Chef Fran Costigan

Summer Solstice Recipe & Book Giveaway

Watermelon with Chocolate Seeds

Frozen Granita Needs No Ice Cream Machine

I am known to my friends and family as the odd one who says, “bring it on” of the summer heat in the city but I love summer and don’t mind the heat and humidity!   I drink lots of water, not iced, and eat lots of watermelon– chunked or sliced and preferably with a healthy  squeeze of lime, my favorite watermelon, tomato, arugula salad and I drink watermelon juice. My favorite iced watermelon treat is the easy to make, refreshing and delicious  Watermelon Granita from Vegan Chocolate. Granitas are typically made by freezing fruity liquid in a shallow pan and scraping the mixture with a fork at regular intervals as it freezes. That’s pretty simple, but I didn’t want to be tied to setting a timer and scraping. I had heard about making granita in a food processor using frozen cubes of fruit purée, and I decided to test the process. It worked perfectly. The granita was fluffy and the watermelon taste shone through.




  • 1 1⁄2 pounds / 680 grams watermelon, cubed and seeded
  • 1⁄4 cup / 50 grams organic granulated sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
  • 1 tablespoon / 15 ml fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 ounces / 28 to 57 grams dark chocolate (any percentage), chopped into small chunks for the “seeds” (use more if you like)
  • Flaked sea salt (optional)

1. Purée the watermelon cubes in a food processor or blender and pour into a bowl. (You should have 2 cups / 480 ml of juice.) Add the powdered sugar and lime juice to the purée and whisk briskly until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until hard. This can take up to 24 hours.

3. Make the granita: Put a 2-quart container with a lid into the freezer. Transfer the frozen cubes to a food processor. Limit the number of cubes to no more than a double layer at a time so that the granita does not get slushy. Pulse a dozen or so times in 2 to 3-second bursts until the cubes are finely chopped. The number of pulses will depend on your machine.

4. Scrape the granita into the chilled container, cover the container, and return it to the freezer; repeat with the remaining cubes if necessary.

Serving: The granita is ready to eat right out of the food processor. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with as many chocolate “seeds” as you like. I believe watermelon benefits from a sprinkling of flaked sea salt, and if you agree, sprinkle a bit over each bowl. Keeping: Freeze the granita in a covered container. For the best flavor and texture, eat the granita within one week. Fluff with a fork before serving.


Photo © Kate Lewis 2013



Elizabeth Castoria, author

HOW TO BE VEGAN by Elizabeth Castoria

Elizabeth’s slim but mighty book had me laughing out loud, nodding yes and underlining many passages with my favorite pink highlighter. I particularly liked Chapter 5: Don’t Be A Jerk, which puts a fresh spin on the usual questions, and explains how to be a good vegan guest and a vegan host. The flowchart for sucessful party planning is brilliant!!  In fact, I found all the graphics and charts in the book to be extremely useful and beautifully designed. The colored-coded produce lists make good sense. 

Then, there is the food of course. Elizabeth says, “Enough talk—It’s time to eat”, and has included 50 enticing recipes, all using familiar ingredients, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even dessert. Variations are encouraged.

As the book jacket says, How to Be Vegan “Demystifies, destigmatizes and uncomplicates the vegan lifestyle.”

I highly recommend How to Be Vegan to those who are clueless about veganism, or thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, to new vegans, and long-time vegans (including any of the you aren’t vegan enough vegans), and to everyone who is just looking for a good read.The book makes a perfect gift to give friends and families of vegans.

Elizabeth’s publisher Avery is giving away a copy of How to Be Vegan. Enter below! Contest ends at midnight eastern time on Friday, July 4th.


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52 thoughts on “Summer Solstice Recipe & Book Giveaway

  1. Michael Suchman

    I have tried so many times to make granita, but it never worked out. Until now, every other recipe I saw required constantly taking the mixture out of the freezer, scraping it with a fork and then putting it back to freeze more. It was incredibly time consuming. I LOVE this method of using the food processor. Genius!

    1. Fran Post author

      Hi Michael,
      I’m glad to see that I was not the only one granita liker who didn’t much make them as it meant being tied to stirring and scraping. This method, born of necessity, works a charm!

    1. Fran Post author

      Mac, the granita is very refreshing and truly one of my favorite treats. I admit to adding more chocolate ‘seeds’ to the watermelon than specified in the recipe!

  2. Terri Cole

    My tip for newbie vegans is DO NOT lose your sense of humor! I used to get so aggravated by a family member who asked me (every time we were at family gatherings) “What are you having, tree bark?”. Then I told another vegan about his teasing and she cracked up and reminded me just how funny his question was! Now when he asks his question I reply with a big smile “Yep, tree bark! And it’s delicious!”

    1. Fran Post author

      Terri, I couldn’t agree with you more. Bravo for handling the annoying question with humor!! Angry vegans don’t make any sense.

  3. Adam

    I love books like this, even though I’m not a new vegan, they’re great resources for helping to educate others and to recommend to others looking for information.

    1. Fran Post author

      I agree Adam, and there are more and better resources every day now!! This one, How to Be Vegan is particualary helpful!

    1. Fran Post author

      Perfection is the enemy of most everything. When it comest to being ‘vegan enough’, sometimes people are the opposite of compassion and that is not ok. Thank you Lydia for being kind and smart!

    1. Fran Post author

      I know this book is a great resource. Good luck with the contest, and if you dont’ win, I hope you’ll buy a copy!

  4. LG McKnight

    I’ll definitely try this… I love watermelon, but I’m the only one in my house who eats it, so it’s generally not worthwhile to buy and bring one home.

    1. Fran Post author

      I’m glad you have a reason to buy watermelon. I live alone and eat lots of this magical fruit. Did you see the list of health benefits on the newsletter?

  5. Denise

    I am loving eating a plant strong diet, I never thought I would/could do it!! So glad my daughter convinced me to try it.I am healthier then I have ever been!! (53 years old here, it’s never too late!!) For me it was taking it slowly and trying new things. And my family is slowly now starting to make the changes too. 🙂

  6. Korie B

    I cannot stress enough to follow vegs: remain positive and supportive of everyone journeys! When non-vegans ask questions, answer informatively, don’t lecture. That just scares people away and gives us a bad image!

    1. Fran Post author

      How to Vegan is fantastic! And I’m glad you will be trying the recipe for Watermelon Granita with Chocolate Seeds in Vegan Chocolate> Good luck with the contest!

  7. sarah robertson

    I have found my most pressing issue is creativity with different taste preferences around me and the non-supportive friends or family members outside the home. I could use this book indeed!

    1. Fran Post author

      The book talks about ‘nonsupportive’ and even hostile people. Have humor and do what works for you. Good luck! This book will definitely help you. So will offering really good desserts! It alleviates a lot of tension around ‘vegan’ and banished negativity!!

  8. Elizabeth Emmons

    I would say the most pressing issue for me is dating someone who is a vegetarian. Thankfully, I am now but I always worried about that as I like to keep an open mind about my partner but also find that this is an important aspect of someone I would like to date. Getting some good advice on this topic would be useful for everyone, I think!

  9. Jen

    I think the most pressing issue is support from those around you – from family and friends to restaurant servers. Having that support makes things so much easier!

  10. Shannon

    I have been vegan for over 2 years, and for me I think it’s all about remaining educated. I am so passionate about the ethical reasons behind veganism, and it’s so important for me to read as many books, watch as many documentaries, and talk to other vegans as much as possible. I find that there are just too many resources out there to not take advantage of them!

  11. Michelle Micci

    Always read labels..more than once… But even if you slip by accident we’ve all been there.. Dont beat yourself up over it….

    1. Fran Post author

      I’m glad you like the recipe Dina. These quick, easy, versatile not too sweet cookies freeze beautifully, baked and unbaked!

  12. Pingback: 50+ Best Watermelon Recipes

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