7 New Ideas For Cantaloupe

Learn how to put cantaloupe, summer's friendliest melon, to irresistible new uses.

June 21, 2016
cantaloupe popsicles
Alexandra Grablewski

When it comes to picking the perfect melon, seek out organic cantaloupes so you can make use of the tasty rind as well as the seeds and flesh, says Julissa Roberts, director of the Rodale Test Kitchen. Ripe melons will have a sweet, musky aroma, and the stem end will yield to light pressure. Because cantaloupes grow on the ground and their netting can absorb dirt and trap bacteria, it’s important to wash them thoroughly with cold water and give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush before cutting into them.

Related: How To Grow Cantaloupes

Make the most of these melons with the following delicious cantaloupe recipes. 

canteloupe tartines
Alexandra Grablewski
Breakfast Tartines

Serves 4

Call it what you will: crostini, bruschetta, or just plain toast. By any name, delicious ingredients piled on a slice of crusty bread is a great thing. Here, bacon adds a salty, crunchy counternote to tender fruit and creamy ricotta. 

4 thick slices of country bread
4 slices of thick-cut or slab bacon
½ cup fresh ricotta
¼–½ cantaloupe, peeled and seeded
Mint leaves, to taste
Flaky salt, to taste
Honey, for drizzling

Toast bread. Cook bacon until crisp, drain, and crumble into large pieces. Spread each toast slice with ¼ of the ricotta. Slice melon thinly with a knife, vegetable peeler, or mandoline; arrange over toast slices. Sprinkle each with bacon, mint, and salt; drizzle with honey.

grilled cantaloupe with figs and ham
Alexandra Grablewski
Grilled Cantaloupe With Figs + Ham

Serves 4–6

A brief trip to the grill—just long enough to crisp the ham and sear the melon—results in an intriguing twist on the classic prosciutto-and-melon pairing. Raw, juicy figs and freshly squeezed limes round out the flavors and make for an Instagram-ready presentation. 

½ large cantaloupe (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and sliced into 10 wedges
10 slices of prosciutto (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 fresh figs, halved
6 mint leaves, thinly sliced
Lime wedges, for serving

Heat grill to medium, or place a grill pan over medium heat. Wrap each cantaloupe wedge in a slice of prosciutto. Drizzle all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill wedges 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and scatter with figs and mint. Serve warm or at room temperature with lime wedges for squeezing.

Related: The Most Grillable Fruits

cantaloupe and cardamom yogurt
Alexandra Grablewski
Cantaloupe + Cardamom Yogurt

Serves 4

Bite-sized pieces of fruit readily absorb the rose-water syrup in this fragrant dessert. 

⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon rose water
4 cups cantaloupe balls
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Sliced mint leaves, for garnish
Lemon zest, for garnish

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and cup water to a simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and rose water, and cool completely. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with melon balls; chill for 1–4 hours. To serve, stir cardamom into yogurt and place ¼ cup yogurt on each plate. Add 1 cup melon balls along with some syrup; garnish with mint and zest.

cantaloupe and tomato salad
Alexandra Grablewski
Melon + Tomato Salad With Blue Cheese

Serves 4

In this colorful summer salad, cantaloupe pairs with tomato, which shares the melon’s balance of sweetness and acidity. Roasted pistachios bring crunchy texture, while creamy blue cheese adds a punch of salt. (If you don’t like blue cheese, try goat cheese instead.)

2 medium heirloom tomatoes, 1 red and 1 yellow (about 6 ounces)
½ cantaloupe (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped roasted pistachios
1 tablespoon shredded basil

Cut tomatoes and melon into 1-inch thick wedges. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss with melon and tomatoes. Arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese, pistachios, and basil.

Related: Secrets To Growing Plump Tomatoes

roasted cantaloupe seeds
Rodale Test Kitchen
Roasted Cantaloupe Seeds

Makes about ½ cup

Cantaloupe seeds are a good source of fat, protein, and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Roast them to sprinkle on salads or mix into granola. Here’s how:

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse, drain, and pat seeds dry. On a large baking sheet, toss seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Roast until golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.

candied cantaloupe rind
Rodale Test Kitchen
Candied Cantaloupe Rind

Makes about 2 cups

Simmer peeled melon rind in sugar syrup to create gummy candylike treats; the melon-infused syrup is a bonus leftover. Leave a bit of the flesh on, if you like, for a more intense cantaloupe flavor. 

1. Use a peeler to remove and discard outermost textured skin from rind. Slice remaining rind into 2-inch x ⅓-inch strips. You will need about 2 cups. 

2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and ¾ cup water and cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add rind and simmer until soft and easily cut by a spoon, about 30 minutes. 

3. Strain, reserving melon syrup for baking, teas, or cocktails. Spread rind on a rack set over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. 

4. Toss rind in ½ cup sugar and dry on rack at least 5 hours and up to overnight. Store in an airtight container in a dry place for up to 1 month.

cantaloupe and honey sorbet
Alexandra Grablewski
Cantaloupe + Honey Sorbet

Makes about 1 quart

Lime, honey, and a pinch of salt intensify the melon flavor in this icy summertime dessert. To make it even more festive, use the purée to make cantaloupe ice pops instead—just pour it into molds and freeze. 

4 cups ripe cubed cantaloupe (from a 3–4 pound melon)
¼ cup honey, plus more to taste
¼ cup lime juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients with ¾ cup water in a blender and purée until smooth. Add more honey to taste. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately for soft-serve texture or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a firmer, scoopable texture. The sorbet keeps in the freezer for up to 1 month.