Melon Salad with Chili and Mint

It may seem somewhat counterintuitive, but sweet melons such as cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon taste even more special with a little salt to balance their sweetness. This is why watermelon with feta is such a classic summer salad. We’ve taken this idea a little further by adding a touch of zing from chiles to our melon salad. Don’t overdo it with the chiles. There should be just enough to make your tongue tingle. That along with the sweetness from the melons, a little lime or lemon juice, some mint, and a dash of salt, and you have a summer melon symphony. Enjoy!

Melon Salad with Chili and Mint Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4.

Experiment with different shapes for the diced melon, including using a melon baller if you have one. This melon salad holds up well in the fridge, but the mint should be added at service.

This recipe easily scales up.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of diced melon, honeydew, cantaloupe, or ambrosia melon, or a mixture,  about 1 large or 2 small melons
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • About 1/2 serrano chile, minced (taste the chile first to determine its heat, then add more or less to taste)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp lime juice or lemon juice
  • 10 large fresh spearmint leaves

Method

1 Put the diced melon into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and toss to combine. Add the lime or lemon juice and minced chili. Toss to combine. Chiles vary in their level of hotness, so start with a small amount (maybe 1 teaspoon minced), and add more to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

2 When you are ready to serve, slice the mint leaves thin and gently combine with the diced melon. The easiest way to slice the mint is to chiffonade it: stack the mint leaves, roll them into a cigar shape and slice thin.

Links:

Cucumber Melon Salad, from Not Eating Out in New York

Thai Melon Salad, from Viet World Kitchen

Melon Salad with Chile and Mint on Simply Recipes

11 Comments

  1. Jamie @lifelovelemons

    youre so right… the salt makes these!

  2. Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig

    So, I have this out-of-control spearmint plant and I’ve been thinking what am I going to do with it all. I’m not even sure why I haven’t used in my melon salads like I do mint. What a no brainer!! Thanks for this, miss you friend!

  3. Jeff @ Cheeseburger

    This salad is surprisingly delicious. It tastes like summer.

  4. Ella

    Will have to try this soon!
    Speaking of strange pairings… My husband always puts ground pepper on his cantaloupe. I didn’t believe him for a long time but after trying it, it really does give an amazing flavor to the cantaloupe.

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  5. Audrey

    Black pepper is also great on bananas and strawberries.

  6. Mai

    Would dry pepper flakes be a good substitute for the serrano chili? Thx!

  7. Jerry

    I live in an area that produces watermelon, cantaloupe and peaches. This recipe inspired me to combine those with a cucumber and mint from the garden. I sprinkled it all with Tajin Seasoning (chili and lime). Winner, winner…. Amazing flavor!

  8. naleśniki

    Delicious! I love melon. These look perfect.

  9. Ashley

    I love putting salt on sweet melons. The addition of chile and mint here sounds wonderful!

  10. Praveen Kumar

    This looks yummy.
    I substitued the serrano chile with red chilli powder and kosher salt with regular salt. I am not sure if it might have affected the taste much but to me, it was ok.

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