This Mediterranean Cantaloupe Salad with olives and mint is a refreshing summer salad. It's sweet, salty and a little spicy, all in one bite! Quick and easy.
This summery Mediterranean Cantaloupe Salad combines sweet cantaloupe cubes with red onion, olives, parsley and mint. It's tossed with a spicy honey-lemon dressing. Sweet and salty!
I planned to make this Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Poppyseed Dressing this week, but then switched gears and decided to keep it free of greens, just for a change.
With fresh melons available now, I made this gourmet melon salad instead, testing it to get it just the way we liked it. We've been eating it all week! It's absolutely delicious alongside chicken or fish dishes. This week we paired it with cod topped with chimichurri sauce.
Ready to make this sweet and savoury cantaloupe salad?
- cantaloupe: see my suggestions below for how to choose a ripe cantaloupe
- red onion: adds a tangy bite and gives a nice contrast to the sweet melon
- lemon juice: to soften the onion. The onion and lemon juice form the base for an oil-free dressing. Oil-based dressings may not adhere to melon if it is particularly juicy, so using lemon juice with onion and herbs makes a good alternative.
- parsley: fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
- mint: fresh mint leaves, finely chopped add a fresh, bright flavour
- olives: Kalamata or your favourite pitted Mediterranean olives
- honey: use a little or use a lot depending on the sweetness of your cantaloupe. For Keto diet, substitute Monkfruit sweetener with erythritol.
- paprika: adds a warm spicy flavour
- cayenne pepper: just a tiny amount to add that necessary bite!
- salt: use sparingly, as too much salt will cause the cantaloupe to release its liquid which will water down the dressing.
Here's an overview of what you'll do. Complete instructions are in the recipe card below.
Make this melon salad all in one bowl!
- Begin by combining thinly sliced red onion with lemon juice. Let stand while you peel the cantaloupe, cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut into bite-sized chunks.
- Next, add the honey (or Monkfruit sweetener), paprika, cayenne pepper and salt to the bowl, stirring to combine.
- Add cantaloupe chunks, finely chopped olives, parsley and mint and toss well to combine.
- And finally, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with all that beautiful extra parsley, mint and olives.
🔁 Possible Variations
Add feta cheese crumbles just before serving. If you'd like some crunchy texture, toss in a few walnut pieces or salted sunflower seeds.
🍽 What to serve with Mediterranean Cantaloupe Salad
This melon salad pairs well with any Mediterranean or Mexican dishes. Try it alongside Greek Lemon Chicken Kabobs, Crispy Fennel-Crusted Salmon, Pistachio-Crusted Salmon or Salt and Pepper Crusted Halibut.
This cantaloupe salad is best eaten on the day you make it, but if kept covered in the refrigerator, leftovers will be delicious for lunch the following day!
You may find that the melon has released liquid and watered down the dressing. You can simply drain it and add a little more dressing if you like.
👍🏼Tip: How to choose a ripe cantaloupe
Colour. The rind should be cream or yellow-coloured and the webbed pattern should be slightly raised. If it’s green and the webbing is flat, it’s not ripe. A little green is just fine.
Unlike other fruit, cantaloupe does not ripen after it has been picked from the vine. However, it will sweeten a little if you leave it on the counter at room temperature for a day or two.
The Belly Button. The stem end should be smooth, round and flat. If it still has a piece of stem attached, it was probably picked too early and will not ripen properly.
Smell. Have a quick sniff of the stem end. It should be fragrant and smell like cantaloupe, but not be overpowering.
Blemishes. Avoid those with bruises or mouldy spots.
Feel. It should feel firm but not too firm. Check the ends. It should have a little give, but not be mushy.
🗒 More healthy salad recipes
This recipe was inspired by Cantaloupe Salad with Olives and Red Onion in Cook's Illustrated, July & August 2020
Mediterranean Cantaloupe Salad
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoon honey, or more, depending on the sweetness of your melon. For Keto diet, substitute Monkfruit sweetener with erythritol.
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium cantaloupe, peeled, halved, seeded and cubed (3 - 4 cups)
- 3 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped, divided
- 3 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, divided
- 3 tablespoon Kalamata olives, finely chopped, divided
- Combine red onion and lemon juice in a large bowl. Let stand while you prepare the cantaloupe.
- Add honey, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt to the red onion mixture.
- Add cantaloupe cubes and 2 tablespoons of each of chopped parsley, mint and olives to the bowl.
- Toss to combine all ingredients.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, mint and olives. Chill, then serve.