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Granita is a beautiful Italian dessert from Sicily. Now, I say it’s a dessert but really you could eat it any time of the day. It’s almost half way between a slushy and a sorbet. It’s frozen fruit juice but served with coarse ice crystals rather than the smooth texture of a sorbet. This no sugar watermelon granita is perfect for hot summer days – super refreshing, healthy and cooling.
Is watermelon granita healthy?
This granita is incredibly healthy – it really is just watermelon and a little lime juice. It’s amazing how serving it in a fancy bowl with a spoon makes it appear like it is an indulgent food. Perhaps because it’s reminiscent of a sorbet or ice cream.
Traditional recipes use sugar to make granita. While I think for some variation this is necessary, for watermelon granita I actually believe it makes it too sweet – since melon is already full of natural sweetness. Therefore I tend to make this without any added sugar – and even add a little lime to cut through some of the sweetness.
How do you make it?
Watermelon granita is incredibly easy to make. You simply scoop the watermelon flesh out and pop it in a food blender with some lime juice and blitz. Pour the liquid into a baking tray and place in the freezer for an hour. Each hour thereafter remove the granita and scrape it with a fork and then return to the freezer for another hour. After 3-4 ‘scrapes’ your granita is good to go!
Top tip – if you can get your hands on seedless watermelon I highly recommend it. Here in Dubai, I could only find some really expensive imported seedless watermelon and I really couldn’t justify spending 5 x more than a regular melon. So I deseeded it myself – which did take around 20 minutes for a half watermelon.
How to serve granita?
I love eating this on a hot sunny afternoon, just with a spoon and a little mint to garnish it. Incredibly simple – you can’t go wrong!
I believe that in Italy this is often eaten for breakfast during the summer months – I love that idea and I am certainly going to try it. After all, fruit is a perfect breakfast dish so why not have it in the form of cooling granita?
Another fun way to serve this? Boozy granita! I actually had a zoom call with a friend shortly after making these (as we were, at the time on lockdown here in Dubai). We had planned to have sundowners on the call – so I poured over some Grey Goose, decanted it into a glass and drank it like a slushy through a straw. Yum!
Products that work great for this recipe
Elegant Coupe Cocktail Glasses – Set of 2
Dublin Crystal Collection Dessert Bowls
Russell Hobbs 3-in-1 Blender
Refreshing, cooling, sweet & healthy. This no sugar watermelon granita is the perfect simple recipe to cool off on hot summer days. Made with only fresh ingredients it’s also really good for you!
This recipe makes around 4 portions
- 1/2 watermelon (around 3 kg) – ideally seedless
- 1–2 limes, juice only
1. If your watermelon has seeds remove them (try and get all the black ones out – those small white ones are ok to leave in).
2. Cut the watermelon into chunks and add to a blender. Add the lime juice and blend well.
3. Pour the watermelon into a shallow freezer proof dish – a baking dish is fine. Place in the freezer for 2 hours.
4. Remove the granita and use a fork to scrape the surface until all the solid part in the tray resembles crushed ice. Return to the freezer.
5. Each hour or so repeat the above step until there is no liquid left and the entire mixture is scraped.
6. Serve in dessert bowls or martini glasses. You can transfer any of the mixture that you won’t use straight away into freezer bags to save storage space. It will last up to 1 month in the freezer.
- The prep time indicated is based on you having a seedless melon. If you need to remove the seeds then this will require extra time (it took me around 20 minutes to do half a melon)
- As watermelon is already quite sweet add or reduce the amount of lime juice depending on how sweet you prefer it.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Frozen Dessert
- Method: Blend / Freeze
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 115
- Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 30g
- Protein: 2g
Keywords: frozen, dessert, fruit, snack, italian