Keto Watermelon, Prosciutto & Feta Salad. 7.5g net carbs.
It may come as a surprise, but YES, it’s keto! Just check out the macros in the recipe… plenty of good fats, medium protein and a few carbs. If that’s not keto, than what is? 7.5g net carbs is about a third of your daily allowance and totally worth it!
Leave aside ‘lists’ of keto foods and non-keto foods. They serve as guidelines. As long as you adjust your daily food intake so that your macros are within limits, you’ll stay in ketosis no matter what. Obviously, I don’t mean that you can eat pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. Nor do I ever advocate eating junk food that’s ‘low carb’.
What I do mean, is that eating CLEAN KETO entails whole foods, balanced nutrients and natural ingredients. And watermelon certainly ticks all the boxes. Especially if it’s Italian watermelon . It has the lowest carbs with bursting flavour, crunch and sweeteness. Plus it’s super good for health.
5 Reasons to Eat Watermelon
Watermelon is soaked with significant levels of vitamins A, B1, B6 and C, antioxidants and amino acids. Amino acids are the basic building block for protein, and protein is used in virtually every vital function in the body. Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage and cancer. In watermelon, lycopene – one of the most powerful antioxidants – abunds. By providing a shield against free radicals and oxidative damage, lycopene can prevent many chronic ailments and metabolic dysfunctions, like dyslipidemia, diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoporosis, systemic inflammation, etc.
Watermelon (100g) contains 7g net carbs. Blueberries (100g) contain 12g net carbs. Italian Watermelon (100g – BDA database) contains just 3.5g net carbs.
TIP: For maximum lycopene levels, choose the brightest and deepest red watermelon.
Watermelon consists mostly of water — about 92% – with significant amounts of minerals. We all know that minerals tend to be depleted on a keto or very low carb dietary regime. It’s therefore a great choice for both hydration and maintenance of adequate electrolytes.
3) Cardiovascular health
Watermelon is a great natural source of the amino acid L-citrulline. HERE is a study on the influence of citrulline on atherosclerotic mice. THIS STUDY found that watermelon juice can actually reverse atherosclerotic plaques – nasty crusts that eventually dislodge and often cause infarction (heart attacks and strokes).
4) Weight loss
All studies on the cardiovascular benefits of watermelon have also found notable reduction of fat accumulation, especially abdominal fat.
5) Both a fruit and a vegetable
Because it grows from a seed, watermelon is considered a fruit. However, watermelon belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, alongside squash, zucchini, cucumbers and gourds, and it is harvested like vegetables. It’s a conundrum similar to that of tomatoes.
How to Make Keto Watermelon, Prosciutto & Feta Salad
Although I’ve discussed watermelon a lot, this salad contains several other components that make it a powerhouse of nutrients. And preparing it is effortless. Slice, chop and mix. That’s all there is to it.
My only 2 recommendations are:
A) Balsamic vinegar of Modena should contain about 14-16g carbs per 100ml. Any higher means a lot of caramel or sugar were added – choose carefully. Beware of cheap imitations. DO NOT OMIT this ingredient!
B) Try to find Italian seedless watermelon (here we go again with my Italian obsession…lol), as opposed to Chinese or Turkish imports. Italy has very strict rules about agricultural use of pesticides, growth and flavour enhancers, soil improving chemicals and GMO. Therefore, Italian produce, although more expensive, is THE BEST IN THE WORLD.
The Italian seedless is NOT genetically modified, but simply the result of hybridization. Aside it having an intense flavour, and the brightest red colour (remember the lycopene), it’s extremely juicy and crunchy. It will contain at most a few pale, soft seeds that you won’t notice, so prepping it isn’t tedious. You should be able to find it outside Italy, as the seedless quality means it doesn’t spoil as quickly as the seeded varieties, so it can be harvested when ripe and still be exported.
Failing that, take a summer trip to Italy with an empty suitcase and bring back a few ;D
- Yield: 2 portions
- Serving: 1
- Calories: 577
- Fat: 48g
- Net Carbs: 7.5g
- Protein: 25g
- 200g watermelon (net weight)
- 80g lettuce (best if young tender leaves, rather than crunchy type like cos, iceberg, little gem or radicchio)
- 50g zucchini (about ½ a medium - net weight)
- 70g Parma or San Daniele prosciutto
- 100g Greek Feta cheese
- 40g pecan nuts (U.S. option HERE)
- 20g pumpkin seeds (U.S. option HERE)
- a few fresh mint leaves
- ¼ tsp fine Himalayan pink salt (U.S. option HERE)
- 25g extra virgin olive oil (U.S. option HERE)
- 10g balsamic vinegar of Modena (U.S. option HERE)
- de-seed and cut watermelon into small cubes; chop lettuce; shred the prosciutto; slice zucchini thinly; cube Feta cheese; break-up pecans and tear mint leaves.
- place everything in a salad bowl and add pumpkin seeds.
- drizzle salt, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
- toss well and serve immediately.
Metric Kitchen Scales are inexpensive and take up very little space. Click HERE for the ones I use. For U.S. option click HERE.
Italian seedless watermelon is by far your best choice, if you can find it. Otherwise, choose the brightest red flesh watermelon (ask for it to be cut before you buy).
Macros calculated using the BDA database.
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