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Watermelon, Lime & Mint Granita
Italian ice, aka granita, is a cool dessert for kids or sophisticates. Renee Comet /USA WEEKEND. Food Styling /Lisa Cherkasky.

This quenching fruit-ice is the ultimate summer delight. It takes a favorite seasonal fruit — watermelon — to frosty new heights with a zesty punch of lime, fresh mint leaves and just a touch of sugar.

It looks enticing with its green-flecked, stunning pink color. That hue comes from lycopene, a powerful antioxidant typically associated with tomatoes. Plus, melons are rich in vitamins A and C. For a twist, use cantaloupe or honeydew melon and substitute basil or cilantro for mint.

It’s a breeze to make: Just purée everything in a blender then freeze, scraping it with a fork about every half-hour, so the ice crystals stay small. Scoop the granita into a cone to make it kid-friendly or, for an elegant, grown-up dessert, serve it in a cocktail glass with a fresh herb garnish.

Watermelon, Lime and Mint Granita

• 9 cups (about 4 pounds with the rind) seeded and cubed watermelon
• 1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
• 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
• 1/3 cup sugar

Working in two batches, purée the watermelon in a food processor. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve, forcing the liquid out with a wooden spoon. Discard the solids.

Combine the watermelon purée, mint, lime juice and sugar in a 9- by 13-inch metal pan. Place the mixture in the freezer, scraping it thoroughly with a fork every 20 to 30 minutes for about 2½ hours, until the granita resembles coarse crystals. Scrape one last time and spoon into parfait glasses or bowls. Top with a mint sprig.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Per serving (1 cup): 70 calories, 18g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium

Recipe reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press Inc., from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, by Ellie Krieger. Copyright by Ellie Krieger.

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Ellie Krieger is host of the The Food Network’s hit show “Healthy Appetite,” which airs on The Cooking Channel. The author of three cookbooks, her latest is Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy. A registered dietitian, Ellie has helped out with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and has teamed up with New York City SchoolFood initiative, where she created healthy, delicious menu items for students citywide.