Summer time means melon time! During the warmest of the summer months, the grocery stores and farmers markets are literally exploding with melons. How lucky for us, as these round globes not only taste amazing, but also pack some serious nutrition. Picking a good melon is key to getting the satisfying sweetness they’re known for—and we’ve got some tips to make it easy for you. We’ve also got you covered on the recipe front with some “outside the box” ideas (cupcakes, anyone?) for this warm weather treat.
A cup of cantaloupe is a great nutritional value, with a mere 53 calories yet an astounding 106% of your Daily Value an Vitamin A and 95% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C, two powerful antioxidants your body needs to ward off the damaging effects of free radicals. A bowl of melon is also rich in water so it helps you stay hydrated during the hazy days of summer. of Vitamin C, two powerful antioxidants your body needs to ward off the damaging effects of free radicals. A bowl of melon is also rich in water so it helps you stay hydrated during the hazy days of summer.
Picking Prime Cantaloupe
You know when you go in for the first bite of melon (or any fruit, really) and realize that it’s not the sweet and juicy taste you were expecting. I call this fruit betrayal! You’ll have better luck with cantaloupe by paying attention to a few key qualities. First, take a look at it, is the color under that caramel-colored webbing green or tan? If it’s green, leave it, it’s not ripe, if it’s tan or orange, it’s ready. When you pick it up, does it feel heavy for it’s size (compare it to others in the bin to get a better idea)? If it is, that little guy will be juicy and sweet. Next, press on that little circle where the melon was once attached to the vine. If it’s soft, that’s another good sign your melon is ripe. The last spot check is for bruises, cracks, mold, blemishes or soft spots. Obviously, anything with one of these signs is not a keeper.
Inspiring Cantaloupe Recipes
Now that you’ve got your cantaloupe, just what are you going to do with it? While cantaloupe is delicious all by itself, it can also be delicious served in salads, added to breakfast bowls or turned into refreshing agues frescas. Try the recipes below to see just how versatile they really are!
- Grilled Cantaloupe Salad with Blueberry Ginger Vinaigrette by Jenna Braddock, RDN of Make Healthy Easy
- Cantaloupe and Watermelon Cupcakes by Serena Ball, MS, RD of Teaspoon of Spice
- Cantaloupe and Avocado Soup by Anne Mauney, MPH, RD of fannetasticfood.com
- Honey Lime Grilled Cantaloupe by Marisa Moore, RDN of Marisa Moore Nutrition
- Cantaloupe Breakfast Bowl by E.A. Stewart, RD of EAStewart.com
- Melon Ball Salad by Kaleigh McMordie of Lively Table
Grilled Cantaloupe and Wilted Kale with Crispy Halloumi (The Artful Desperado)
This recipe is a nice transitional dish for summer/fall. Grilling the cantaloupe brings out all the juices and sweetness of the fruit. Mixing it with kale, halloumi, and a citrus vinaigrette just makes the whole thing a delicious hassle-free appy or even supper (Serves 3-4)
- 1 ripe medium sized cantaloupe, sliced
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 small pack (about 450 grams) halloumi cheese (if you can’t find halloumi, then use feta), sliced in 1⁄2 slices
- 2 bunches of kale (we used dinosaur kale)
- 1 lemon, zest + juice
- 1 orange zest + juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac (or sub for ground coriander)
- 1⁄4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
- Cracked pepper to taste
- 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- Get the grill going (or put a pan or grill pan on the stove). Brush the cantaloupe slices with the melted coconut oil, sprinkle with a touch of salt. Place them on the hot grill or pan and let them sizzle for a couple minutes until you get grill marks and the fruit starts to brown, flip and repeat. Set grilled fruit aside.
- Lightly brush the halloumi cheese slices with coconut oil, and grill (or brown in a pan). It’ll take about a minute or two each side.
- Sprinkle kale with a touch of salt and pepper and a light drizzle of coconut oil and place on a pan on the grill (or directly on the pan on the stove). Let it sizzle for about 3 minutes, toss, and let it cook for another minute. Do not shake or toss too much or it’ll get too watery. Set aside
- To make the dressing combine the lemon juice + zest, orange juice +zest, sea salt, sumac and a touch of pepper with the olive oil, whisk until combined.
- To serve, first lay the wilted kale, then add the cantaloupe and halloumi cheese, pour the vinaigrette over them, top with fresh chopped basil and almonds. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Voila! The fruit in this recipe can be subbed for anything else like peaches, watermelon, and even plums. Enjoy!
Share your favorite cantaloupe recipes in the comments below!
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