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0 Texas Treehugger | RECIPE: “Last-Summer-Blast Salad” | Text and photo by Christy Ilfrey

The annual ritual of celebrating the final days of summer (or "freedom!," as the kids say) and preparing for another stimulating year of learning has begun. Gone are barefoot days at the beach and lounging all day by the pool (unless you live here, of course.) The fruitful flavors of summer are waning, too, and whether or not we intend it to be so, our palates will soon anticipate a different palette of foods. It’s only fitting that we send the kiddos of all ages back to school with one last hurrah, one last summer blast.

I put together this raw salad to help ease the transition to fall for students and parents alike. It is packed with nutrients, especially vitamins A, B6, C and K, and magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron and lycopene (1.5 times that in tomatoes!), with a little protein. This low-calorie, low-fat dish contains qualities that make it anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer, including breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate, as well as cardiovascular disease. Two of the ingredients are more than 90% water, making this a tasty way to stay hydrated. Watermelon is particularly useful in cleansing our bodies, skin and hair, giving us a fresh start for the new school year. All of the ingredients in this dish can be grown here in Texas’ Coastal Bend. They may be harvested, prepared and stored for a few days. My version of this recipe is raw and prepared manually, off-grid. Or, you may choose to toss everything into a blender and prepare it “on the grid” for a Last Summer Blast Smoothie. Add a handful of spinach or kale or mixed greens for even more body cleansing at the cellular level.

Last-Summer-Blast Salad
  • 1c. watermelon cubes or balls
  • 1c. pineapple, cubed
  • 1/2c. cucumber, sliced and cut into wedges
  • 2T. mint, coarsely (and gently) chopped
Place watermelon cubes or balls in a bowl. Add pineapple then sprinkle cucumber wedges on top. Mix and serve with mint garnish. Or, blend together watermelon, pineapple and cucumber. Pour and garnish with mint.

Christy Ilfrey and her husband David own and operate NativeDave.com. Their mission: "To make positive changes in our community by way of sustainable landscape design and consultation services, speaking engagements and writing projects. We strive to educate, entertain and empower audiences to conserve, preserve, restore and celebrate Nature."

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