by Caitlin Beale
Nothing screams summer like cool, refreshing watermelon. Not only is it super-hydrating (it’s about 92% water), it’s also loaded with vitamins A and C, to give your skin an extra summer glow, and lycopene, which acts like internal sunscreen. (Still, don’t skip your SPF!) And while there’s nothing wrong with a slice of watermelon, there are so many other creative ways to add it to your hot-weather menu. From cocktails to condiments, salads to sweets, watermelon might just be the little black dress of summer fruit — it’s that versatile! Here are ten of our favorite watermelon recipes perfect for enjoying when the temperatures climb. Even better? Most of these dishes don’t require any cooking at all.
1. Watermelon Feta Salad from Skinny Taste
Bring this light and refreshing salad, which combines watermelon, feta, arugula and mint, to your next backyard barbecue and be prepared for your friends to ooh and ahh. No one will know it only takes 15 minutes to pull together.
2. Watermelon Margarita from Against all Grain
Warm summer evenings call for the perfect cocktail, but many mixed drinks have a lot of added sugar. This watermelon margarita uses the tiniest dash of maple syrup for sweetness, but if you want, leave it out and just enjoy the natural watermelon flavor.
3. Watermelon Gazpacho from Love & Lemons
Gazpacho is served cold, so it’s ideal for hot summer nights when turning on the hot stove is the last thing on your mind. It combines watermelon with the traditional tomato for a refreshing summer soup that’s perfectly balanced. Make extra and eat it for lunch all week.
4. Watermelon Hot Sauce from Snacking in Sneakers
Watermelon’s natural sweetness is what makes this spicy sauce so delicious. Just blend and heat and you have a tangy sauce for your next taco Tuesday (or any day of the week).
5. Watermelon, Mint & Cider Vinegar Tonic from Food52
In Iran, the mixture of vinegar and sugar is a time-honored Persian sharbat, or fruit essence drink, says Louisa Shafia. But it’s so much more than that: “[It’s] also used for dipping crisp romaine lettuce leaves in warm weather, another distinctly Persian way to hydrate. Just put a bowl of this beverage alongside a plate of romaine leaves and that’s it: your salad is complete!”
6. Watermelon Popsicles from Slender Kitchen
Who needs store-bought, sugary popsicles when you can make your own version that tastes even better? These pops use the sweetness of watermelon combined with lime, fresh basil, and mint for a summery treat. The hardest part will be waiting for them to freeze.
7. Grilled Watermelon from Delish
Just like peaches or pineapples, grilled watermelon caramelizes the natural sugars for a delightful flavor. It’s ridiculously simple and makes the perfect dessert for your next summer dinner party or weeknight grill.
8. Mexican Watermelon Salad from Nom Nom Paleo
This flavor-filled salad calls for a few extra ingredients and steps, but the end result is worth it. Spicy and sweet, it pairs well with any main course.
9. No Sugar Watermelon Granita from Feed Your Sole
Granita, which has a similar texture to shave ice, is an easy and super-refreshing dessert that can be dressed it up simply by serving it in a fancy dish. But if you eat it straight out of the freezer, we won’t blame you.
10. Watermelon Pizza
What do you get when you put watermelon and pizza together? A treat that’s super-hydrating, adorable to look at, and so, so simple to make — whether you call it a salad, a snack, or a dessert.