Summer Days, Watermelon Mint Salad [Recipe]

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen some posts about the cooking lessons or food demos I've been doing at Loblaws. I've been given an amazing opportunity to work for Canada's biggest grocer to cook and teach people about healthy food. I feel very fortunate for the opportunity, particularly because I've been meeting so many interesting and health-conscious people while on the job.

I also like that this sort of cooking gig presents an element of challenge and creativity. A few days prior to my cooking demos, the manager of the cooking school sends me an email indicating which food (or foods) she'd like me to use. I love this because it gives me the opportunity to seek out or come up with new recipes each time I'm doing a demo. In the past I've been asked to feature quinoa, hemp, black-eye peas, eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini and so on.

Most recently, I was asked to use watermelon. I had lots of ideas and considered making a gazpacho, salsa or possibly a smoothie, but after skimming over a few recipes online, I decided to go with a simple and refreshing watermelon and mint salad with some lime, cayenne and sea salt. The day of my demo it was hot, hot, hot and humid. It was probably the hottest day so far this year.  Needless to say, the salad was very well received!

This weekend I'm out in Westport (about an hour from Ottawa) and enjoying a few days in the woods near the Upper Rideau Lake. It's a hot, summery day here and I made this salad again today.  Watermelon is excellent for summer because it's a very refreshing food due to its water content (~92% water). It's also highly nutritious. It's a very good source of vitamin C and contains B vitamins, potassium, copper and magnesium.

Try it out and let me know what you think. The full recipe is below!

WATERMELON MINT SALAD

Makes 8 to 10 (1 cup) servings (depending on the size of the watermelon)

Ingredients:

1 large watermelon cut into ~1 inch chunks
1 - 2 limes, juiced
Pinch or two of cayenne pepper (optional, but recommended)
1 handful of fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces (or 1 tablespoon dry mint)
Sea Salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss the watermelon with the lime juice and cayenne. Fold in the mint leaves, season with salt. Taste it and adjust the flavour by adding more sea salt or cayenne if necessary, and then serve immediately.

If you plan to make this ahead, the cubed watermelon can be refrigerated overnight. Add in the other ingredients just before serving.  The salad will keep for a few days, but is best served fresh.

Inspired by Matt Neal's recipe in Food & Wine.