With an innovative mix of tastes and textures, this dish is a great addition to summer menus. Also, July is National Watermelon Month and we should celebrate the Florida harvest. Available from late March until mid-July, the Florida watermelon crop comes mainly from the western parts of the state, including north Collier to Columbia counties.

Lemony Quinoa and Watermelon Salad
Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons agave syrup
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Coarse salt to taste
2 cups cooked black quinoa
2 3/4 cups watermelon cubes
1 kiwi, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons shredded or shaved coconut (optional)
1/2 cup candied pecans (see note)
Fresh mint for garnish

1. In a medium mixing bowl, blend thoroughly the agave syrup, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, rice wine vinegar, and salt. Add the cooked quinoa and toss until fully coated. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
2. Fold in the watermelon cubes, diced kiwi coconut, and candied nuts.
3. Divide the salad among four serving bowls and garnish each with a fresh mint sprig.
How to make candied pecans: Toss 1/2 cup pecans with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Mix a dash each of ground cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cayenne, cumin, and salt with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Toss nuts with this spice blend and roast in a 350F oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Cool completely before using.
SOURCE: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Click here to visit Heather’s Florida Kitchen.


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