Use the Heat: Grilled Watermelon and Mint Salad

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Dust off your grills and get out your red, white and blue: Memorial Day is almost upon us. Since meat recipes are always available, why not be the rock star of this year’s cookout with a nutritious and patriotic dish? If you haven’t tried grilling watermelon yet, this is the perfect time to experiment. Not only will it showcase an extra layer of effort and love by the cook, but the heat makes the fruit even sweeter and juicier. Combining watermelon with sweet and sour blueberries plus salty feta cheese, this spirited salad will proudly hold its spot on the table.

Mint is often added to plates as a garnish, but here it’s incorporated directly into the salad to really tie together all the different flavor notes with its fresh and aromatic qualities. I highly suggest making the salad right before serving and eating it shortly thereafter; otherwise, the salt from the feta will draw out too much water from the fruits and turn the salad into a less-than-appetizing soup.

So, this Memorial Day, exercise your freedom to experiment in the kitchen, and let your red, white and blue salad shine!

Grilled Watermelon and Mint Salad

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

10 (1-inch) watermelon spears

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 ounces crumbled feta

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint (or basil) leaves

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Preheat grill or grill pan to a very high heat. Brush watermelon slices with olive oil. Grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side.*

Cool slightly and cut into 1-inch cubes (makes about 3 cups). Add to a serving bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Toss to combine. Serve chilled.

*If cooking on a grill, leave the rind on the watermelon slices, as it will make them easier to maneuver with your tongs.

Per serving: Calories 127; Fat 4 g (Saturated 3 g); Sodium 177 mg; Potassium 55 mg; Carbohydrate 21 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugars 17 g; Protein 4 g

Min Kwon, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian who specializes in food sensitivities. She has a passion for translating the science of nutrition into real-life, applicable advice and tips. In her healthy food blog, The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman, she focuses on sharing simple yet healthy recipes made from wholesome, REAL foods.