It seems like we always have a cantaloupe sitting in the fruit bowl, but we don’t always know what to do with it. A classic fruit salad is always nice, and cold cubed melon is a tasty summer snack, but when you have an entire melon to work with, sometimes you need more ideas. That’s where Giada De Laurentiis comes in. She just shared a savory cantaloupe recipe that’s a beautiful summer side dish, and before you say anything, no, it’s not prosciutto-wrapped melon (though we love that combo on pizza). It’s a salad!
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De Laurentiis’ cantaloupe, red onion, and walnut salad is inspired by the food of Sardinia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean sea. The cookbook author and television star says that watermelon is more commonly used, but that it’s easier to find good cantaloupe year-round in the United States.
If you don’t count the orange vinaigrette, the salad itself only has four ingredients. How easy is that? Cubed cantaloupe, thinly sliced red onion, arugula, and toasted chopped walnuts are the stars of the show. De Laurentiis says that sometimes she adds grated pecorino cheese on top, too.
The dressing isn’t complicated either. Orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper combine with one slightly unusual ingredient, raspberry vinegar, to make a sweet and tangy vinaigrette that pairs well with the bite of red onion, juicy cantaloupe, peppery arugula, and toasted walnuts in the salad.
This dish is a lovely side to grilled meats or pasta, but it could easily be turned into an entree. Add grilled chicken or shrimp, or seared scallops to the salad for a light but protein-packed meal. Or, keep things vegetarian by adding a ball of burrata to the mix. You’ll never be at a loss of how to use up your cantaloupe again.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
Watch: A 5-Ingredient Grilled Pizza That’s Easier Than Ordering Takeout
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