It's time to get your watermelon on.


Hydrating? Check—watermelon is over 90 percent water. Nutritious? Check—the pink flesh is packed with vitamins A, C, and B6 to help boost immunity, decrease inflammation, and promote recovery. Recent studies also show that watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid linked to relieving muscle soreness. Scrumptious and delightful? Double check—the juicy summer staple is fresh, in season, affordable, and makes a dish pop. Survey says: It’s time to get your watermelon on.

Photo and Styling: Cast Iron Culinary

Watermelon Panzanella Salad

Substitute bread cubes with watermelon for a refreshing and flavor-filled take on panzanella—it’s so tasty, you won’t even miss the bread.

Ingredients
Makes 4 servings
1 cup bocconcini mozzarella, cut in half 3 T olive oil
2 T aged balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 heaping cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 cup heirloom tomato, cut into 1-inch pieces
cup roasted peppers, drained and sliced 1⁄2 cup cucumber, diced
1⁄2 cup fresh basil, julienned
8 cups arugula
Balsamic glaze
2 T toasted pine nuts

Preparation
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic, season with salt and pepper, then toss with the mozzarella. Let marinate while preparing the rest of the salad.

Place the watermelon cubes in a colander over a bowl, and let drain. Save juice for drinking or smoothies.

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, basil, and arugula.
Once drained, toss in watermelon.

Add the mozzarella, with marinade, and toss until the arugula and other ingredients are coated.
Serve individual servings with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and a sprinkling of pine nuts.

Serving Recommendation: Grill jumbo shrimp, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper for 90 seconds per side, over high heat. Squeeze fresh lemon over the top.

Photo and Styling: Cast Iron Culinary

Watermelon Coco-Cream

Addiction alert! Make it, savor it, share it. Summer will never be the same.

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings
6 cups watermelon, diced 1 can full-fat coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
1⁄2 can coconut cream (13.5 ounces)
1⁄4 cup pure maple syrup 1⁄4 tsp sea salt

Preparation
In a blender, combine the ingredients until smooth.

Transfer to a baking dish, and put in freezer. Let freeze until solid.

Break apart frozen pieces, place into a food processor, and puree until very smooth—the second blend makes it creamy.

Transfer to a freezer-safe container, and let freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

Photo and Styling: Cast Iron Culinary

Shrimp & Watermelon Fresh Rolls

An elevation of the Thai appetizer favorite.

Ingredients
Makes 6 rolls (12 halves)

12 pieces small rice paper*
24 small, pre-cooked shrimp (shell and tail removed)
1 small watermelon
1 English cucumber
1 cup shredded jicama
1⁄4 cup nely chopped mint
1⁄4 cup nely chopped Thai or regular basil 12 pieces romaine or butter lettuce (smaller than the rice paper)
1⁄4 cup almond butter
1⁄4 cup Asian sesame salad dressing or dipping sauce
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T fresh crushed ginger
1 T honey
*Rice paper is sold in the Asian foods aisle at most grocery stores, Asian specialty markets, or ask to buy from your grocery sushi counter.

Preparation
Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.

Slice the watermelon into thin 1⁄4-inch sticks that are about 2 inches shorter than the diameter of the rice paper. You will need 12 sticks.

Cut the cucumber in half on the vertical. Remove the seeds and cut into the same size sticks as the watermelon. You will need 12 sticks.

Take 2 pieces of rice paper, and let sit in a baking dish filled with hot water for 15-20 seconds, then lay at on a cutting board lined with a damp dish cloth.

Place 4 shrimp across the middle of the rice paper—leaving an inch on each end for folding the paper—and place 2 pieces of lettuce over the shrimp.

Place 2 sticks each of watermelon and cucumber in the middle of the lettuce. Then sprinkle of the jicama and herbs over the top.

Roll the rice paper from the end facing you tightly over the ingredients, about halfway onto itself. Then fold the sides in, and finish by rolling shut. Picture doing this like you would seal a burrito tightly shut. Set aside and let rest.

Repeat above steps to make 6 full rolls.

In a small bowl, whisk together the almond butter, salad dressing, lime, ginger, and honey. (Alternatively, peanut butter may be used.)

Cut the rolls in half, making sure there are two shrimp on each half, and serve with the dipping sauce.

Photo and Styling: Cast Iron Culinary

Watermelon Strawberry Salad with Grilled Flank Steak

Strawberries and mint do something special when combined with watermelon. This summery salad is a perfect light pairing for flank steak.

Ingredients
Makes 2 servings

1 1⁄2 pound flank steak
1⁄2 T olive oil
Zest of one lemon
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T fresh orange juice
4 cups watermelon, diced into 1⁄2 inch cubes 2 cups strawberries, quartered
1⁄4 cup queso fresco, crumbled 1⁄4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped 3 T green onion, finely sliced
3 T toasted pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper

Preparation
Toss the flank steak with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before grilling.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, orange juice, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the watermelon and strawberries, and toss to combine.

Grill the steak over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Drain the watermelon and strawberries in a colander. Return back to the bowl, and toss with queso fresco, mint, green onion, and pumpkin seeds. Serve with steak