Serves 4 to 6
15 minutes; 30 minutes refrigeration for onions prep, 45 minutes total

You think tomatoes do a lot for a salad? Wait until you taste what cantaloupe or other melons can achieve. Why we don’t use them this way all the time is a mystery.

Summer greens have an amazing range of tastes and textures — from tart to almost sweet, from crunchy to melting. You want them all in this salad. Whatever you can find in the market will make it all the better. The melon should be slightly underripe so it’s almost crisp.

Dress and serve immediately.


  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin rounds
  • 4 cups ice water
  • About 8 cups of salad greens, the more varied the better (like Bibb, oak leaf, mâche, mizuna, watercress, romaine, leaf lettuce, baby chard, kale, mustard, any of the escaroles, frisée, or endive)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 small cantaloupe, casaba, golden honeydew, or canary melon, cut into 1 to 1-1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup salted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley or coriander, or a blend of any or all)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons good-tasting wine or cider vinegar


1. Combine onion and ice water and refrigerate 30 minutes to rid the onion of its sharp edges.

2. Wash and thoroughly dry the greens. With your hands, tear them into bite-size pieces. Turn into a big salad bowl.

3. Just before serving, drain the onions and pat them dry. Sprinkle the greens with the melon, sunflower seeds, herbs, salt, pepper, and drained onions.

4. Don’t dress the salad until you’re ready to serve it. With your hands, gently toss the salad with enough oil to barely coat the greens. Use about 2 tablespoons to start. Toss with vinegar to taste, starting with 2 tablespoons. Taste for balance as you go, making sure the vinegar is assertive, but not harsh. Once the salad is where you want it, serve it up.

From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.