Cucumber melon salad

Juicy, sweet, spicy, sour, crunchy – a salad that will turn heads at your next barbeque potluck.

  • close
    A light and cool summer salad with cucumbers, fresh fruit, mint, cilantro, a little chile heat, and crunchy peanuts.
    In Praise of Leftovers
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

When I got home from a recent retreat, the fridge was bare. The kids and I had to go out for breakfast on the following morning for lack of fruit, bread, milk, or eggs. Amazing! The next day (a Monday), I could hardly close the fridge.

Once the grocery shopping is done, I often spend a good two hours in the kitchen – cleaning the fridge, consolidating boxes of crackers, freezing overly ripe bananas for smoothies, and washing veggies for the week. If I don't make time for this task (which, crazily, I actually like), I am sure to be frustrated and impulse-eating by Wednesday. A giant bunch of unwashed kale taking up a whole shelf in the fridge isn't nearly as likely to be sauteed with eggs in the morning as a neat like bag of washed and chopped kale. I overestimate myself if I think otherwise.

This week, I cut up a cantaloupe and a pineapple. I washed two big bunches of cilantro and a head of lettuce, roasted a head of cauliflower, made a big batch of brown rice, and rescued half a head of radicchio that looked past its prime but actually just needed a little trimming.

Recommended: Summertime mint dressing

I was famished by the time I was done – and of course, inspired by handling all those beautiful fruits and veggies. This salad is what I made for lunch. My goodness. It's not summer here in the Northwest, but this salad tricked me. Juicy, sweet, spicy, sour, crunchy.

This salad is a delicious little number to bring to a potluck or barbeque and infinitely more fascinating that the other salads that might be sitting on the table. (I'm always looking for a chance to be popular. At least I admit it.)

Vietnamese Cucumber and Melon Salad with Peanuts
Serves 1 famished Household Coordinator or 2 more petite eaters. Eyeball it for a crowd.

1 cup Vietnamese cucumber, thickly sliced
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
Cilantro, stems and all, about a handful, sliced
Mint leaves, to taste, sliced
Celery leaves, to taste, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh chile (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
Fish sauce, to taste
Salt, to taste
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salted peanuts, to garnish 

Gently combine the cucumber, pineapple, and cantaloupe in a medium bowl. Add a good portion of cilantro, mint leaves, celery leaves, thinly sliced red onion, and fresh chile if you wish. Add sugar, a good jigger of fish sauce, salt, juice from half a lime, and sesame oil. Combine gently with your hands, and scatter chopped salted peanuts over the top.  

Related post on In Praise of Leftovers: Kale Caesar with Rye Croutons

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.


We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.