06/20/2014 02:17 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Stay Cool This Summer With These 3 Watermelon Recipes

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Looking to cool off this summer and impress guests at your weekend barbecue? Bored with your usual potato salad and corn on the cob option? Want to make some healthy snacks and sides but don’t want to turn on the stove and heat up the kitchen? Try a cool watermelon dish for a change.

You may have grown up eating sliced watermelon in the summertime- but there’s more ways than one way to skin this versatile fruit. Watermelon contains phytonutrients that boost cardiovascular health, and it’s an anti-inflammatory food that contains lycopene, a well-known anti-oxidant, with the ability to neutralize free radical molecules. It’s important to choose ripe watermelon -- not simply for the flavor but for the health benefits -- the deeper red the flesh, the more rich in lycopene! And with 92 percent water content, this super melon also helps contribute to weight loss.

While it may be easier to purchase pre-packaged or cut up watermelon chunks, it’s less expensive to buy it whole, and it tastes better. When purchasing whole uncut watermelon, look for density. A ripe watermelon will feel heavy because it’s water content increases as it ripens. Look for the rind to be smooth and the bottom or underbelly to be a yellowish color. Watermelon is best stored at 60 degrees, so it will be fine on your kitchen counter for a few days before you slice it open.

These 3 watermelon recipes will provide you with nutrients and health benefits including vitamins A, B, C, lycopene, magnesium, and potassium, and full vibrant flavor for your glow! You can even get the kids in the kitchen to help you make these simple recipes.

Watermelon 3 Ways
Equipment needed: high-speed blender, sharp chef’s knife, cutting board, food processor (optional)

watermelon salad

Are your fingers and toes swelling with the heat? This swell-quelling salad is the antidote to edema. This seasonal salad is hydrating and cooling on warm summer days and helps to reduce swelling caused by heat, poor circulation, and edema.

one 5-pound watermelon
1 red or Vidalia onion
1⁄2 cup fresh chopped mint leaves 1⁄2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1⁄2 cup fresh chopped parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the watermelon into 1-inch-sized chunks and place in a large bowl. Slice the onion into thin strips and soak in enough cold water to submerge the onions, for at least an hour. (Soaking will make the onions more palatable.) Discard the water and remove onions. Add the onions, mint, cilantro, parsley, and lime juice to the watermelon. Gently mix and season with salt and pepper.

watermelon gazpacho

Very few beverages quench your thirst in the summer like watermelon does. There are a lot of brands out there that are bottling watermelon juice- but it tastes nothing like this! This natural blended juice makes for a yummy electrolyte rich drink that boasts high potassium. Adding limes and lemongrass give it a little acid and kick!

2 cups cut watermelon chunks
fresh juice of 2 ripe limes
1 inch ginger chunk
1 inch lemongrass (optional)
½ cup of ice cubes

Place all into a high-speed blender and process on high until well blended.

watermelon gazpacho

1 large heirloom tomato, pureed
½ Serrano chile
2 cups cut watermelon chunks
1 tsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin cold- pressed olive oil
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 cucumber, seeded and minced
1 tbsp minced fresh dill
1 tsp cilantro (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Puree the tomatoes in a high-speed blender, along with the chile, and 1 cup of the watermelon. Pour the red wine vinegar and olive oil in and pulse the blender. Add in the onion cucumber and dill and season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Serve in bowls with olive oil drizzle.

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