A refreshing Cantaloupe Salad with mint, lime, and pepitas with optional crumbled feta (optional) – a tasty healthy summer salad, perfect for potlucks and gatherings.
When you cut into a perfectly ripe cantaloupe, what you’ll notice first is its fragrance: honey-scented, floral and slightly musky. You’ll know you picked a good one if its juicy and well-hydrated on the inside. Finding the perfect cantaloupe is the secret to this Cantaloupe Salad recipe, and most often you’ll find the best ones at your local farmers market.
Cantaloupes let you know when they are ripe for the picking, because the vine naturally slips from the fruit when it’s time to harvest. You’ll also notice the skin will turn creamy-beige under the “netted” pattern on the melon.
When ripe, their sweet smell will permeate the rind. If you can’t smell it, it isn’t ripe. When they are ripe, they are heavenly!
So be sure to look for the creamy beige color under the “netting” and give them a sniff. Often conventional grocery store cantaloupes are picked “green”, so if this your only option, try letting the cantaloupe ripen on the counter for a few days until it turns creamy and fragrant. The salad will be much better, I promise!
Finally, if you cut into a cantaloupe and it has any sour or astringent notes, it is past it’s prime. To stop a cantaloupe from ripening further, place it in the fridge.
This salad is made with ingredients that would pair well with both Mediterranean or Mexican fare. I wanted to keep it pretty universal. Feel free to play with the herbs to achieve your perfect paring. I would serve this salad with grilled things like this Moroccan Chicken, or even something as simple as grilled tacos!
Because every melon is different with different degrees of sweetness, there is a bit of flavor adjusting at the end, adding a bit more lime or sweetness. Find the balance, and you will be happy.
The Cantaloupe salad is also great without the feta, so feel free to leave it off. Sometimes I’ll add cucumber ribbons so feel free to add if so inclined!
I hope these warm summer days are treating you well. Let the sunlight permeate the ground of your being.
A refreshing Cantaloupe Salad with Mint, Lime and Pepitas and optional crumbled feta (optional) – a tasty healthy summer salad, perfect for potlucks and gatherings.
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely sliced
- a bowl of cold salted water ( 1 teaspoon salt per cup of water)
- 1 medium cantaloupe (3-3.25lb) rind and seeds removed.
- 1/2 a jalapeno chili, very finely diced ( 1–2 tablespoons)
- zest from 1 small lime
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon honey (or vegan alternative like agave)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander, or crushed, toasted wholes seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, or crushed, toasted wholes seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2–1 teaspoon aleppo chili flakes ( optional)
Place sliced onions in a bowl of generously salted, cold water. Set aside. ( To remove bitterness)
Cut cantaloupe in half, spoon out seeds, cut into large wedges, and remove rind with a paring knife. Slice each wedge into 1/2 inch thin slices. Then cut slices into 1-inch, bite-size, triangular pieces and place in a big wide flat serving dish ( or bowl). Add jalapeno, drain the onions and scatter over top, and add the lime zest.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Toss with the cantaloupe. Taste for acid and salt and honey. Every melon is different with various degrees of sweetness. If too sweet, add another squeeze of lime, if not sweet enough, perhaps more honey. Adjust to your taste.
Scatter the fresh herbs over top, add the pumpkin seeds and optional feta. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This salad likes to be cold! Can be made several hours ahead.
Cutting the cantaloupe into thinner pieces rather than “chunks” seems to work better here.
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