Summer in Greece means that watermelon season is in full swing, and the sweet fruits are in abundance. While they’re delicious on their own, the refreshing fruit is the basis of a number of refreshing watermelon recipes that can transport you right back to Greece.
Watermelon is a quintessential Greek food as it is given — usually gratis — at the end of a summertime dinner at tavernas all across the country. The sweet but light fruit is usually the only thing one can eat for dessert after a hearty Greek meal.
Considering that Greece now ranks sixth in the entire world market in watermelon exports, you will never run out of the ingredient for your summertime recipes if you’re in the country!
Greece now produces an impressive 204.46 million kilos (450,757,141 pounds) of watermelons, corresponding to 5.6% of the total exports of the succulent fruit across the globe.
Greek Watermelon Cake from the Island of Milos
This unique watermelon recipe is for karpouzopita, or watermelon cake, which is a traditional sweet from the Greek island of Milos.
Whether you eat your karpouzopita plain or garnished with a dab of Greek-style yogurt or honey, either way, you are sure to enjoy it!
This dessert is fairly low-fat, and can use either white or brown sugar, depending on how sweet you would like it to taste.
¼ – ½ cup sesame seeds
2 pounds watermelon cut in cubes (about the size of walnuts)
½ cup honey + 2 tablespoons for drizzling
2 tablespoons brown sugar or white (adjust accordingly)
¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat oven at 350 Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
2. Remove the seeds from the watermelon. Cut in cubes about the size of a walnut. Place in colander and let it strain for about an hour. Squeeze a bit more with your hands to remove additional liquid.
3. Place the watermelon in a large bowl. Add brown sugar (or white), flour, cinnamon, ½ cup honey and olive oil and mix well with a large spoon while trying not to break the watermelon pieces. The batter will be somewhat liquid.
4. Grease a cake pan with some olive oil (just to cover) and sprinkle the base with sesame seeds (enough to make a crust like formation). Pour over the watermelon mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle some more sesame seeds and bake in the oven for about an hour.
5. Remove, drizzle the rest of the honey over the cake and let it cool. Serve it room temperature or cool it in the fridge and be sure to top it off with some Greek yogurt or honey!
Greek Watermelon Mojito — an essential watermelon recipe for Hot Greek summers
Spice up your Greek hot summer nights or if you can’t make it to Greece this summer, at least you can enjoy the vibrant colors and distinct flavors of a Greek Summer with this drink.
1 ½ ounces rum
4 pieces fresh Greek watermelon (or 1 oz. fresh watermelon puree)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce sparkling water
6 mint leaves and one mint sprig
1. In a tall mixing glass muddle watermelon and mint leaves with simple syrup. Add rum and lime juice then fill with ice and shake vigorously.
2. Strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Top with sparkling water and swirl gently. Garnish with mint sprig. Enjoy!
Watermelon Feta Salad
A twist on the traditional horiatiki, or Greek salad, this refreshing watermelon and feta recipe has grown popular across Greece and Cyprus.
Although the combination of watermelon and feta cheese may seem a bit strange, the sweet and salty elements work perfectly together, creating the ultimate summer dish!
For the salad:
1kg watermelon, seedless and cut into chunks (35oz.)
250g feta cheese, cut into cubes or crumbled (9 oz.)
a bunch of mint, leaves only, chopped
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
For the dressing:
1/4 of a cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Start by removing the rind and seeds from the watermelon, and cut it into triangular chunks.
2. Cut the feta cheese into small cubes, and place both into a large bowl.
3. Slice the onions into very thin slices and place in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Then add the chopped mint leaves and set aside. Add chopped cucumber to the mix as well.
4. Prepare the dressing in a small bowl add the olive oil, lemon juice and brown sugar and season. Whisk the ingredients to combine, taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. Pour the dressing over the watermelon feta salad and toss to coat.