Spiced Cantaloupe


I’ve never liked cantaloupe.

The texture always seems off – either too hard and flavorless, or too soft and sickeningly sweet. Blame our conventional produce production cycle, but, frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal of this melon-colored melon. When it shows up on a restaurant fruit plate, I eat around it or force it on Dave.

But last week, our CSA included a perfectly-ripe, gorgeously-hued melon, and it was luscious. Juicy. Sweet. Tender but not mushy. It was the very embodiment of the taste of summer. Suddenly, I’m a cantaloupe fan. And I was thrilled when our basket this week yielded another one ready to eat.

As I chopped it into bite-sized chunks to chill in the fridge, I remembered my experience with the smokey pear bites a few months ago, and I played a solo version of “You Know How You Could Do That?”

I gave the lazy-susan in my spice cabinet a spin to consider my options. It should come as a surprise to no one that I considered cumin, but, much as it broke my heart a little, I knew it wouldn’t be right. Another spin left me torn between coriander and cardamom, so I let my nose decide; it chose cardamom. Then the bright red of the paprika caught my eye, and I suddenly, desperately hoped it would taste as good on the cantaloupe as it looked. It did.

Spiced Cantaloupe

  • perfectly ripe cantaloupe, chilled in the fridge

  • pinch cardamom

  • pinch paprika

  • pinch coarse sea salt


Cut the cantaloupe into wedges or 1-inch chunks.


Sprinkle with the spices – a light hand will serve you well.


Pop it into your mouth and let the sensations roll around your tongue: cool, sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy, tender.

Spice just the amount of melon you want to eat immediately. Like summer itself, spiced cantaloupe is a fleeting pleasure.


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  • CodieD says:

    MMM. I thought from the looks of it you were going to say cayenne or something like that. I will have to try your combination.

  • sarena says:

    Cool!! I used to blend the canteloupe and make a chilled summer soup. Might work well with these spices. I had done (back in the day) cinn and ginger!

  • Kathleen says:

    This is genius. I also love Sarena’s idea of using these flavor combinations to make a chilled summer soup. Yum.

  • Christine says:

    Mel, this sounds incredible! Next time you should try with a bit of procuitto. Sounds strange, but procuitto wrapped melon is very popular in Italy. Bet it would be great with the spices and would eliminate the need for added salt.

    • Mel says:

      I love prosciutto and honeydew… I grew up in a half Italian family. YUM! I definitely want to try it with some spices now.

  • LAWANNA says:

    My family has always eaten it with salt and black pepper!

  • SpeakerScott says:

    Oh no you didn’t! I don’t like cantaloupe that much either. If you made me like it…grrrrrr…..


    • Mel says:

      OkraGuy! I made grilled okra again last night, this time with paprika and cumin sprinkled on it. AMAZING!

      Can we go 2-for-2? Try the cantaloupe and let me know…

  • Kathleen says:

    This recipe changed my life this weekend. xoxo!

  • Kell says:

    I had just cut up a cantaloupe I received in my CSA box and was munching away when I decided to look up recipes for cantaloupe, in case I didn’t eat it all in one sitting. This is brilliant! Actually…I don’t have any cardamom, so I just used the salt and paprika. I never would’ve thought to spice cantaloupe with such savory flavours, and it’s absolutely amazing. Thank you~!

    • Mel says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! It was such a pleasant surprise for me, too, when I was playing around with the spice cabinet.

  • Kim says:

    Oh, you piqued my interest this morning as I cut up one of the best melons I have ever tasted. I pulled out my small box of spices, and my breakfast companions and I started playing. Our hands down favorite was Apple Pie Spice from Penzey’s. The flavor was sweetly satisfying, and it continued to bloom on the tongue even after swallowing each bite.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Found you via my daughter, and we are excited about starting Whole30 next week, especially with the help of your recipes!

    • Mel says:

      I LOVE this story. Playing with spices is so much fun! YAY!

      Congratulations on taking on the Whole30. We’ll be in it together. Sweet!

  • I LOVEEE cantaloupe but have never “spiced” it up- great idea! I’ve got one ready to cut open and will have to try it 🙂 I bet a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice would be good too!!!

  • Elaine says:

    This is amazing! I finished my first Whole30 last Tuesday and have been searching for ways to jazz up veggies and fruits. This recipe is so good that I’m tempted to eat the whole melon at once!

    I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Thanks!

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  • Melisa says:

    I’ve always put cardamom on cataloupe. I love cardamom and put it on lots of things, though. I know yogurt is not Paleo but I do love cardamom and cantaloupe with a little full fat yogurt. I don’t salt it. It’s also good on pears and pork!

  • Robert says:

    Just found this recipe and will bring it to a Mexican dinner tomorrow night. I LOOOOVE Cardamom and the combo with paprika and salt on cantaloupe sounds like a perfect post meal dessert. Thanks!