A Three-Course Watermelon Meal That Will Freshen Up Your Summer Dinner Table

Sliced watermelon

For many years, my mom’s reliance on the Costco bulk fruit trays to liven up summertime meals meant I associated watermelon with pinkish, half-frozen lumps that tasted mostly like the fridge they’d been stored in for days. The first time I cut up a fresh watermelon and ate it standing over my sink, juice streaming down to make my elbows sticky, was a game-changer. I don’t know about you, but my favorite way to enjoy watermelon is ripe and straight from the rind, preferably while outside or maybe standing in the bathtub (so to avoid juice getting…well, everywhere). But if you find yourself wanting to switch things up, here are some no-fuss recipes to fully make use of this hot-weather treat.

First Course: Balsamic watermelon salad

If you’ve never combined nutritional yeast with watermelon before, don’t knock until you try it!

Balsamic vinegar


  • 3 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • Four leaves fresh basil, torn
  • 1.5 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • Toss watermelon, cucumber, basil, vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl.
  • Add in yeast, salt, and pepper, then toss again.
  • Serve fresh! Serves 2-4.


Second Course: Tofu steaks with grilled watermelon

For elevating your barbecue game beyond “freezer-burned veggie burger.” With thanks to My Darling Vegan for the tofu steak marinade inspiration!


  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 crushed rosemary sprig
  • Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 1 small watermelon, cut into triangular wedges
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil



  • Slice tofu into ½ inch-thick slices. Press for at least 30 minutes (wrapping it in a clean dish towel and putting it under a heavy pot works great for this).
  • Whisk soy sauce, syrup, olive oil, rosemary, yeast, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to make a marinade. Feel free to adjust ingredients to taste based on preference.
  • Marinade tofu for one hour.
  • Brush watermelon slices lightly with olive oil on each side. Add optional salt to taste.
  • Turn grill on high.
  • Grill tofu for six to eight minutes on each side, or until deep brown.
  • Grill watermelon for three to four minutes on each side.
  • Serves 2-4.


Dessert Course: Just plain old watermelon.

Just kidding. Make a watermelon gelato, yum—inspired by this recipe from Dreena Burton.

Watermelon gelato


  • Five cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup sliced overripe banana
  • ½ Tbsp. agave nectar (optional)



  • Freeze the watermelon on a baking sheet, at least three to four hours.
  • Add frozen watermelon, banana, and agave (if desired) to food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse and then puree until smooth.
  • Serve right away, or for a firmer texture, freeze for an hour and then serve!
  • Serves 2-4. Or one. It’s your dessert, you live your best life!


Written by: Kat Jercich