Cucumber Melon Salad (Paleo, Whole30)
Sweet tender chunks of summer melon, crisp and bright cucumber, and my favorite mint and lime vinaigrette show off in this fresh and perfect summer salad. Summer is my Fav-O-Rite with all the seasonal fruits, and I just love all the variety of melons to try out! This recipe uses a super sweet and juicy Crenshaw melon, but feel free to sub in any melon you like: honeydew, cantaloupe, Santa Clause, canary or watermelon! The key to this salad is the sweet tart mint and lime vinaigrette that brings that subtle savory-ness to each bite! This delicious recipe accommodates Paleo, Whole30 and AIP lifestyles, so grab your forks and get ready to dig in!
What is a Crenshaw Melon?
Crenshaw melons are these beautiful pale orange melons that resemble a cantaloupe, but have a more delicately sweet and floral flavor to them. Crenshaw melons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, which is the cucumber family and is a hybrid cross of Persian (cantaloupe) and Casaba melon. These beautiful summer melons hit their peak June through September and are perfect as a cool summertime snack and pair beautifully in salads and charcuterie (I love to wrap a little prosciutto around a few melon chunks for a delicious sweet and salty snack!
Why Cucumbers are So Good For You!
Cucumbers are a fantastic source vitamins, minerals, fiber and water! They are delicious prepared in a dish like this cucumber melon salad, in a quick Korean cucumber kimchi, or even eaten plain as a snack with hummus or a blue cheese dip!
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K is essential in bone health and it is converted to vitamin K2 by our gut microbiome, which supports our heart and bone health!
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant our bodies use to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
- Magnesium: The fourth most abundant mineral in the body, it supports healthy nerve functions, healthy blood pressure, and detoxification.
- Manganese: Essential mineral in supporting blood sugar regulation, glucose metabolism, and supporting healthy brain and nerve function .
- Potassium: Potassium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and it is an essential electrolyte necessary in nervous system function, metabolism, hydration, and in regulating your heartbeat .
There are more benefits to eating cucumbers, they are full of fiber to support a healthy and optimized digestive tract! They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber:
- Insoluble fiber: Works to keep things moving along and helps with toxin and waste elimination.
- Soluble fiber : Soluble fiber works to support a healthy microbiome and supports healthy blood sugar regulation.
Why Melons are So Good For You!
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): There are many benefits from a diet rich in vitamin B6. It plays a role in our immune health, metabolism, and brain health. Vitamin B6 is essential in creating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which play a role in emotional health and sleep .
Vitamin B9 (folate): This vitamin is essential in the production of your genetic material (DNA and RNA), supports metabolism, and works with other B vitamins in regulating homocysteine .
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant our bodies use to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
Vitamin A (beta-carotene): A fat soluble vitamin that is a powerful antioxidant supporting healthy vision, immune function, cell growth, and brain function.
Iron: An essential mineral that your body needs and in plants we find non-heme iron. Nature has a way of helping us out since non-heme iron is more difficult for our bodies to absorb , pairing it with vitamin C, also found in habanero peppers, increases the absorption of the non-heme iron in our diets.
Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body and is essential in maintaining health teeth and bones as well as heart, muscle and nerve function .
Potassium: Potassium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and it is an essential electrolyte necessary in nervous system function, metabolism, hydration, and in regulating your heartbeat .
Crenshaw melons are full of insoluble and soluble fiber that supports the digestive system as well as overall health.
Insoluble fiber: bulking fiber that keeps things moving along through the digestive system promoting healthy detoxification and waste removal.
Soluble fiber: absorbs water and gels in the digestive tract slowing the absorption of carbohydrates therefor supporting blood sugar regulation and feeds the beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.
Crenshaw melons are the perfect snack on hot summer days since they have such a high water content and electrolytes like potassium to help keep your hydrated when you are outdoors. This easy and portable snack is a family favorite when visiting our community pool, lake or beach. Honestly, what is better than ice cold, sweet and delicious melon chunks to help cool you down, fuel your body, and keep you hydrated!
Cucumber Melon Salad Ingredients
5-6 Persian Cucumbers, thinly sliced
½ Crenshaw melon, ½” dice
2-3 Tbsp Fresh Mint, chiffonade
How to Make Cucumber Melon Salad
1. Make the Vinaigrette and set aside
2. Rinse and dry the cucumbers and melon (yes, wash the outside of the melon with cool water and a little veggie wash.)
3. Thinly slice the cucumbers (at an angle if you like) and add to a large bowl (Check out my favorite Chef’s Knife.)
4. Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Slice into strips and trim off the rind, then dice the melon into 1/2″ chunks, transfer to the bowl with the cucumber.
5. Chiffonade the mint and add it to the cucumber and melon.
6. Pour over the mint and lime vinaigrette and gently toss with a spatula or large spoon.
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Q: Can I make a cucumber and melon salad ahead of time?
A: Yes, absolutely! I would prep the vinaigrette and salad ahead of time keeping both refrigerated, and mix together once ready to serve!
Q: How long with cucumber melon last?
A: Once it’s mixed with the vinaigrette I would try and enjoy it within 24-48 hours as the cucumbers do being to marinate and wilt, losing their crunchiness.
Q: What if I can’t find a Crenshaw melon? What is the closest substitute to it?
A: If you can’t find a Crenshaw melon, I would go with a cantaloupe (closest) or a honeydew melon.
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I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.
Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.