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The taste of summer: watermelon cucumber salad

The taste of summer: watermelon cucumber salad

Here in the Big Easy, we’re used to hot and humid summers. Maybe that’s why we like watermelon so much; there’s no summer snack quite as refreshing as a piece of crisp, juicy watermelon. But combine it with the subtly sweet taste of cucumber and the unique tang of feta cheese, and you have a tasty summer treat that’s also loaded with nutrition.

“Watermelon and cucumber are both healthy and refreshing choices, making this salad a great option for a summer snack or side dish,” said Devin Brittain, registered dietitian at West Jefferson Medical Center. “Both are low in calories and rich in vitamin C and other important nutrients. They also have high water content and promote hydration, which is especially important on hot days. Feta cheese adds additional benefits like calcium.”

Wonderful watermelon

Watermelon is not only sweet and delicious, but it is also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients. Antioxidants fight free radicals, chemicals in the body that can harm cells and contribute to chronic diseases like high blood pressure and cancer. Watermelon is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties and may help lower stroke and cancer risk. It also contains glutathione, an antioxidant that has been linked to multiple health benefits, including helping to ward off diseases like cancer, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Watermelon is also filled with vitamins C and A, promoting eye health and healthy bones and supporting the immune system. It is also one of the few foods high in citrulline, an amino acid that can help repair muscles and fuel healthy blood vessels.

Cool cucumbers

Cucumber is another fruit (that’s right—it’s not a vegetable) that is packed to the brim with health benefits. This tasty snack contains phytonutrients, plant chemicals that help protect against diseases. These include flavonoids, lignans and triterpenes, which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and may help prevent chronic diseases like heart and lung diseases. Cucumbers are also rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant that supports the immune system and skin and eye health and helps fight off cancer.

Guilt-free summer snack

The perfect way to enjoy watermelon and cucumber is by making a simple watermelon cucumber salad, complete with feta, mint and white balsamic vinegar. Not only will you reap the many health benefits, but you’ll also feel refreshed and satisfied, whether you eat it as a snack or a side dish to a summer meal. The recipe below can also be easily doubled.

A salad can also offer a good way to encourage kids to try new, healthier foods. Invite your young picky eaters to help you make the salad, which can help entice them to try it.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 2 cups watermelon, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup English cucumber, half skin on, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: low-sodium chili-lime seasoning


  1. Combine the watermelon and cucumber in a mixing bowl.
  2. Chop the mint using the “chiffonade” method: stack several mint leaves, roll them up and thinly slice.
  3. Sprinkle the mint in the bowl with the watermelon and cucumber.
  4. Immediately before serving, add the feta cheese and balsamic vinegar. If desired, add chili-lime seasoning to taste. Combine well.
  5. Serve as a snack with wheat rolls or as a side dish with chicken, fish or other summer entrees.


Calories: 239

Fat: 6g

Saturated fat: 0g

Sodium: 812mg

Total carbohydrate: 35g

Protein: 13g

Looking for more healthy recipes to enjoy this summer? Check out West Jefferson Medical Center’s collection of recipes.