While melons typically make an appearance in fruit salads, they also shine in more savory fare. The sweet contrast of the fruit brings out the best in vegetables, cheese or nuts and seeds.
I like to pair sweet cantaloupe with cool and crunchy cucumber noodles for a light and summery salad that’s a bit unexpected.
Grilling the cantaloupe brings extra complexity to this sweet and savory dish. If you’ve never tried grilling fruit, it’s pretty amazing. Putting cantaloupe on the grill amps up the sweetness and makes it super juicy. The trick to grilling fruit is to cook it hot and quick to get some grill marks and a little caramelization going without your fruit turning to mush.
I like to use Charentais melons which are particularly sweet and juicy to begin with and have a wonderful floral aroma. If you’ve never had one, Charentais are a smaller variety of melon, similar to cantaloupes, but with a much more intense flavor and fragrance.
Now while you could eat the grilled wedges all by themselves, throwing them on top of a pile of cucumber noodles really makes them into a meal. The honeyed sweetness of the grilled melon against the silky and cooling cucumber noodles is a winning combination.
I add basil for freshness, black olives for some contrasting saltiness and top the salad with a sprinkle of goat cheese and hemp seeds for creaminess and a nutty finish. If you’d prefer to keep this salad vegan, go ahead and skip the goat cheese or substitute a nut cheese instead.
Have you ever tried grilling fruit?
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