Top 5 Ways to Use Melons

A sweet juicy melon on a hot summer day is one of summer’s best rewards, isn’t it? When I was a kid, I visited my aunt and uncle’s watermelon farm in Idaho during the summers. We would each pick out our favorite watermelon in the field, pick it up, throw it down to crack it open, and eat out the heart with our grubby little paws. On those hot, dusty days, nothing tasted better! I can smell the sweet watermelon nectar just thinking about it.

Varieties of melon at the Davis farmers market.

Ever since then, I have been totally in love with summer’s bounty of melons: watermelons, crenshaws, cantaloupes, honeydews—and many more unusual varieties beyond these. Melons are so sweet and yummy; and they’re really at their best, served simply and unadorned. But they are also fabulous in so many recipes. I have melons growing in my garden each summer, and I am enamored with their cheery flowers and curling vines as the fruits begin to emerge.

Cantaloupe growing on a farm in California

These fruits are not only delicious, but they are packed with hydrating fluid, fiber, vitamin C, and phytochemicals linked with their color—all for a skinny little calorie load. For example, did you know that watermelon contains lycopene—the compound linked with prostate cancer protection? Each melon has different plant compounds linked with their color, offering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. That’s why I’m sharing my Top 5 Ways to Use Melons, just in time for your summer celebrations. Don’t forget to enjoy these a few times a week while they are in season.

My Top 5 Ways to Use Melons

Watermelon at the Pasadena farmers market. 

1. Au Naturel. One of the very best ways to enjoy melons is in their natural form. Just a wedge with breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert is the way to go!

2. Fruit Skewers. A favorite way to highlight melons is in pretty little fruit skewers. Just chop melon into chunks, along with other summer fruits, such as strawberries, peach slices, kiwi, pineapple, and grapes, and thread them on a skewer. You can also serve skewers with a healthy dip, such as my strawberry tofu dip with fruit skewers in my book  The Plant-Powered Diet.

Layer melons into parfaits and smoothie bowls, such as this recipe for Watermelon Ginger Smoothie Bowl.

3. Parfaits. A simple melon parfait is one of the best no-fuss, no-cook, hands-down delicious, and healthy breakfasts, lunches or snacks in the summertime. Just layer cubed melon with plant-based yogurt, granola, dried fruit, and nuts or seeds.

Watermelon Basil Slushie

4. Smoothies and Beverages. Drop a few cubes of melon in a blender with a bit of lemon juice and you can whip up a delicious fruity drink in no time. Or simply add cubed melon to your favorite smoothie recipe, with a bit of plant-based milk, seeds, nuts, and greens. Check out this Watermelon Basil Slushie for starts.

Cantaloupe Salad with Radishes and Pumpkin Seeds

5. Salads. Melons just shine in green salads—offering just the right amount of crunchy, juicy sweetness. Try my watermelon salad in The Plant-Powered Diet, or this yummy cantaloupe salad.

For other tips for enjoying whole plant foods, check out:

Top 5 Ways to Use Avocados
Top 5 Ways to Use Carrots
Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Strawberries
Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Cucumbers