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"While some melons are at their peak, they can be insanely aromatic and very sweet. I've always loved savory preparations for that reason—think cantaloupe with prosciutto or lots of black pepper, watermelon with feta, honeydew with salt and olive oil. All delicious. This is in the same vein...the melon is sweet but also vegetal (it's a gourd, like squash and cucumber), and the lime has the zing. You can skip the MSG if you want, but I wouldn't."- Carla Lalli Music



  • 4 servings
  • 1 (1½-pounds) orange-, yellow-, or green-fleshed summer melon, such as cantaloupe or honeydew, chilled, rind washed 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • Handful of Thai or Italian basil leaves
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Cayenne
  • MSG (optional)* 
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for serving



1. Halve the melon and scoop out seeds, taking care not to remove all of the tender flesh immediately surrounding the seeds themselves, which is usually the most concentrated and delicious part of the fruit. Using a soup spoon, scoop out melon flesh in large irregular pieces onto a rimmed platter or bowl until you get down to the rind.

2. Season the melon with lime juice and toss very gently to combine. Add half the basil and fold through, then season with flaky salt, a pinch of cayenne, and a few dashes of MSG. Drizzle with olive oil and top with remaining basil. Let sit for a few minutes for juices to release before serving.


*Sakara does not use MSG in our meal programs. This is a Carla Lalli recipe and she offers a unique perspective on the hotly debated ingredient, which is a synthetic substance that brings out the umami flavor in dishes. It's naturally occurring counterpart is in umami-rich food like mushrooms, tomatoes, and seaweed. As curious Sakaralites, we invite you to educate yourself and look into the conversation happening online whether it works for you. And, if you're interested in capturing that umami flavor sans MSG, we found a high-quality option here with Dark Horse Organics. Above all, quality matters and listen to your body.


Reprinted from Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes To Make You a Great Cook. Copyright © 2019 by Carla Lalli Music. Photographs copyright © 2019 Gentl and Hyers. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Filed Under: Recipes

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