6 Unexpected Ways to Eat Cantaloupe, Beyond Fruit Salad

Discover unexpected and delicious ways to enjoy fresh, in-season cantaloupe beyond a simple fruit salad.

By: Emily Lee
Related To:

Food Beauty of Grilled Melon Pasta, as seen on Giada on the Beach, Season 1.

When it comes to summer fruits, berries, peaches and watermelon tend to steal the show — and, frankly, cantaloupe is tired of playing the supporting role. With tender, pastel-orange flesh, this summer melon is the unsung hero of the produce section, offering the kind of versatility that many fruits lack. It makes a light yet distinctly flavorful base for salsas, soups, salads and cocktails. In the United States, the best cantaloupes can be found from June until August, so take advantage of this fleeting crop while summer’s still in full swing. Here’s a melon-centric menu that gives cantaloupe the limelight it deserves at every course, from the appetizer round to the main event.

Prosciutto-wrapped honeydew is a common summer appetizer, and this seasonal pasta salad offers a fun twist on the usual. The caramelized cantaloupe is the ideal sweet balance to salty meat and olives.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

For a fresh alternative to cooked soups, try Alex Guarnaschelli’s summery cantaloupe creation, made with lemon juice and sparkling cider. Before serving, sprinkle each bowl with some diced cucumber for a nice crisp texture.

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ThaiSalad_240.tif

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

This is far from your typical fruit salad, and most likely one you wouldn’t have for breakfast. Food Network Kitchen puts a savory spin on cantaloupe and honeydew by tossing the sliced melons in a tangy mixture of Sriracha, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice. Enjoy it as a light lunch, or serve it as you would a slaw, alongside juicy grilled meats at your next cookout.

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20130125_FoodNetwork_S07_0228.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

If there’s ever a time for cantaloupe, it’s at a cocktail party — and I’m not talking about the hors d’oeuvre tray. To prepare these sophisticated summer drinks, Alex purees cantaloupe with apple cider and fresh lemon juice before shaking it up with some chilled gin.

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GLAZED_HEN_8.tif

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop stylist: Marina Malchin

Fruit rarely fits in on your dinner plate, but here it’s a welcome addition. The light, fresh tastes of cantaloupe and cucumber balance the bold flavor of these chili-glazed hens in Food Network Magazine’s 40-minute entree, making it great for a casual summer gathering with family and friends.

This sweet sip doesn’t need much doctoring up. Simply add thin slices of ripe melon to a frosty glass of ice water for one of summer’s most-refreshing treats.

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