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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

Melons and Soup!

Cantaloupes, watermelons and all melons are superfood, loaded with incredible antioxidants and phytochemicals to boost immunity and improve various organ function. Watermelons cleanse the digestive system, liver and blood, are extremely hydrating and flush toxins from the body. Cantaloupes are high in Vitamin C, A and Beta Carotene (as evidenced by that gorgeous orange color), help relieve nerves and calm anxieties and help your body get rid of excess sodium.

If you happen to pick a watermelon that isn’t as flavorful or sweet as you were hoping for, use it to replace tomato in your favorite salsa recipe. Watermelon and Feta Salad is another favorite of mine. With just three ingredients - diced watermelon, diced or thinly sliced cucumber and crumbled feta cheese, it’s a simple side salad or lunch with a slice of sourdough bread.

I enjoy cantaloupe and watermelon together for breakfast. I just love looking at and eating a bowl full of pink and orange delicious superfood in the Summertime. If I need a little crunch, I add some granola on top and pour a little pressed coconut or coconut milk over the bowl for the season’s best “cereal”.

This week I’m sharing two recipes for cantaloupes with you. The first is my Cantaloupe Soup recipe. It’s a cold soup and has just 3 ingredients - cantaloupe, coconut water and a dash of cream. Coconut has the superpower to supercharge the health benefits of anything you put it with. The heavy cream is optional and can be substituted with almond, cashew or coconut milk if you prefer. In the heat of Summer I like having no cook vegetable and fruit recipes. When it gets so hot, my appetite decreases and cold crisp raw vegetables and fruit are so refreshing. I enjoy this Cantaloupe Soup for lunch with Cucumber Sandwiches and iced tea. When I was growing up, my Mom would take me to an adorable little cafe/tea house for a tea luncheon when we wanted to treat ourselves. In Summer, the cafe would have their version of Cantaloupe Soup on the menu and I also ordered their Cucumber Sandwiches with my Earl Gray tea. And for dessert, they always had Petit Fours, my absolute favorite! It always made me feel fancy to eat this menu of treats. Serve your Cantaloupe Soup in the fanciest bowl you have. A martini glass works too! You can also add peaches to this recipe if you’d like, and it will be delicious. But I like to keep the flavors pure, for the most part. I like to taste the cantaloupe by itself. But that’s just me. Make this to your taste.

The second cantaloupe recipe is from Anthony William, a Vanilla and Cinnamon Cantaloupe Smoothie. This is a perfect breakfast with a slice of watermelon. I was surprised by how well the cinnamon complements the cantaloupe. It’s delicious!

And don’t forget to freeze some watermelon chunks for wine slushies. I don’t have an exact recipe for this, but if you freeze some white wine or rose in an ice cube tray and freeze some watermelon in chunks in a freezer bag, all you need is a little sugar to taste, an optional (but recommended) shot of watermelon vodka and/or Creme de Cassis, toss that all into a blender for a delicious wine slushie at home.

Enjoy these superfood melons daily to restore and supercharge your health, like a bear preparing for Winter hibernation or us humans dealing with a pandemic. I hope you enjoy the recipes!!

Cantaloupe Soup

Recipe by Chef Kelly Unger

Serves 4

½ large cantaloupe, seeded, peeled and diced

½ cup coconut water

½ + 4 tablespoons cold heavy cream (optional - but extra fancy)

Blueberries or diced peaches for garnish

Place diced cantaloupe and coconut water in a blender and mix on low speed just until the cantaloupe is pureed. You don’t want to mix too much, it adds air into the mix and creates foam that is not wanted. Refrigerate mixture until cold. Just before you are ready to serve, whip the ½ cup cold heavy cream into a soft whipped cream. Add the 4 tablespoons of cold heavy cream to the soup mixture and stir with a spoon to incorporate. Distribute the soup into 4 bowls, the fancier the better! Garnish with a healthy dollop of the soft whipped cream and fruit.

Vanilla and Cinnamon Cantaloupe Smoothie

Recipe by Anthony William from Medical Medium

Makes 1 to 2 servings

1 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

Seeds from ½ vanilla pod or ½ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon raw honey (optional:recommended if your melon isn’t very sweet)

1 cup ice

Place the cantaloupe, vanilla, cinnamon, raw honey (if using) and ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

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