Easy dinner recipes: Refreshing summer melon ideas in 40 minutes or less


Beat the heat tonight with three refreshing summer melon ideas. Each recipe comes together in 40 minutes or less.

Watermelon and feta salad with cumin-lime dressing: From Food editor Russ Parsons, he writes that “what really makes the dish work is the flavor pairing of power with power. The watermelon is so explosively juicy and sweet that you can add all kinds of big tastes — not just salty feta but also jalapeños! toasted cumin! lime! fresh mint! — without overwhelming it. In this watermelon salad, the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts, no matter how large they might be.”

Tierra Sur’s heirloom melon gazpacho: Chef Todd Aarons was happy to share his recipe for this light, refreshing soup, perfect for this time of the year. He suggests using heirloom melons from the farmers market, such as those from Weiser Family Farms. He particularly likes their Sugar Queen, Butterscotch or Ogen melons. Aarons also suggests using slightly underripe melons, since you don’t want the soup to be too sweet.


The Hungry Cat’s tomato and watermelon salad: Take everything you love about summer and arrange it beautifully on a plate. Juicy heirloom tomato wedges and bright chunks of cool watermelon come together perfectly, punctuated with the spice of arugula, fresh basil and mint. You can find the recipe below.


Total time: 40 minutes | Serves 4

Note: Adapted from the Hungry Cat in Hollywood. To make a watermelon reduction, juice all or part of a watermelon (using a juicer, a blender or food processor and straining), then simmer until the juice is reduced by half.


1/2 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup watermelon reduction
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the shallot, garlic, mustard and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the watermelon reduction, then whisk in the oil until fully incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This makes about 1 1/3 cups vinaigrette, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.


4 tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided, more to taste
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided, more to taste
4 cups diced seedless watermelon
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably French feta
8 to 10 basil leaves, torn (preferably opal basil)
8 to 10 mint leaves, torn (preferably Persian mint)
4 cups loosely packed arugula
1/3 cup watermelon vinaigrette, or to taste

1. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and spread them out on a sheet pan. Season with one-half teaspoon each salt and pepper and set aside for 15 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, watermelon, onion, feta, basil, mint and arugula. Gently toss in the vinaigrette. Taste and season with one-fourth teaspoon each salt and pepper, or to taste. Add additional vinaigrette to taste as desired before serving.


Each serving: 300 calories; 9 grams protein; 23 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 33 mg cholesterol; 17 grams sugar; 883 mg sodium.

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