This cucumber melon salad is a great summer salad. With pickled onions and sweet, ripe cantaloupe, it goes great alongside any grilled meat.
Can you tell I had a surplus of cucumbers on hand this week? So if creamy cucumber salad isn’t your style, maybe this cucumber melon salad will be more your thing.
It’s weird how tastes change with age. I was never really a big fan of cantaloupe until a year or two ago. I never disliked it but it definitely was never a favorite fruit either.
In fact, I could say that about most melon (save watermelon maybe). I think underripe restaurant fruit cups scarred me or something.
But recently (around the time of the cantaloupe lime agua fresca), I started getting more and more into cantaloupe. Which is why today we’re here with this cucumber cantaloupe salad and why I’m going to try and convince you it’s such a great summer salad to try out.
How To Make Cucumber Melon Salad
The preparation for this summer cucumber salad is so easy.
1.Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl – cucumbers, cantaloupe, pickled red onions, fresh basil, pepitas and sunflower seeds (love the crunch they bring!)
2. Mix the simple dressing together, pour over the salad and toss until well combined.
We talked about how to make quick pickled red onions in the creamy cucumber salad recipe earlier this week so check that out because they’re such a great addition to so many salads (and sandwiches too!)
This summery melon cucumber salad is incredibly refreshing and quenching (if you can even say that about a salad). With the pops of sweetness from the cantaloupe, it almost acts like a fruit salsa and would be great with any grilled meat.
Much like these BBQ grilled short ribs are served with a pineapple salsa, you could use this cucumber cantaloupe salad like that and top ribs, a steak, chicken, pork chops or even fish with this.
Talking about that pineapple salsa got me thinking – you could even use pickled pineapple in place of or in addition to the cantaloupe in this salad! That would be hella delicious, especially if you love pickled things like me. Or, try the pickled blueberries from this pickled blueberry panzanella in place of the pickled red onions. All the pickled things!
The pepitas and sunflower seeds aren’t totally necessary but I do love the added texture they bring to this summer salad. If you have one but not the other, that’s fine. Use what you’ve got. Toasted nuts would also be good if you prefer.
Can I Make This Salad Ahead Of Time?
This is a great make ahead salad. Check out the recipe notes for advice on that but basically just don’t dress the salad until right before serving. That said, it will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days in an air-tight container after its dressed.
Can I Use Another Type of Melon?
You can definitely use honeydew or even watermelon if you prefer in this cucumber salad. Whatever you use, just make sure it’s ripe and sweet. Nothing worse than an underripe melon!
And if you’re looking for more melon salads, check out this watermelon bacon salad – it’s salty + sweet perfection. Plus, bacon makes everything better, right?
If you’d like to add some cheese, I’d recommend a salty crumbled feta cheese in this. You could even add some prosciutto since that’s a classic pairing with melon.
Mint would be a good substitution for basil if you have that on hand instead too.
You could even make it a meal with some shredded chicken or even simpler, a can of tuna or salmon for an easy lunch.
Basically, it’s a flexible summery salad. The intention is just to combine fresh, sweet summer produce in a way you wouldn’t normally think of.
Cool and crunchy, sweet and (a little) savory, this melon cucumber salad is easy, refreshing and a lovely pairing to so many grilled summer meals. Give it a shot or try one of these other great summer salads:
Simple Summer Corn and Tomato Salad
Tart Cherry Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Bay Scallop Baby Kale Corn Salad with Savory Tart Cherry Granola
Baby Kale Chicken Cherry Salad
Basil and Mint Squash Noodles
- 1 1/2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 small ripe cantaloupe, chopped
- 1/4 cup pickled red onions (*see note)
- 1 tablespoons pepitas
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- handful torn fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- Combine the cucumbers, cantaloupe, pickled red onions, pepitas, sunflower seeds and basil in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing into the large bowl and toss to combine. (**see note for making salad ahead of time)
- Season with more salt & pepper to taste.
*See this creamy cucumber salad recipe for how to make quick pickled red onions.
**If making ahead of time, keep dressing in a separate container and dress the salad before serving.
***Keeps, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days.