Grilled Cantaloupe Salad with Blueberry Ginger Vinaigrette

Cantaloupe Blueberry salad 1

This week on Produce Bites we are proud to bring to you Jenna Braddock! Jenna is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. More importantly, she is a mom to 2 littleboys and wife to a football coach. She shares real life strategies for better health and doable and delicious recipes on her site Make Healthy Easy at www.JennaBraddock.com. She is a great advocate for all things produce which is why we are happy to team up with her on this post! Jenna is also active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest sharing her real life antics.

**Jenna has received compensation for her time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are Jenna’s.


During the summer, I am grilling our dinner at least once a week. I love to be adventurous and we therefore have tried throwing all kinds of foods on our grill.

Grilling fruit has been a game changer for us because it transforms ordinary fruit in to something magical. So is true with the homely cantaloupe. I am thrilled to partner with the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association on this post to introduce you the wonders of grilling cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe Blueberry salad 4By itself, cantaloupe is the unnoticed fruit – The one at the bottom of the fruit salad. The one that sits in your fridge, whole, because it takes a little work to prep it. The one that never seems to be on the “Top 10 Super Foods” list.

But the cantaloupe is an outstanding choice because of it’s high levels of vitamin A and C, and potassium. It’s mildly sweet flavor makes it unique among other fruit and the perfect compliment to many meals. Grilling cantaloupe takes this flavor to a whole new level that will certainly have you going for seconds.

Grilled Cantaloupe salad 5Both Georgia Grown cantaloupe and blueberries are in season over the summer months. This is the perfect time to enjoy them in all kinds of unique ways. Their flavors compliment each other well, making them a great combo in a summer salad.

Cantaloupe Blueberry salad 2As I continue on my mission to encourage you to eat a daily salad, I’ve got another unique salad recipe for you using these two tasty, summer fruits. Grilling cantaloupe is one way to upscale this common fruit and create a more distinct flavor. Blueberries make an appearance both as a salad topping and as the basis for my unique Blueberry-Ginger Vinaigrette.

Grilling cantaloupe is a snap once you get the hang of cutting up the melon.

how to slice cantaloupeHow to cut up a cantaloupe:
#1 -Here’s the tools you will need: a chef’s knife, a pairing knife, whole cantaloupe, bowl and spoon.
#2 – Begin by cutting the melon in half along the “equator” line. Scoop out of the seeds and discard. {I haven’t found a use for cantaloupe seeds yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one!}
#3 – Cut each half in half again, creating 4 large wedges. Then cut each wedge in to 4 smaller wedges.
#4 – Lastly, use a pairing knife and cut the flesh away from the skin. Wa-la!

Cantaloupe Blueberry salad 3How to grill cantaloupe:
#1 – Clean your grill grates to remove any chaired food or ash. We don’t want that on the cantaloupe because it will make it look and taste funky.
#2 -Preheat your grill to medium high heat, about 450-500 degrees. The goal is to grill at 400 degrees, which will likely occur after opening the lid of your grill.
#3 – Spray the grill with a grill specific cooking spray or brush the grate with either vegetable or canola oil.
#4 – Lay the skinned and sliced cantaloupe down on the hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes. Use a grill spatula to flip each wedge and grill for another 3-4 minutes, until cantaloupe is softened with grill marks. If you like a little more bite to your melon, keep grill time to 3 minutes per side.
#5 – Remove from grill and allow to cool enough to touch.

Use them in my salad recipe below or enjoy as a side at your next cookout.

Grilled Cantaloupe salad 2

Grilled Cantaloupe Salad with Blueberry Ginger Vinaigrette

6 cups greens of choice (see note below)
6 wedges of grilled cantaloupe, cut in to ½” chunks
½ cup blueberries
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh blueberries
¼” piece of fresh ginger, peeled (add more if desired)
Zest of one lemon
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Layer greens on a serving platter. Arrange cantaloupe and blueberries on top. Sprinkle
pecans and goat cheese on top.

Make the vinaigrette by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until
smooth. There will likely be pieces of blueberry skin visible. Pour dressing over salad or serve on the side. Store extra dressing in the fridge for up 3 days and shake well before serving.

Notes:
I think hardy greens like baby kale or arugula work great with this salad. If you prefer something
milder, spinach or romaine will also work just fine.

So next time you pass the cantaloupe in the grocery store or the farmers market, turn around and snatch one up to make this delicious salad. Give the humble cantaloupe the credit it is due!

For more farm fresh recipes, growing tips and an insiders look at agriculture, check out the Georgia Fruit & Vegetables Growers Association blog, Produce Bites. This recipe will be featured there as well.

To grilling up fruit,
Jenna

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