Cooling Cantaloupe Summer Salad (High-Protein Recipe)
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As summer salads go this one really has everything. It’s full of vitamin-packed ingredients! From the crunch of the peanuts to a little kick from the lime and chili-pepper flakes.
Not to forget the refreshing cool of the cantaloupe and cucumber. It really is a great salad, and packed with protein to keep you feeling satisfied!
Melon is a key player in lovely fresh salads. I have chosen sweet cantaloupe, it has a nice flavor, and don’t you just love the color? Great for summer!
Cucumber is a must in this recipe. Another ingredient, like the melon, has a high water content, making it filling but also hydrating for little calories. I use a Persian cucumber in this recipe, but English cucumbers would also work well.
It also adds a nice little crunch to the proceedings. Not to mention the green goes well with the orange of the cantaloupe – who said food can’t be art?
This queen of grains is a great little addition to any delicious salad. Quinoa‘s bland in taste so won’t clash with the other big players in the bowl.
It’s also small and soft when cooked so you don’t have to put a load of effort in when you’re eating it.
Again, spinach is another ingredient that is great to boost your nutrition in recipes like this one. It’s packed with iron and lots of other vitamins making it a superfood salad for sure!
I really wanted to add a little extra crunch when I was eating this salad to contrast the lovely squishiness of the cantaloupe melon.
Toasting chopped peanuts is a great way to do this, and it also adds protein to the meal.
As you’ll see from some of the other recipes listed below, I love adding feta cheese to new recipes, especially savory fruit salads! Feta is such a yummy, creamy cheese that just melts in the mouth.
But it’s also tangy and salty. A little salt helps to balance out the sweetness, just as it should.
For the dressing, I am pulling together the zinginess of lime juice, and zest, with a kick of chili flakes, and a drizzle of sweet honey (amongst other things).
It’s amazing how combining certain ingredients just take it to the next level!
The lime and mint in this recipe are definitely giving off mojito vibes, don’t you think? And I’d love to be dreaming of being near a beach with a cocktail right now!
How many calories are in this fresh cantaloupe salad?
With 439 calories and 19 grams of protein, it’s a great combination for a healthy, filling meal.
It’s awesome how this super easy salad is also really healthy too.
The quinoa is full of fiber so it’s great at filling you up. Having a salad that can sustain your hunger is really key, especially if you are trying to reduce your calories to lose weight.
If you’d like more inspiration on your weight-loss journey I have a FREE 7-day meal plan that you can download right now!
Cantaloupes are brimming with awesome health benefits that can help with anything from eye health, to heart disease and asthma prevention, as well as containing antioxidants that help fight cancer!
Feta is another useful ingredient as it is high in protein as well as a great source of calcium.
BBC Good Food warns, however, to watch out for traditional feta if you’re vegetarian due to it being produced with animal-derived rennet.
The peanuts are a great source of protein too. Protein is great for helping satiety in weight loss or gaining muscle on a healthy diet. Take a look at these tips for trying to build muscle.
How to make cantaloupe salad?
Here’s a little run-through of how to make it,
- Prep work: Cook the quinoa, peel and cut the cantaloupe melon into bite-sized pieces (you could also use a melon baller if you like). Slice the cucumber, crumble the cheese, toast and chop the nuts. Tear the spinach and fresh mint leaves.
- Dressing work: In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, zest, honey, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, and water.
- Assembly work: On a bed of cooked quinoa, add layers of spinach leaves, melon, cheese, and nuts into a large bowl. Sprinkle on salt, and drizzle over the dressing.
- To finish: Mix and serve immediately.
For more detail check out the recipe card below.
Cantaloupe Cucumber Salad FAQs
I couldn’t talk about summer salad recipes without answering some of your most asked questions (or directing you towards our other summer salads!).
How many calories are in a cantaloupe melon?
There are 34 calories in 100 grams of cantaloupe melon.
How to store in cantaloupe salad?
This salad should stay fresh for a couple of days in the fridge if it is covered up, so it’ll be great for lunch the next day too.
What to serve with cantaloupe?
As I’m sure you’ll agree when you try this recipe, simple ingredients like feta, mint, and cucumber go really well with juicy melons like cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe also goes well with other fruit and similar melons like honeydew melon. It also tastes amazing with meats like prosciutto.
Do watermelon and cantaloupe go well together?
Cantaloupe and watermelon go together like a match made in heaven. Both juicy and sweet
they’re perfect in a watermelon salad together, or even as a juice.
How can I check when my cantaloupe is ripe?
According to Tip Buzz, there are several things you can do to check your cantaloupe is ripe. They include looking for the stem, if it’s attached, that melon has been picked too soon!
If you push down, the perfect cantaloupe should be firm but not too hard. A ripe cantaloupe should also smell sweet and the skin beige in color.
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Is cantaloupe good for weight loss?
Cantaloupe is good for weight loss as part of a calorie-controlled diet for sure!
They won’t make you burn fat on their own, but they are full of fiber and water, helping you to feel fuller faster (say that quickly!) and so hopefully meaning you’ll consume less.
Can you make cantaloupe salad ahead?
Yes, this salad is good in the fridge for a couple of days which means you can make it ahead when you have the time to make it and eat it later.
You could try lots of variations on this summer meal like adding watermelon, (we just learned how well they go with cantaloupes).
Different melon: Or, you could also swap cantaloupe for a different melon entirely if you’re not keen on them.
Different cheese: You could change the type of cheese you use, or remove it altogether if you’re looking for a vegan recipe.
Different nuts: Swap the peanuts for walnuts, or maybe crunchy pistachios (however, this could affect the calorie content).
Why not top with some pumpkin seeds? There are so many things to try!
More Recipes Like This
Take a look at other recipes I think you’ll love
- Another refreshing take on this salad is Watermelon and Feta Salad
- Feta and fruit really do work Avocado Citrus Salad with Feta
- Quinoa is Queen with the Lentil Quinoa Salad
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions.⅔ cup quinoa
- Meanwhile, peel, clean and cut the cantaloupe into bite sized pieces.½ ripe cantaloupe or honeydew
- Slice the persian cucumber.1 persian cucumber
- Crumble the cheese.2.5 oz low fat feta cheese
- Chop peanuts. Optionally you can give them a little roast on a pan over high heat until they begin to brown.2 tbsp peanuts
- Tear mint and baby spinach leaves with your hands.2 sprigs mint, fresh, 1 oz baby spinach
- In a small bowl mix olive oil, zest of 1 lime, juice of 2 limes, honey, red pepper flakes, a big pinch of salt and 1 tbsp water.2 tsp olive oil, 2 lime, 1 tbsp honey, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp water
- In a big salad platter lay the cooked quinoa. On top, add the torn leaves, cantaloupe, crumbled cheese and roasted nuts in layers. Sprinkle ½ tsp of salt and drizzle the dressing. Mix and serve immediately.
So if you’re looking for a cantaloupe salad recipe that’s going to wow the BBQ table or next potluck, this is sure to be a winner on those hot summer days (and you can try more veggie bbq recipes here!)!
For more salad recipes, check out my collection of 40 High-Protein Vegetarian Salads.