Healthy Living

5 Healthy Watermelon Recipes In 20 Minutes Or Less

Sliced Watermelons
A quick bite of these five mouthwatering watermelon recipes can offer long-term health benefits. StaraBlazkova

The hot breeze and high temperatures during summer months can be difficult to deal with. And water isn't the only way to meet your daily fluid intake. Food such as watermelon is comprised of 92 percent water and can be used as a tasty means to quench your thirst, says the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

The peak production of this succulent crop occurs from May through August — a perfect timeframe for the scorching months that lie ahead. Watermelon consumption has been in high demand due to its nutritious qualities. says the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) report from the Economic Research Service (ERS).

The sweet and luscious summertime fruit is rich in nutrients that have long-term health benefits due to its high content in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. These vitamins help boost the immune system by enhancing white blood cells in their potency to battle infections and diseases.

In a study conducted at Purdue University and the University of Kentucky, researchers wanted to see the effects of watermelon juice and whether or not it promoted a healthy immune system. Two groups of mice — one received water containing two percent watermelon juice while the other received the same amount of water with a solution equivalent to the carbohydrate content of the watermelon juice — were tested to see if citrulline (found in watermelon) could promote a healthy heart. The results of the study showed that the mice who were fed watermelon juice had 30 percent lower weight, 50 percent less of LDL cholesterol, and 50 percent less arterial plaque than the control group.

According to the Agriculture Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) at Iowa State University, middle-class income women between the ages of 20 and 59 were said to eat 43 percent more watermelon per capita than younger females. Men were generally found to consume less watermelon than women of all age groups.

Quickly bite your way to good health with these five watermelon recipes — ready in 20 minutes or less — and get the skinny on the nutritious ingredients of each recipe.

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1. Melon Tower 10 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 watermelon

1 honeydew melon

1 cantaloupe

1/4 cup(s) freshly-squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup(s) mild honey

10 prigs mint (4 minced)

Preparation:

Cut watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe into 2- to 3-inch squares. Slice the squares 1/8-inch thick and stack, alternating slices of each color.

Combine honey, lime juice, and mint. Drizzle syrup over each stack. Garnish with reserved mint sprigs and serve.

Healthy Fun Facts:

This triple melon decker contains watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe to boost your immune system with its high levels of vitamin C — an antioxidant that controls the growth and functions of all the tissues in the human body, says Mayo Clinic. Ninety milligrams of vitamin C is the recommended daily amount for an adult. A one cup serving of cantaloupe contains 65 mg of vitamin C, which meets more than half of the necessary amount.

Recipe Courtesy of Sam's Club.

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2. Watermelon, Prawn & Avocado Salad 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 fat garlic clove, crushed

1 small red chili, finely chopped

Juice 1 lime

1 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar

1 tsp caster sugar

Watermelon wedge, deseeded and diced

1 avocado, diced

Small bunch coriander leaves, chopped

200g cooked tiger prawns, defrosted if frozen

Preparation:

Put the onion in a medium bowl with the garlic, chilli, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, and some seasoning. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Add the watermelon, avocado, coriander, and prawns, and then toss gently to serve.

Healthy Fun Facts:

This gluten-free, dairy-free dish delivers plenty of nutrients tossed into a watermelon salad. Prawns contain 20.3 grams of protein — essential for growth and development. This particular kind of seafood is low in saturated fat with one serving containing 1.73 grams of total fat and .49 grams of omega-3 fatty acids that aid your body against cardiovascular disease, says Self. The addition of avocado in this salad allows you to receive your "healthy fat" intake without increasing your protein or carbohydrate intake. This fat helps to limit inflammation in the body and maintain a healthy heart rhythm and lower cholesterol levels, says the Harvard School of Public Health.

Recipe Courtesy of BBC Good Food.

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3. Healthy Watermelon Tart 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup sliced almonds

1 (5 inch thick) slice of seedless watermelon, rind removed

12 ounces Yoplait vanilla yogurt

½ cup blueberries

½ cup sliced Strawberries

Preparation:

Toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until golden. Remove from pan to cool. Cut watermelon into 8 even pie shaped wedges. Dip outside curved edge of watermelon in yogurt and then in sliced almonds, and place on serving platter in a pie-shaped formation. Repeat with remaining watermelon wedges. Once all of the wedges have been placed in a pie shape, use the remainder of the yogurt to frost the top of the "pie." Place blueberries and sliced strawberries in a decorative pattern on top. Serve immediately or chill until serving.

Healthy Fun Facts:

This dessert made from watermelon, yogurt, and berries is extra light, while still catering to your sweet tooth. The yogurt can provide you with the 25 percent daily value (DV) of vitamin B12 — necessary for bodily functions that pertain to growth and development, says the USDA. A skim or low-fat yogurt is best because they contain the same amount of nutrients but fewer calories from fat. The berries in this dish — blueberries and strawberries — are rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanosides and flavonoids, which can improve your health by lowering blood pressure and bettering blood flow to the brain and heart, says Cleveland Clinic

Recipe Courtesy of Table Spoon.

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4. Watermelon Salsa 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

3 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 2 1/4 pounds with the rind) (see Tip)

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (see Ingredient note)

1/3 cup chopped cilantro, (about 1/2 bunch)

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup minced red onion, (about 1/2 small)

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Preparation:

Place watermelon, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and onion in a medium bowl; stir well to combine. Season with salt. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tip:

Melon selection & storage: Look for symmetrical unblemished melons, without flat sides, that have a creamy yellow spot on the bottom indicating ripeness. At 92% water, this fruit should feel heavy when you lift it. Precut melon flesh should be dense, firm, and appear moist. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or keep in a cool, dark spot. Cover the cut surface of melon with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Ingredient Note:

The seeds and surrounding membrane are the spiciest part of the chili pepper. To increase the heat of the salsa, use some or all of the seeds, depending on your preference, along with the flesh of the pepper.

Make-ahead tip:

Cover and refrigerate for up to one day.

Healthy Fun Facts:

This salsa is sweet and full of flavor-packed nutrients. Jalapeno peppers contain high levels of vitamin C and can even help boost your metabolism due to the compound capsinoids, says About Capsinoids.

Recipe Courtesy of Fitness Magazine.

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5. Watermelon and tomato Gazpacho With Feta 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove

1 small watermelon, or a section of a larger one, about 3 pounds, flesh removed

from the rind, seeded, and cut into large chunks

2 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges

2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

Salt and black pepper

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil or mint, for garnish

Preparation:

Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop it. Add the watermelon, tomatoes, and lemon juice, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. You have two choices here: chunky or smooth. It all depends on whether you turn the machine on and leave it on, or just pulse a few times. Add a few ice cubes, one at a time, just enough to keep the machine working, and blend or pulse until smooth or chunky. Put the gazpacho in the fridge to chill a bit if you like, up to several hours.

Just before serving, taste the gazpacho and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed (remember you'll be adding feta, which is usually salty). Pour the gazpacho into 4 bowls, top with the feta, drizzle with a few drops of olive oil, garnish with the herb, and serve.

Healthy Fun Facts:

This delicious summer soup dish combines watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, and peaches, which gives it a unique texture and sweetness. The tomatoes in this recipe contain approximately 20 percent daily value (DV) of vitamin A and 40 percent DV of vitamin C, says Self. The peaches add on to this dish's high vitamin C content with 19 percent DV, enhancing the body's immune system and strong joints.

Recipe Courtesy of Mark Bittman.

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