Refreshing Cucumber Melon Salad
Beat the heat with this cool and refreshing salad! This cucumber melon salad is loaded with toasted pecans, peppery arugula, feta cheese, sweet cantaloupe, and the most delicious citrus dressing. This is about to become a staple summer salad in your repertoire!
Crisp. Cool. And oh, so refreshing!
Never in a million years did I think toasted pecans, briny feta cheese, crispy cucumbers, and sweet melon would go together, yet here we are. I will say that it did quite a bit more recipe testing than it typically does for an easy salad. The thing is I could taste this salad in my mind’s mouth and I just couldn’t stop until I was there. I wanted to make something that was easy enough for you to take to a potluck but complex enough to serve for a sit-down dinner where you’re looking to wow your guests from the very first bite.
This one delivers. Each bite is a symphony of flavors. The peppery arugula pairs beautifully with the sweet cantaloupe, the nuttiness of the pecans, and the briny feta dance on your tongue. The light citrus dressing ties the whole thing together in a neat little package. Emily Gilmore would totally serve this at Friday night dinner.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the watermelon feta salad to take to a potluck or a summer get-together, you’ve stumbled over the right recipe.
Ingredients for a cucumber melon salad:
- Cubed melon: I like to remove the flesh of the melon, make slices, then break it down into bite-sized cubes. Feel free to use a melon baller if you want to be a bit fancier! You could also use a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew melon for this recipe. I usually use just cantaloupe though.
- Persian cucumbers: You could also use English cucumbers. I usually have Persian cucumbers on hand and prefer the flavor to other varieties.
- Fresh mint leaves: I have been obsessed with adding fresh mint to everything lately!
- Citrus: I like to use a combination of lime juice and lemon juice for the dressing. Combining the two with agave or honey gives the drizzle the best flavor!
- Honey or agave: You’ll want to use anywhere from 3-5 teaspoons of your sweetener. Just whisk it together with the citrus juices and olive oil. If your fruit is on the sweet side, you’ll need less.
- Olive Oil: I suggest using a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for this recipe. We’ll only use a tablespoon so splurge with the good stuff!
- Toasted pecans: I like to toast my pecans in a warm skillet for a few minutes. Just toss them every 1-2 minutes and when the whole kitchen smells nutty, you can remove them to a bowl. Let cool before adding to the salad.
- Arugula: I love serving this salad on a bed of greens! Arugula is my first choice here because the natural pepper flavor works well with the other ingredients. Feel free to use any greens that you like, or omit them entirely.
- Feta: Crumbled or cubed feta really makes this salad!
How to make a melon cucumber salad:
- Get everything chopped and prepped. Start by dicing your melon and chopping the cucumbers. I like to clean the cucumbers, split them down the middle and make half-moon chunks for this recipe. I really wanted something that would stand up to the cubed melon. Finely chop the mint and toast up your pecans.
- Make the dressing. To make the dressing you want to the lime juice, lemon juice, agave (or honey), and oil in a small bowl. Whisk it together. Then drop the mint into the bowl. The mint leaves will infuse in that dressing!
- Toss and serve. Grab your serving dish and add the arugula to it. Add the melon, cucumbers, and pecans to a large bowl and toss it with the dressing. When combined, add the feta to the bowl. Top the arugula with this prepared fruit salad and serve immediately once it’s dressed.
FAQs about this salad:
You can use crumbled goat cheese or even unexpected cheddar from TJ’s would work well with this recipe
You could also use fresh basil leaves
I suggest keeping any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and consuming it within 24 hours if possible. The acid from the dressing will break down the cucumbers and the melon, so best to eat it as quickly as possible
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Strawberry Watermelon Feta Salad
- Glowing Berry Fruit Salad
- Mexican Fruit Salad
- Lemon Basil Arugula Pasta Salad
- Crunchy Strawberry with Fried Goat Cheese
- 3 cups cubed cantaloupe
- 2 cups chopped persian cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, torn
- 1 tablespoon EACH: lemon juice AND lime juice
- 3-5 teaspoons agave or honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup pecan halves, toasted
- 4 ounces arugula (optional)
- 1 cup feta, cubed
- DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, agave, and olive oil together. Add the mint and stir to combine, set aside for now.
- ASSEMBLE: Add the arugula to a platter (if using.) Keep dressing has salad separate if you aren’t serving immediately. In a large bowl, toss the cantaloupe, Persian cucumbers, and pecans together with them dressing. Then add the feta to the bowl. Arrange the tossed fruit over the arugula and serve immediately once dressed. Enjoy!