Haugen: Sweeten up summer with melons

Published 8:00 am Saturday, July 5, 2014

Melons make for a refreshing and lower-calorie treat during the warmer months. Most melons weigh in at under 50 calories per one-cup serving and contain fiber. Watermelons contain vitamin C and potassium, as well as a high water content, which contributes to hydration.  Cantaloupe is an excellent source of folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Honeydew melons are an excellent source of vitamin C. You can eat melon alone, or add it to smoothies, salads or desserts.

Choosing a good melon

• Watermelons: Look for the “yellow belly” — a flatter yellowish spot, which indicates it sat on the vine to ripen.

• Cantaloupe: Smell the cantaloupe. If it doesn’t have a smell, it likely doesn’t have a taste either. You want a musky sweet smell to indicate a ripe cantaloupe. You also need to touch it. The skin should give a little, but not feel mushy. You also want to look it over to make sure there are no bruises, spots or punctures.

• Honeydew Melon: This melon should have a golden color; brownish freckling is fine and indicates a very sweet melon. The melon should feel firm, but not hard. Smell the melon. It should have a sweet smell. If you shake it, you should be able to hear the seeds rattling around inside.

 

Melon and Chicken Pasta Salad

Makes: 6 servings (1 1/3 cups each)

All You Need:

Dressing:

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup low-fat buttermilk

¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise

3 tbsp. chopped, fresh tarragon, or 1 tbsp. dried

1 tbsp. Hy-Vee distilled white vinegar

Pasta Salad: 

8 ounces (about 3 cups) whole-wheat bowtie pasta

2 cups cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon

2 cups thinly sliced baby spinach

2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken

¼ cup Hy-Vee dried cranberries

¼ cup (about 3 ounces) chopped prosciutto

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

All You Do:

1. To prepare dressing, mash garlic and salt in a medium bowl with the back of a spoon into a chunky paste. Add the buttermilk, mayonnaise, tarragon, and vinegar; whisk until combined.

2.  To prepare pasta salad, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool. Add melon, spinach, chicken, cranberries, prosciutto, pepper and the dressing; toss to coat.

3. To make ahead, cover and refrigerate, undressed, for up to 1 day. Toss with dressing about 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 294 calories; 6 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 54 mg cholesterol; 633 mg sodium; 38 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g added sugars; 25 g protein

—Source: www.eatingWell.com