New England summers when the air was so humid you could slice it with knife. My brothers and I would eat thick watermelon-smiles, as wide as our faces, leaning over the grass, while the juices dribbled down our chins and forearms, and spitting the seeds out (at each other, of course).

But there's more to watermelon than simply a slurpy snack or a seed fight. Watermelons are nourishing and thirst-quenching. They are mostly water (92 percent), but they are also rich in vitamins (A and C) and nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium.

In the Mediterranean, watermelon is served for breakfast and throughout the day as a hydrating refreshment, easy to eat and full of natural juices. Watermelon is also delicious in salads, adding mellow sweetness and mild flavor with each healthy bite, while perfectly complementing peppery greens, sharp onions and salty cheese.

Nowadays, watermelon is available in a seedless variety, which not only makes for more refined slurping, it's also easier to dice and cube when adding to salads. In this bulgur salad, watermelon teams up with feta, sugar snap peas and red onion for a crisp, light and refreshing salad you can serve as a light meal or a side dish for your next barbecue. And, no worries, there's still a place at the table for the good, old-fashioned watermelon slices to slurp on if you crave a juicy seed fight.

 

Watermelon, Feta and Bulgur Salad

Active time: 30 minutes

Prep time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup bulgur

½ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish

½ small seedless watermelon, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, about 3 cups

2 handfuls sugar snap peas, stemmed and halved

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

4 ounces feta, crumbled

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

Lemon zest for garnish

Place the bulgur in a bowl. Add 2 cups boiling water and the ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and let stand until the bulgur is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain any excess water and fluff the bulgur with a fork.

Whisk the oil, lime juice, cumin, black pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the dressing to the bulgur and stir to combine. Taste and add 1 more tablespoon dressing if desired (the rest will be drizzled over the salad).

Transfer the bulgur to a serving platter. Scatter the watermelon, snap peas and red onion over the bulgur. Top with the feta, parsley and mint. Drizzle with the remaining dressing. Garnish with finely grated lemon zest and additional black pepper. Serve immediately.

Lynda Balslev is the co-author of “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at tastefood@tastefoodblog.com. Visit the TasteFood blog at tastefoodblog.com.

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