This light and fresh Cucumber Melon Salad is the perfect summer side dish! Wait for those deliciously ripe cantaloupe and pair with basil and cucumber from the garden for a tangy sweet and savory combination everyone will love! Best part? This comes together in less than 15 minutes!!!
Cantaloupe seems to come in two forms, the winter grocery store version that tastes like nothing, and the summer version, juicy ripe and delicious! Save this salad only for the latter, when you pick up a perfectly sweet summer melon from the farmers market!
I love when fruit takes on a savory element! Try these other summer fruit favorite recipes:
Ingredients and Substitutions
Only 5 fresh ingredients paired with a simple vinaigrette make this simple salad shine with seasonal flavors! Healthy, easy and gluten-free too!
- Cantaloupe - Use about a half of a ripe summer melon for this recipe. You could also substitute watermelon or even sliced peaches for a different twist!
- Cucumber - By late summer our garden is bursting with cucumbers! Lots go into these Quick Refrigerator Pickles, and the rest end up in refreshing salads.
- Red Onion - Just a few slices of sharp red onion balance the sweet elements of the cantaloupe and honey. If you don't like onion, you can leave them out, or use something milder like chives or sliced shallots.
- Feta Cheese - I always buy a block of feta cheese that comes in the tub of brine for the freshest flavor. It adds a nice creamy layer to your otherwise juicy fresh produce salad. You could also substitute goat cheese or fresh mozzarella pearls, or just leave the cheese out.
- Fresh Basil - I grow a full packet of basil seeds every summer, just sprinkled in a window box. So by late summer, I'm throwing basil in everything! It really is the ultimate summer flavor and ties this salad together.
- Dressing - A very simple vinaigrette marries together those sweet and savory notes. Lemon juice brings an acidic flavor, but could be subbed with red or white wine vinegar and the honey emphasizes the sweet melon.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1 - Peel your cantaloupe, I like to use a serrated bread knife. Cut off each end and then slice down in an arch motion between the peel and flesh. Slice the melon in half and remove the seed cavity with an ice cream scoop or spoon.
Chop into cubes and add to a serving bowl. Chop the cucumber to be similar in size and add to the melon.
Step 2 - Top the salad with red onion slices, crumbled feta cheese and basil leaves.
Add the ingredients for the dressing to a jar with a lid and shake to combine, or whisk together in a bowl.
Step 3 - Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette over the salad and serve!
Storage & Make Ahead Instructions
- Storage - This summer melon cucumber salad is best eaten fresh, but the leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and eaten the next day. Do not freeze.
- Make Ahead - You can make this salad up a few hours ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge. The dressing can be put together in the jar and kept on the counter. Shake well and dress the salad just before serving.
What to Serve With This Salad
This light and bright melon salad is a refreshing side dish to many summer meals! It goes well with:
- Grilled Meats - chicken, burgers, bbq, or Italian Sausage with Giardiniera
- Pasta Night - Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta, Italian Sausage Gnocchi or Bacon Kale Spaghetti
- Sandwiches - Garden BLT's with Pesto Aioli, Steak Ciabatta or Italian Subs
- Homemade Pizza Night
- An Appetizer Grazing Menu - Cherry Tomato Bruschetta or Mediterranean Hummus with Olives and Feta
This is a personal preference, neither is actually necessary. Fresh garden cucumbers in the summer have a skin that is not tough and completely edible. I also like the bright green color so would not bother peeling it. The seeds are also edible, but if your cucumber has grown too large, you may want to slice away the seeds if there are too many.
If you don't have fresh, I would NOT use dried basil for this recipe. You could use another herb, fresh mint would be a very different but excellent variation. Fresh thyme or chives would be delicious as well.
More Favorite Summer Recipes!
If you made this recipe, I'd love to hear how you liked it! Be sure to leave a star rating by clicking the stars in the recipe card, or leave a comment below!
Cucumber Melon Salad with Feta and Basil
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- 3 cups cantaloupe melon cubed (about ½ a melon)
- 2 cups cucumber cubed (1 cucumber)
- ⅛ cup red onion a few thin slices
- ⅓ cup feta cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves to garnish
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or red or white wine vinegar)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Use a good ripe summer cantaloupe. Use a serrated bread knife to cut off each end, stand on end and slice off the peel using and arching motion. Waste as little of the flesh as possible. Cut the melon in half and use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds. Cut the melon into cubes and add to a serving bowl.
- Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise, then chop into cubes, about the same size as the melon. Add to the serving bowl and top with crumbled feta cheese and a few red onion slices. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, chopped or left whole.
- Add all ingredients for the dressing to a jar with a lid and shake well to combine. Drizzle over the salad and serve!
- Use a ripe summer melon for this recipe. You could also substitute watermelon or sliced peaches for a different variation.
- I like to buy a block of feta cheese that comes in a tub of brine for the best quality and crumble it myself.
- Fresh mint could be substituted for a different flavor.
- This salad can be made ahead a few hours early, covered and kept in the fridge. Keep the dressing in a jar on the counter, shake and add just before serving. Dressing will also keep a few weeks in the fridge.