The first chance I get to purchase a good, in-season, watermelon, I do! It’s juicy, sweet and refreshing. On a hot summer day, biting into watermelon is like plunging your taste buds into a pool….ahhh. Watermelon is notorious for its high water content, which bodes well for making you feel full longer. Did you know it also has a ton of good-for-you nutrients, too? Its deep red flesh and white part closest to the rind (which typically ends up in the trash) contain numerous antioxidants, such as glutathione and the carotenoid, lycopene. (Lycopene is a big player in prevening cancer, specifically prostate cancer in men).
As far as your immunity, glutathione is a powerful assistant that enables your immune system to spring into action at the first sign of attack; it regulates the cascade of events by your immune system army. Plus, vitamins A and C are big immune-boosting nutrients. So there’s a lot of goodness that comes from watermelon.
Today, I am going to pair diced watermelon with fragrant mint, whole wheat couscous and a bit of pistachios tossed in a light vinaigrette for a tasty Mediterranean side dish. Feel free to add a touch of goat cheese or shredded lean meat, fish or chicken breast. It’s tasty, simple to make and you can make it a day ahead and toss in the fridge. The hint of crunch and healthy fats from the pistachios combined with the aromatic mint give this dish delicious character against the light and sweet watermelon . . . the flavors round out the couscous well.
Mediterranean-Style Watermelon, Pistachio-Mint Couscous
Serves 3 (about 1/2 cup each)
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup watermelon, cubed
30 pistachios, shelled, lightly salted
4 leaves fresh mint, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar (or any vinegar you prefer)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
Dash of salt and pepper
On the stove top, put couscous into a pot with broth. Bring to a boil, stir and turn off heat, cover for 5 – 10 minutes for liquid to absorb and couscous to continue cooking. Flake with a fork and allow to cool.
Put cooled couscous in a medium bowl, top with watermelon, pistachios and mint. Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over couscous mixture. This is the time to add cheese, meat, poultry or fish, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 279, Total Fat: 15 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 4 mg, Sodium 153 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein 5 g
Enjoy eating simply,