My cantaloupe and mango salad with a tangy lime dressing is a vibrant fruit salad with Mexican, Mediterranean, and tropical influences. All the elements come together to make a very special spring and summer side dish.
cantaloupe and mango salad is joyfully delicious
When you’re ready for something fresh and juicy, this colorful salad will definitely fill the bill. The flavors complement each other beautifully, just be sure to use good ripe fruit. It’s one of those magical combinations of ingredients ~ I can’t explain why or how, but it just works.
Did you know that both cucumber and tomato are fruits? They fit right in with the juicy melon and mango in this recipe!
the elements of this cantaloupe salad
The combination of ingredients in this salad is unexpected and lovely, and the dressing is a simple combination of olive oil, fresh lime juice, and a touch of sugar to cut the acidity. Please be sure to use good ripe fruit!
- cantaloupe ~ look for melon that has a slightly creamy rather than green rind. It should give a bit if you press the bottom (opposite from the stem end.) A ripe melon will be fragrant and smell slightly musky.
- mango ~ it can be hard to find a perfectly ripe mango in the supermarket. When you press on the sides it should give just a little. Too soft and the fruit will be mushy. See below for at home ripening instructions.
- cucumber ~ small Persian or English cucumbers work best, they have less seeds and are nice and flavorful. I like to leave a bit of green behind when I peel them.
- cherry tomato ~ small deep red cherry tomatoes are ideal.
- blueberries ~ I initially added them for color, but quickly realized that the berry flavor is a perfect accent.
- red onion ~ make sure to slice it nice and thin. The slight sharpness from the onion is so good with the sweet fruit!
- feta cheese ~ imported sheep’s milk cheese has best flavor.
- cilantro ~ cilantro is important in this salad, but if you absolutely loathe it, consider some thin ribbons of fresh basil or mint.
how to ripen a cantaloupe or mango
Both mangos and cantaloupe melons aren’t very appealing until they’re ripe, but they’re most often sold slightly underripe. No worries ~ put your unripe cantaloupe and/or mango in a brown paper bag and scrunch it closed. Leave it on the counter for a day or two. Adding an apple or banana to the bag can speed up the process.
ingredient substitution ideas
You can substitute another variety of ripe melon like Honeydew or Galia. If you can’t find a ripe mango, consider using pineapple or papaya.
This salad was inspired by one I had in a restaurant, and the original had jicama instead of cucumber, so feel to use it. Be sure to dice it fairly small as it has a formidable crunch. You might also use chunks of ripe avocado.
Other cheeses to use are Mexican cotija, or a crumbly goat cheese.
I love to add a sprinkle of chili or chipotle powder to the dressing for a little spice.
If you want to gild the lily you might top the salad with slivered almonds or sunflower seed kernels…a little extra crunch never hurts 🙂
serving this salad
This savory fruit salad is a wonderful appetizer or side dish for most any spring or summer meal and I love it for lunch. I will say that fruit salads in general are best eaten the same day they’re made because fruit doesn’t last long once it’s been cut. If you want to make it ahead, just a few hours is ideal.
more fruit-centric salads
- Strawberry Salad with Arugula and Salted Caramel Walnuts
- Fennel and Citrus Salad with Fennel Vinaigrette
- Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette
- Apple Salad with Celery and Walnuts
- Blueberry and Broccoli Pasta Salad
- Spicy Orange Moroccan Salad
Cantaloupe and Mango Salad
- 1/2 ripe cantaloupe, diced
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- 2/3 cup blueberries
- 1 small Persian cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, or Cojita (use more, if desired)
- Toss the melon, mango, berries, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro together in a bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil and lime juice. Add a pinch of sugar and whisk or stir well to dissolve it. If needed, add a bit more sugar.
- Toss the salad with just enough dressing to lightly saturate, you may not need it all. Season with salt and pepper, and top with a few more cilantro leaves, and the crumbled feta.
- If you'd like to make the salad ahead of time, leave out the tomatoes and cheese until ready to serve. Give it another toss and add the tomatoes and cheese just before serving.