This gorgeous cantaloupe salad is like summer in a bowl! With cucumber, tomatoes, vegan feta, fresh mint, and a lemon-y harissa dressing that adds a bit of earthiness and zip! This dish is easy to prepare and perfect for summer lunches and backyard cookouts with friends.
Why We Love This Recipe
I stumbled across this colorful summer melon salad with harissa over at Food52 and instantly wanted to veganize it. We're big fans of harissa, and I knew its earthy and warm flavor would taste amazing with sweet cantaloupe. Spoiler alert: it does!
In case you're worried about the spice level of the harissa, I promise the dressing for this cantaloupe salad is actually more sweet and lemon-y than spicy. And the whole thing is a straight-up party in your mouth!
Sweet cantaloupe and zippy dressing mingle with fresh mint, salty feta, and refreshing cucumber to create a dish that is SO moreish!
You'll also love this for picnics and backyard gatherings because it can be made in advance and served cool or at room temperature.
- Cantaloupe - look for a melon that's nice and heavy; you'll know it's ripe and ready to use when it smells sweet and fragrant. Watermelon is a great sub if you don't have cantaloupe.
- Cucumber - see FAQs below; English cucumber is preferred over a regular cucumber because the thinner skin can be kept and adds nice color. English cucumbers are also seedless (or have very few small seeds) and less bitter.
- Mint - aside from the cantaloupe, if I had to pick ONE ingredient that really makes this dish, it's the mint. If you're like us and have loads of mint taking over your garden or yard, having another way to use it is always welcome!
- Feta - I recently shared this Vegan Feta Cheese recipe on the blog, but store-bought feta also works if you have access to one you like.
- Harissa - Instead of harissa paste, which is made with oil, I decided to use dried harissa for those of you who may want to skip the oil in this recipe. >>>This Creamy Harissa Dressing is another delicious and healthy way to use dried harissa.
How To Make This Dish
There's no cooking involved in making this cucumber melon salad, so prep is pretty much as easy as you'd expect!
- Wash and chop the veggies, mint, and cantaloupe, and place in a bowl.
- In a separate, small bowl whisk together the dressing.
- Add the dressing to the salad and gently toss to coat. Crumble the feta directly on top, and lightly toss again. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice if you feel it needs more pop!
- Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving.
Tips and FAQs
I haven't tried it yet, but the author of the original recipe says watermelon is also great. Sounds good to me!
Since English cucumbers have a thinner skin and sweeter flavor, they really are nice in fresh salads. They're usually more expensive, though, and not as abundant.
If you need to use a regular cucumber in this recipe, I recommend peeling it, slicing in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds, and cutting into half moons.
As long as you only use 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of harissa, the result isn't spicy. The sweetness of the cantaloupe offsets any heat.
Sure! You'll use a bit more than with the dried harissa. Depending on how spicy your harissa paste is, you may want to start with 2 teaspoons, then give the dressing a taste before adding more.
This dish is best after the flavors have mingled for a couple of hours, but leftovers are also great the next day. Because of all the fresh ingredients I wouldn't plan to keep it more than two days.
I hope you love the fresh, sweet, bright flavors of this cantaloupe salad. If you try the recipe be sure to leave a star rating and comment below to let us know!
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Cantaloupe Salad With Cucumber, Feta, and Mint
- 1 large cantaloupe, cut into cubes (about 3 cups) - It should be heavy and smell sweet and fragrant.
- 1 English cucumber, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
- 2 large handfuls cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn or thinly sliced
- ½ to ⅔ cup crumbled vegan feta cheese - Homemade or store-bought.
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - Omit or substitute cashew butter for oil-free.
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons dried harissa - Or 2 to 3 teaspoons harissa paste.
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the cantaloupe, cucumber, tomatoes, and mint in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, lesser amount of harissa, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and add more harissa, if desired. Drizzle about half of the dressing on the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing, salt, pepper, and/or lemon.
- Top with crumbled feta. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to allow the flavors to mingle. Serve cool or at room temperature.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com. For the most accurate nutrition information we recommend calculating it yourself to reflect the specific ingredients used in your dish.