This Cantaloupe Salad recipe is perfect on hot summer days when summer melons are in season. Crisp cucumber, spicy arugula and radishes, sweet cantaloupe and strawberries, and some quinoa make this a refreshing side dish or delicious salad for a light lunch.
This fresh salad is great any time of year but especially for a summer meal. If you love savory fruit salads and easy recipes you need this in your good food rotation! The flavor combination of sweet, spicy, refreshing with soft and crunchy flavor, all in a simple dressing, makes a perfect salad.
What makes this skinny?
This cantaloupe cucumber salad is a refreshing side salad or a main dish for a light lunch!
- It's all fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs other than the quinoa.
- An oil-free dressing of fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, salt, pepper and fresh herbs.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Cantaloupe. Also called musk melon or rocket melon. Pick a large size fully ripe cantaloupe (not over ripe or under ripe). You want juicy melons for a perfect cantaloupe. You'll need 4.5 cups cubed melon which is about half of a large melon. You can also save time by buying pre-cut melon too.
Cucumber. Use a medium Persian cucumber or half an English cucumber. These types of cucumbers are essentially seedless and have thin skin so do not need to be peeled. Rinse and dry them before slicing.
Quinoa. This adds some whole grains and protein to the salad. Quinoa is a small grain with a light flavor and works great with the other ingredients. We love tri-color quinoa for more color but any quinoa will do. You'll cook a ½ cup according to the package instructions or follow our method in the recipe card.
Arugula. We recommend using baby arugula which has smaller leaves, is tender and has a milder flavor. If you love the peppery punch of regular arugula you can use that too!
How to make this Cantaloupe Salad
STEP 1. Cook the quinoa
Follow the instructions on the package or this method. Rinse the ½ cup of quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Combine in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water.
Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to simmering, cover and cook 15 minutes (or until the germ appears and the quinoa is soft and cooked through).
Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid, fluff the quinoa and allow it to cool.
STEP 2. Make the dressing
In a small bowl combine the dressing ingredients: lemon juice, lime juice, fresh mint, fresh basil, honey, salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine.
STEP 3. Assemble the salad
In a large bowl add the arugula. Layer on the cantaloupe, strawberries, cucumber, radishes and cooled quinoa. Toss to combine the ingredients.
Drizzle on the dressing and toss again to coat.
STEP 4. Serve
Serve immediately at room temperature or chill before serving. If chilling, add the dressing just before serving.
Leave out the quinoa. The quinoa adds whole grains and protein as well as comprises about 300 calories of the total salad. Leaving it out will reduce the calories by about half.
Make melon balls. For a different look scoop the melons into balls using a melon baller. Use 4.5 cups melon balls.
Cucumber ribbons. To have a fancy presentation use a vegetable peeler run lengthwise down the cucumber to create cucumber ribbons instead of slices.
Add some olive oil. To add some healthy fat and give a different flavor add some olive oil to the dressing before tossing with the salad ingredients.
Add some lettuce. Arugula is very peppery in flavor. If you want to tone that down use 2 cups of arugula and 2 cups of a regular lettuce.
Add some red onion. If you love the spicy flavor of onions add some diced red onion or sliced green onion to the sweet melon salad.
Add some salty flavor. Feta cheese (reduced fat) or thin prosciutto add a wonderful saltiness to this green salad.
How to Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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- 4 ½ cups cubed cantaloupe aproximately ½ large melon
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 4 cups baby arugula (one 5-ounce container)
- 3 medium radishes rinsed and thinly sliced
- 1 medium Persian cucumber or 2 small Persian cucumbers, rinsed and sliced
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup diced fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons diced fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey
Cook the quinoa
- Place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve (strainer) and rinse until the water runs clear.
- Combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmering, cover, and cook the quinoa for 15 minute or until the germ appears on the grain.
- Remove from heat, covered, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid, stir and begin to make the salad allowing the quinoa to cool.
Make the Dressing
- In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, lime juice, mint, basil, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk together.
Make the salad
- In a large serving bowl or container, layer the arugula, followed by the cantaloupe, strawberries, radishes, cucumber and cooled quinoa. Toss the ingredients together to combine.
- Add the dressing and toss again to distribute the dressing and coat the ingredients.Serve at room temperature or chilled.