Watermelon Mint Berry Salad
By: Noor H. Salem, contributing columnist
Watermelon is one of the most scrumptious fruit, that carries a myriad of health benefits, too. Unfortunately, many have come to believe that watermelon should be avoided or extremely limited due to its sugar content. I’ve heard this concern from a number of my clients and attendees at workshops. I’m here to debunk that myth, as many holistic practitioners and doctors alike rave at the marvelous benefits this tasty fruit carries.
Last week I’ve shared my fig spring salad recipe, and the wonderful benefits that figs provide for your body. However, figs are not as accessible to many as much as watermelons are. It’s currently watermelon season, and the delicious fruit is found at almost every supermarket around. This salad recipe is another one of my summer favorites, balanced with juicy fruit and Vitamin boosting greens. The hazelnuts give not only a crunchy addition to this meal, but healthy fats and protein too. Besides the sweet taste, the berries add a ton of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. The mint in this salad is one of my favorites, and in fact I came up with this recipe after having a ton of fresh mint from my backyard. Mint is more than just garnish for food, I love using it in my tabouli salad and over my rice. It carries wonderful benefits for our health, including allergies, indigestion, fiber, the common cold, and yes, even nausea. Instead of reaching for medication next time you feel carsick, try sipping mint tea instead.
Watermelon is one of the foods I’ve covered precisely in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Today many health practitioners and coaches brag of this delicious fruit. It’s high in vitamin C, and contains copper, potassium, biotin, and a number of other minerals. Watermelon has a very high water percentage, and is one of the best choices to eat during hot and humid weather. The Prophet (peace be upon him) ate watermelon with fresh dates, and that was one of the recommendations I’ve made for your Ramadan meals. Since we’re still in the hot summer season, I’d highly advise you consume lots of watermelon to aid in quenching your thirst. Watermelon is rich in unique antioxidants, carry anti-inflammatory benefits, and are even good for your heart! One of my favorite benefits of all though, is that watermelon carries a rich amino acid, citrulline, which aids in relaxing your muscles. if you happen to stress easily, eat more watermelon. Essentially, as I’ve recommended in my book, don’t toss out watermelon seeds. Instead wash them, dry them, and bake them for about 15-20 minutes. These seeds are rich in iron, protein, fiber, and zinc. The water content of watermelon increases with ripening, so when purchasing a watermelon, go for the ones heavier in weight. It will also have a hollow sound, not a thump, when you pound on it. I’ve tried this myself, and recommended this tip to some of my clients and friends. Also, when watermelon ripens, the flesh will change from a light pink color to a deep red. With this color change, the lycopene content increases dramatically. For that, aim to consume watermelon when it’s at this peak ripening point to maximize the nutrient content. While it’s impossible to tell the color of the flesh while purchasing, simply knowing how to pound on a watermelon can increase the likelihood of a red fleshed fruit. Try it next time you’re buying your watermelons.
Try this delicious summer salad, and feel free to omit or add ingredients of your choice. You may add walnuts instead of hazelnuts for a boost of omega-3, and swap the spinach for kale if you’re lacking in vitamin K. If you feel it’s too dry, drizzle a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar, or extra virgin olive oil.
6 cups organic baby spinach or spring mix
4 cups watermelon balls (cubes work too)
2 cups fresh organic blueberries
½ cup raw hazelnuts
½ cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- Make watermelon balls using a melon scooper and scooping through an entire watermelon (until you reach 4 cups).
- Place the spinach/spring mix in a serving platter. Layer with the remaining ingredients.
- Garnish with the mint. Serve chilled.
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.