This quick 15-minute cantaloupe salad is perfect as a light meal or side dish in summer or fall. The ripe, sweet melon, crispy prosciutto, and tender greens make it a memorable, easy to prepare dish.
Did you know that cantaloupe is considered the most popular melon worldwide? I didn’t, but I do know that it’s pretty popular in my house, especially when we make tasty meals like this salad. It’s actually really surprising that this is the first one I’m sharing!
I’m a big fan of seasonal salads that feature fruit at it’s best, and what’s better than tender sweet slices of melon? When it’s mixed with a simple dressing, tender greens, and crisp prosciutto, you’ll become a fan of this cantaloupe salad too.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It takes just 15 minutes to prepare, and it’s mostly dicing and mixing!
- Really healthy thanks to the combination of greens, avocado, melon, and nuts.
- Makes a delicious light lunch, side dish, or even an entree if you pair it with a simple sliced chicken breast.
Melons are sweet and nutritious
This fresh cantaloupe salad actually uses an entire melon, they’re just that good! Aside from being sweet and juicy, melons actually have tons of other benefits too.
From cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, or any of the other dozens of varieties you might find at your local markets, it’s easy to find a favorite. Plus they’re loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.
Of course, they all have distinct flavors too. Watermelons are fresh and fruity, like a sweet cucumber. They taste amazing in recipes like my blueberry feta salad or this arugula and balsamic one, where it brings light sweetness to every bite.
Honeydew is actually comparable to cantaloupe, but it’s sweeter, lighter, and of course, green instead of orange. Choose one of them if you can’t find a fresh, good-looking cantaloupe. They’re both available from mid summer to late fall, depending on your climate.
Aside from a juicy, ripe cantaloupe, you’ll also need the rest of these easy salad ingredients.
- Prosciutto – Thinly slice it for easy crisping.
- Mixed greens – choose leafy, tender greens to complement the soft melon.
- Arugula – it adds a peppery bite so radicchio, watercress, or dandelion greens could also work.
- Red onion – if you don’t like the bite of raw red onion, soak the slices in cold water while you prep the salad. Then drain and pat dry for a mellowed flavor.
- Avocado – aside from being healthy, it adds a perfect creamy texture and subtle flavor.
- Pecans – don’t skip the crunch of nuts, swap in almonds or walnuts if you need to.
- Goat cheese – a salty crumbly cheese like feta will work too.
With all of your salad ingredients in hand, a quick dressing makes it perfect. It’s an easy combination of balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, chopped parsley, and a dash of salt and pepper.
How to Make Cantaloupe Salad
The first step is to prep all the ingredients. Thankfully, slicing your cantaloupe, onion, prosciutto, and avocado is the most time consuming part, and it’s still pretty easy.
With everything ready, make the quick dressing. I just combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Everything will blend into a smooth balsamic dressing for your cantaloupe salad.
Then it’s time for the only cooking step, and it makes this recipe sing! To crisp your prosciutto cook it in a hot skillet for up to 5 minutes. Drain it on a paper towel to keep the extra grease out of your salad.
Then, it’s time to assemble. Combine the arugula, onion, mixed greens, avocado, pecans, and cantaloupe in a large bowl and toss them gently together. Sprinkle on the prosciutto, breaking up any large pieces, then drizzle on the dressing.
Toss it again, then crumble the cheese over the top and give it one final, gentle mix. I like to mix it three different times to make sure you get a bit of everything in each bite, without the cheese breaking down too finely.
Once it’s mixed, serve. Your cantaloupe salad is best eaten right away. Leftovers of a recipe like this don’t keep well, so feel free to help yourself to seconds. You’ll want to!
Whether you’re enjoying this with the first cantaloupes of the season, or savoring the very last ones, I think you’ll love every bite of this sweet, salty, light salad. Of course, I’ve shared tons of other healthy salads perfect for fall and summer, so don’t forget to check them out while you’re here.
- Arugula, Prosciutto, and Grilled Pear Salad
- Microgreen Salad with Peaches and Avocado
- Kale, Quinoa, and Apricot Salad
- Roasted Butternut Squash Couscous Salad
- Red Cabbage Salad with Apples, Orange, and Spinach
Cantaloupe Salad with Prosciutto
- 3.5 oz. (100g) thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 cantaloupe , peeled, seeded, and sliced
- 4 oz. (113g) mixed greens
- 2 oz. (60g) arugula
- 1/2 red onion , thinly sliced
- 1 large avocado , diced
- 1/4 cup pecans , chopped
- 1/2 cup goat cheese , crumbled
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- salt , to taste
- black pepper , to taste
- In a small jar with a lid, combine the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and chopped parsley. Cover and shake until mixed well. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook prosciutto in hot skillet until crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
- Toss the cantaloupe, mixed greens, arugula, red onion, avocado, and pecans together in a large bowl. Break up the crispy prosciutto and scatter over the salad. Add the prepared dressing and toss again. Then top with the crumbled feta. Toss lightly and serve immediately.