Celebrate Summer with Grilled Cantaloupe Pasta Salad
When you think about grilling, it’s usually all about burgers, or corn on the cob, or even pizza. But have you tried grilling cantaloupe? Yes,. when the cantaloupes are heavy on the vine, fat with sweet, juicy goodness, it just happens to be grilling season. So why not grilled cantaloupe?
Like pineapple and peaches, cantaloupe is a natural for the grill. It has a firm enough texture to hold up to the heat, and plenty of sugars to caramelize on the hot grate. If you leave the slices intact, it won’t fall through the bars into the fire, the ultimate waste of a good piece of food. All you need is a little brush of oil, and you are good to go.
Grilled Cantaloupe for Salads, Pastas, or Desserts
I went savory with mine, slicing the grilled crescent moons into bite-sized pieces for a pasta salad. You can also toss it on a green salad, for an unexpected pop of juiciness and color. The grill marks will add curb appeal, as everyone wants to try the melon with a hint of smoke in their salad.
You can also make a dessert of grilled cantaloupe, with a drizzle of honey or chocolate sauce, a scoop of ice cream, or a crumble of cookie over it all.
The lush texture of the melon pairs well with tender pasta, bathed in a tangy vinaigrette. For a creamy, rich companion to the melon, I added diced avocado, to melt in your mouth like a rich cheese. A few crunchy shreds of purple cabbage add crunch and color contrast, and fresh basil gives it some Italian savor.
My garden offers up edible flowers, and I garnished this pasta with nasturtium blossoms. The orange petals complement the pale melon and green avocado, to make the pasta irresistible.
Try grilled cantaloupe, for a savory take on a favorite summer melon.
Grilled Cantaloupe Pasta Salad
Grill your cantaloupe to make it sweeter, and it melts in your mouth in this pasta salad. Creamy avocado and a tangy champagne vinaigrette complete a refreshing summertime meal.
- 1/2 medium cantaloupe sliced in thin wedges and peeled
- canola oil for grilling
- 8 ounces cavatappi or other curly pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium avocado diced in the shell
- 1/2 cup finely sliced red cabbage
- 1/2 cup fresh basil slivered
Put on a pot of water to cook the pasta. Preheat the grill.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and rinse. Reserve.
Lightly oil the cantaloupe slices and place on the hot grill, let them sear for a minute before turning, you want nice grill marks. Once they are marked on both sides, put them on a plate and let cool. Slice into bite-sized pieces.
In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, champagne vinegar, sugar or honey, salt and pepper. Add the pasta, melon, avocado, red cabbage and basil and toss to coat.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. The avocado will discolor if you keep it too long.