august 31, 2021
Technically, this Lime Basil Cantaloupe Salad is a fruit salad. Both tomato and cucumber are also fruits, as is the lime in the vinaigrette. The salad is savory enough, however, that you can please those with palates avoiding sweets.
I believe assembled dishes that need no kitchen heat are the cook’s friend . Assemble this salad and be prepared to offer a stunning love letter to the best of summer. With luck you’ll find local heirloom tomatoes and “burpless” cucumbers with seeds that are barely visible. Any summer melon will do, but cantaloupe, especially the western variety, is bright in color and sturdy in texture. Thai basil thrives in my patio pots—it may be tough to find at the markets. A fine substitute is the sweet Genovese basil we use for pesto and caprese salads. Macadamia nuts give crunch and contrast. Agave syrup adds subtle sweetness without cloying.
Cantaloupe and Thai basil paired well in my Thai Melon and Radish Salad, with the watermelon radish color wheel playing a starring role there. Tomatoes and cucumber go hand in hand, even when the tomatoes are out of season, like in Greek Salad with Orange. Unexpected combinations shake things up in the kitchen. And so today’s salad, which gives melon a break from the breakfast table. I want to make this salad again, this time with Feta Oregano Dressing for a whopping dose of umami.
Anything Goes with Salads
Salads let you play with your food in a big way. Got extra stuff in the fridge? Add it. Find cool stuff at the Saturday farmer’s market? Add it. Want to add protein to that salad and make it a meal? Be my guest. The Kitchn is my go-to source for meal size salad inspiration and all manner of recipes and kitchen hints. If you don’t mind daily additions to your email inbox, sign up for notifications. Our salad today becomes a meal with grilled meats, seafood or plant protein.
Lime Basil Cantaloupe Salad
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes four servings
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon neutral oil like canola
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 tablespoon chopped Thai basil (or sweet basil if you cannot find)
juice of one lime (remove zest first and set aside)
one half cantaloupe, seeds and rind removed, sliced thinly
2 cups seedless cucumber, cut in chunks
2-3 ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom), sliced thinly
one large shallot, sliced thinly
½ cup roasted macadamia nuts
flaky sea salt, like Maldon
optional garnish : leaves of Thai (or sweet) basil
- For vinaigrette, whisk together lime juice, sesame oil, neutral oil, agave and basil; can be made several days ahead.
- Arrange on plates : cantaloupe, tomato, shallot, cucumber.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over fruits, sprinkle macadamia nuts and garnish with basil leaves if using.
- Top with lime zest and flaky salt and serve immediately.