Refreshing Watermelon Soup
My wife, Romi, and I discovered this deliciously refreshing soup on a trip to Cancun a few years ago. The chef from the hotel was nice enough to email us the recipe after we got home and it’s become a summer favorite. In Mexico they served it in a chilled coconut, but we’re not that fancy back at home. Good old soup bowls do just fine.
Not only is the chilled soup perfect for a hot summer day, but watermelon is hydrating and packs a ton of health benefits. Watermelon is rich in carotenoids, including cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein and lycopene. These beneficial phyotonutrients aren’t reported on nutrition labels, but they’re just as important as your standard vitamins and minerals.
There’s a long list of anti-inflammatory foods, and watermelon is one of my favorites. Plant nutrients (phytonutrients) in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy circulation. Watermelon is particularly rich in citrulline and lycopene. And for all you guys out there, research shows lycopene is important for prostate health too.
One serving of this soup gives you 9-11 milligrams of lycopene. Per serving, watermelon has more lycopene than that other popular red fruit, the tomato. Yes, a tomato is technically a fruit. Plus, the form of lycopene found in watermelon is thought be more absorbable than the type of lycopene found in tomato.
While watermelon is not a great source of protein, the protein it does contain is high in citrulline. This amino acid is converted in the body to nitric oxide (NO). Don’t be fooled by nitric oxide being abbreviated NO, because you definitely should be saying yes to more NO. It dilates (relaxes and expands) blood vessels. This can help lower blood pressure by increasing the diameter of the blood vessels and allowing easier blood flow easier. When blood flow improves, more nutrients are delivered to your brain, skin, eyes and all tissues throughout your body.
The pumpkins seeds are a great source of zinc and healthy phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, sitostanol, and avenasterol. Red onion contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants and have additional health benefits.
This nutritious and refreshing soup is a perfect way to round out a healthy meal. Since it’s relatively low in protein, I recommend pairing it with a protein-rich dish or follow it up with my Morning Smoothie recipe, which is perfect anytime of the day.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chill time: Minimum 30 minutes
What You’ll Need
- All the ingredients.
- A large pot or mixing bowl.
- A blender (I prefer a hand blender for convenience)
Ingredients (use organic when possible)
♥ 1 medium watermelon (seedless preferred)
♥ 1 red onion
♥ 1 lemon
♥ 1 serrano chili (optional)
♥ 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
♥ 1 tablespoon, fresh mint leaves, minced
♥ Salt (I prefer Himalayan salt because of its trace minerals)
Place into a large pot:
♥ 6 cups cut watermelon
♥ 4 tablespoons chopped red onion
♥ 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
♥ (optional) 2 teaspoons chopped serrano chili
♥ ½ teaspoon salt to taste
♥ ¾ teaspoon black pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients to the desired consistency.
Place the blended ingredients in the refrigerator to chill. The amount of time you leave it in the refrigerator before eating it depends on how cold you want it. I typically cut and refrigerate the watermelon in advance so the soup is ready sooner to eat. If the watermelon is pre-chilled, put all the blended ingredients in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so the soup can get a little colder and to allow the flavors from all the ingredients to mix together.
Set aside to use as a garnish:
♥ 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
♥ 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
Once the soup is the desired temperature, serve garnished with pumpkin seeds and mint.
Nutrition per serving (approximate)
Total fat 4.2 grams
Saturated fat 0.7 grams (very low)
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Total carbohydrate 21 grams
Dietary fiber 2.4 grams
Total sugars 66.6 grams
Protein 1.7 grams
Vitamin D, negligible
Calcium 13 mg
Iron 0.6 mg
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