Texas Living

Recipes: Melon Palooza

By Susan Wiles 9.14.23

When I think of summer, I think of melon. My love of melons goes back to some of my earliest memories of vacationing with my grandparents. We would stop at a farm stand on the way to the lake. As soon as we got settled, cantaloupe and watermelon were on the table, accompanied by garnishes of salt and pepper — my first forays into the delights of combining sweet fruits with spicy flavors.

These seasonal, delicious fruits are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes squash, cucumber, and other gourds. Melons come in a wonderful variety of flavors with an equally entertaining array of names: joining the watermelon are memorable species such as cantaloupe, crenshaw, honeydew, muskmelon, Persian, and even Santa Claus.

Melons offer much-needed hydration during a Texas summer. They’re also high in potassium, further helping our cells stay hydrated. Although these versatile fruits are sweet, they work perfectly with a hint of spice, sour, or, of course, a little more sugar.

Try these melon recipes that will get you from breakfast to dessert!

Breakfast: Melon With Yogurt and Pistachio-Sesame Brittle

Begin your day feeling fueled and refreshed. In this recipe, the Greek yogurt provides a protein-rich tangy base on which the delightful sweet crisp and crunch of watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe can shine. The sweet and salty nut brittle adorns the plate and adds the perfect crunch to every bite. Get the recipe from Bon Appetit.

Lunch: Honeydew-Avocado Salad

This bright salad is the perfect balance of sweet and savory, crunchy and creamy, and will have you coming back for more. Nothing beats the Texas heat like a crisp, cool meal that also satiates. In this recipe, honeydew provides hydration, and avocado gives it the richness to get you to dinner. Get the recipe from NYT Cooking.

Appetizer: Serrano-Wrapped Cantaloupe

One of my favorite combinations, beautiful in its simplicity, is sweet cantaloupe with salty ham. This is an easy take on a classic appetizer — and as much as I love Serrano ham, any thinly sliced salty ham will do. Get the recipe from Country Living Magazine.

Bites: Melon Carpaccio With Lime

This dish is a delightful vegetarian solution to the classic Italian hors d’oeuvre. Thinly sliced melon, this recipe suggests honeydew, is chilled and marinated in a sweet and spicy syrup that is infused with flavor. The best part is that this dish can be prepared and refrigerated up to 5 hours ahead — all you have to do is garnish and serve. Get the recipe from Bon Appetit.

Dinner: Ginger-Glazed Grilled Honeydew

This melon recipe is simple, but boy, is it good! Grilling the honeydew adds a rich, smokey flavor that is enhanced by the crystallized ginger. Serve this as a side dish to fresh-grilled fish, or enjoy it on its own because, trust me, you won’t be able to get enough of it. Get the recipe from Taste of Home.

Dessert: Watermelon-Rose Trifle

Saving the best for the last, this is possibly the most delicious summertime dessert I have ever had. And this comes from someone who loves blueberries, strawberries, peaches, rhubarb, pies, ice cream, cobblers … pretty much all the summer desserts. This one stays on your taste buds for days (years!) after consumption. This recipe is a riff on a classic Australian dessert. Combining watermelon, rose water, almond meringue, and whipped cream, it dances on the tongue — and it might even be a little good for you! Get the recipe from NYT Cooking.

If you love melons as much as I do, you must visit Luling, the city where watermelons rule.

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