Many of you have visited Greece during the summer. Perhaps, you enjoyed a dinner in a Greek taverna where at the end of the meal, they bring you a free plate of sliced watermelon. Well, watermelons are a part of our culture. They grow all around Greece, especially in the Peloponnese, and they play a significant role in Greek diet. Even if you haven’t visited Greece, you might remember your childhood obsession with this undescribably attractive fruit. During the times of high thermometer, it could be the most beloved fruit for so many people around the globe.
But the watermelon is loaded with fructose!
Yes, it is. Even though it’s packed with a significant content of fibre, minerals and vitamins, watermelon is not something you can include in a well-balanced keto diet. With 7g of sugar per 100g of fruit, (Greek varieties definitely have more than 7g, especially if the fruit is fully riped) you would be kicked out of ketosis easily. Since this fruit is very poor in fat or protein, all the calories come from that infamous sugar. The seductive smell is telling us that there must be something good about it. Of course, the mineral and vitamin content!
Not only does the rind contain plenty of health-promoting and blood-building chlorophyll, but the rind actually contains more of the amino acid citrulline than the pink flesh. Citrulline is converted to arginine in your kidneys, and not only is this amino acid important for heart health and maintaining your immune system, but it has been researched to have potential therapeutic value in over 100 health conditions.8
Keto friendly cousin – cucumber
When I think of watermelon, especially its distinguished smell, something else comes to mind! Hmmm, well, yes, of course – cucumber! This thin and long cousin of watermelon smells almost the same when you cut it. You know that awesome feeling when you drink cucumber water? it reminds me of the moment when they cut watermelon for you to try in the market. This came as a blast of inspiration to me! I will create an ultimate keto recipe for watermelon granita that will have almost no sugar! How? Well, I’ll come up with a perfect solution, but you’ll have to prepare your red ice a day before!
Dealing with the colour
I don’t want to add extra sugar, so I will not knock on the door of other berries, (believe it or not, watermelon is a berry too) such as strawberries or raspberries. Although this could be a great version too! I will keep it as low in sugar as possible by utilising herbs that give that awesome red colour! A well-infused tea of rosehip (almost no sugar content) and just a little bit of hibiscus (careful, this herb has a certain amount of sugar) will be turned into our red ice!
Increasing the aroma
Even though we will use cucumber as a base, we still want that wonderful watermelon scent. So, go for it. Most of it is hidden in the white part of the watermelon rind. It’s very low in sugar, and we will need just 40g of it.
But it has to be sweet!
Nothing but good old stevia. You’ll use it as a sweetener but, of course, stevia needs lemon and salt to mimic real sweetness of the watermelon. Alternatively, you can use erythritol, but I wouldn’t recommend it in this granita. Why? Well, you want to spend your day on the beach, not in the toilet. Laxative properties of erythritol will not combine well with a high fibre granita we are preparing here! So, let’s see the recipe…
Watermelon Granita goes Keto
Preparation time: 5 minutes (prepare the red ice in advance)
- 1 small cucumber peeled
- 40 g white part of watermelon rind
- 1/2 lemon
- 15 cubes red ice (prepared with frozen rosehip and hibiscus tea and natural red colouring)
- 1 tbsp stevia (or according to your sweetener power)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 70 ml mineral water
- 300 ml filtered water
- 2 tea bags of rosehip and hibiscus tea
- 3-4 drops of natural food colouring – red
Boil the water together with the tea bags and let it cool down. Add the food colouring and pour it in ice-cubes moulds. Freeze it.
I would recommend making this a day before!
- Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds. Cut it into cubes. place it in the blender.
- Cut the white part of watermelon rind and add it to the cucumber
- Peel the lemon and cut it into slices. Add to the blender
- Add in stevia, 15 cubes of red ice (add more if you would like) and water
- Blend it for 1-2 minutes
- Serve in a long glass and garnish with some lemon peel or a slice of cucumber
You might ask why haven’t I created the nutritional label? Trust me, you don’t need it… Just check the cucumber and lemon macros, not even worth creating a label! You and your ketosis are very safe with a glass of this awesome watermelon granita!