Easy salad with halloumi balanced perfectly with sweet canary melon, salty prosciutto, peppery rocket and crunchy shaved fennel. A great refreshing salad to lift the summer vibes.
Why You’ll Love Canary Melon Salad
I made this canary melon salad with halloumi as I headed to a friend’s house for a lunchtime barbeque. When creating salads to share at a friend’s house, I know it needs to be simple to put together, easy to transport and of course, delicious!
Barbeque chicken was on the menu, so I wanted something refreshing and substantial enough to create a delicious starter for the barbeque.
You will love how easy it is to prepare and transport this melon salad recipe. Plus the contrasting flavours! Starting with the classic pairing of sweet canary melon and savoury prosciutto, I added a good dose of rocket leaves and shaved fennel for crunch and peppery flavours.
I then layered with salty halloumi to bulk up the melon salad recipe with a delicious texture. Finally, the orange seeded mustard dressing tied it all in with refreshing citrus flavours.
Different Melon Varieties
A melon is a plant from the Cucurbitaceae family with a sweet, edible, and fleshy fruit. They first originated in Africa and parts of Southwest Asia. They are one of the earliest plants to be domesticated, known to have been grown by the ancient Egyptians.
Many different melon varieties are grown across the globe. Although melons prefer warm areas to grow well, they are a very adaptable fruit and have no frost tolerance.
Melons are very popular in summer seasons for its sweet flesh and high juice content like watermelon. Different melon varieties deliver great nutritional factors with a good source of vitamins, folate and minerals.
Some melon varieties are used as a cooking vegetable like winter melon and bitter melon, but most are eaten as fruit. Canary melons fall under the Cucumis sub-family, and they are culinary fruits. The most common ones found in this family is the honeydew melon and cantaloupe.
What is Canary Melon?
The bright yellow canary melon caught my eye at the local greengrocer, and I felt it was an excellent base for my gluten free salad.
Canary melon has a yellow rind with a slightly pale green to white flesh. They are low fat and low calorie fruit that boosts a healthy fibre count. Its name comes from the bright yellow skin as it resembles the bright yellow colours of a canary bird.
Canary melons are a sweet, juicy fruit with soft flesh like a ripe pear. Compared to honeydew melon, it is juicier and sweeter in flavour. Whilst cantaloupe has a more aromatic sweetness compared to the canary melon.
This sweet melon is delicious on its own or added to a refreshing fruit salad like our Best Watermelon Salad with Maple and Lime Dressing.
Flavours/Textures: Sweet melon slices mixed with prosciutto is not a new thing. The classic combination of fruit and cured meat beautifully combines sweet with salty and creates a delicious texture that is uplifting and satisfying.
Grilled halloumi cheese adds a different layer of texture and extra oomph with the salty flavours.
I use rocket leaves and shaved fennel for crispiness and the citrus-based seeded mustard dressing for freshness.
Together, the balance of sweet and salty works magic and creates a deliciously refreshing canary melon salad.
Ease: It is a very easy salad that can be prepared in advance. The only cooking involved is using the grill for the halloumi cheese.
Time: It takes about 20 minutes to prep all the salad ingredients and a few more minutes to grill the halloumi. You can prepare this salad whilst having barbeque meats on the grill at the same time.
Halloumi: Firm cheese with sometimes a squeaky texture. You don’t eat raw halloumi often as the cooked version is heaven. Once cooked, I find the taste of halloumi resembling the Greek saganaki kefalotyri cheese.
Rocket leaves: Also known as arugula, you can store excess rocket leaves in the crisp vegetable section of the fridge for up to 10 days.
Prosciutto: The process of curing prosciutto can take 9 months to 2 years. The longer it is aged, the more flavour it gives. I would be happy with the standard prosciutto for this salad as we will mingle it with other ingredients. Do ask for thinly shaved prosciutto if buying at the local deli.
Fennel: Choose fennel bulbs that are tight and have no signs of bruising or spotting. Check the bottom to make sure there is no or little browning on the base of the bulb.
Also, make sure the fronds don’t have any flower heads. Once they do, the fennel is passed its optimum stage.
Canary melon: Find a bright yellow canary melon for this salad. Slightly green melons mean it has not fully ripened. Canary melons are best eaten when fully ripe at harvest. Check for a firm rind to ensure it is not overripe.
Olive oil: Good quality olive oil is always needed in the pantry for salads.
Orange and lemon juice: This dressing calls for using only a part of the lemon and orange for their juices. You can double up on the dressing quantity and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Seeded mustard (wholegrain mustard): I like adding seeded mustard to salad dressings as it helps emulsify the oils and adds a little extra punch with the pops of whole mustard seeds.
Salt and pepper: to taste
How to Grill Halloumi
Cut the halloumi into thick slices and brush lightly with olive oil. Over medium-high heat, place the halloumi on a large pan or griddle pan to grill. Grill for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and then flip over to fry the other side.
How To Prepare Canary Melon Salad
Wash and rinse rocket leaves.
Remove prosciutto slices from packaging and pull apart to make smaller bite slices pieces.
Trim the top of the fennel, removing stalks and fronds, leaving the bulb and core intact.
Cut fennel in half. Then place the cut side down on mandoline and shave fennel. Continue until the fennel is hard to hold.
Place shaved fennel into a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon to reduce oxidation. Leave until assembly.
Cut canary melon in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Remove melon skin and cut into thin slices. Set aside for assembly.
How To Make Orange Seeded Mustard Dressing
Deliciously tangy with orange sweetness. Perfect match with the canary melon, salty prosciutto and anise-like shaved fennel. Refreshing and uplifting. Simple citrus dressing that would be fantastic with a variety of green leafy salads.
I love using a mason jar for this recipe as any leftover can be kept in the fridge.
Place all ingredients, orange juice, lemon juice, seeded mustard, olive oil in a mason jar and shake well. Season with salt and pepper as required.
How To Assemble Salad
I love presenting this canary melon salad on a long platter. It works well on a round plate too.
In a mixing bowl, place rocket leaves and shaved fennel together. Add ½ of orange seeded mustard dressing and mix well.
Tumble rocket leaves and fennel onto a large platter.
Take pieces of prosciutto, loosely roll up and place them as scattered piles throughout the salad.
Add grilled halloumi on top of the rocket leaves. Then finally scatter sliced canary melon in between grilled halloumi slices.
To serve, drizzle the remainder of salad dressing on top of salad with halloumi.
Variations and Substitutions
Other melons: If you can’t find canary melon, honeydew melon would be a good option to substitute. You can also try cantaloupe (rockmelon), but I feel it might be slightly overpowering.
Vegetarian: For a vegetarian version of this salad, omit the prosciutto. I would increase the halloumi from 200g to 300g and add another ¼ of canary melon.
Orange alternative: If you don’t have orange in the house, you can use lemon juice for the dressing, but I would add ½ teaspoon of honey to compensate for the sweetness that orange juice brings.
Great Mains for This Salad
Asparagus Tart with Pead and Mint Pesto: This crunchy, crispy and fresh tart is fantast for making ahead and re-heating in the oven just before serving. This gorgeous spring time tart is perfectly matched with the salty goodness of the halloumi and the peppery notes of the arugula in the salad.
Greek Grilled Pork Chops: Greek grilled pork chops are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, with the classic Greek flavours of olive oil, lemon, garlic and oregano. The sweet canary melon flavour of the salad goes perfectly with the pork.
Best Beef Ragu Recipe: A refreshing melon and prosciutto salad adds the perfect balance to this tender and flavourful Beef Ragu which can be served over your favourite pasta or polenta.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to transport this salad?
I grilled the halloumi cheese at home and then packed ingredients in a few separate containers—fennel and rocket in one box, melon and grilled halloumi cheese in another. Dressing was ready to go in a mason jar, and prosciutto remained in its original packaging.
I assembled the salad at my friend’s house in a few minutes.
You can definitely prepare all the ingredients in advance. However, I would assemble and dress when you need to serve.
What to do with leftover fennel and canary melon?
With leftover canary melon, eat it as a snack or dessert later.
You can keep the remaining half of the fennel in this recipe for other recipes wrapped in plastic and in the fridge. It will keep up to a week. We love using fennel in our salads. Try Fennel and Courgette Salad with Toasted Pine nuts or Charred Fennel Salad with Bresaola.
Perfect gluten free salad to include as an entertaining starter or as part of a refreshing lunch. I love combining the salty halloumi and prosciutto mixed together with the honey sweetness of canary melon and pops of peppery rocket and shaved fennel. The orange seeded mustard dressing gives the whole salad a refreshing lift.
Simple to prepare melon salad recipe with only a quick grill of halloumi required.
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Canary Melon Salad with Halloumi
- 200 g halloumi cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cup rocket leaves, (arugula)
- 100 g prosciutto
- ½ fennel, shaved
- ½ canary melon
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut the halloumi into thick slices and brush lightly with olive oil. Over medium-high heat, place the halloumi on a large fry pan or griddle pan to grill. Grill for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and then flip over to fry the other side.
- Wash and rinse rocket leaves.
- Remove prosciutto slices from packaging and pull apart to make smaller bite slices pieces.
- Trim the top of the fennel, removing stalks and fronds. Cut fennel in half. Then place the cut side down on mandoline and shave fennel. Place shaved fennel into a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon to reduce oxidation.
- Cut canary melon in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Remove melon skin and cut into thin slices. Set aside for assembly.
- Place all ingredients, olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice and seeded mustard in a mason jar and shake well.
- Season with salt and pepper as required.
- In a mixing bowl, place rocket leaves and shaved fennel together.
- Add ½ of orange seeded mustard dressing and mix well.
- Tumble rocket leaves and fennel onto a large platter.
- Take pieces of prosciutto, loosely roll up and place them as scattered piles throughout the salad.
- Add grilled halloumi on top of the rocket leaves.
- Scatter sliced canary melon in between grilled halloumi.
- To serve, drizzle the remainder of salad dressing on top of salad.
- Other melon varieties will work with this salad as well if you can’t find canary melon. Try cantaloupe or honeydew melon.
- Can prepare this salad in advance but assemble when you need to serve.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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