I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen – one of my favorite cooking sites – and prepared it recently for my people.

I altered the original recipe a bit to fit my preferences – I added more cheese, more lime, and a dash of cayenne pepper for more heat.

And I altered it to fit my patience – I don’t want to take the time to form perfect melon balls…chopped chunks is faster and works just as well.

In my opinion the freedom to alter recipes to match personal tastes and styles is one of the joys of homecooking.

This recipe also doubles, triples, or quadruples well to feed a crowd.  But when multiplying spices, always do so gradually, tasting along the way.  Quadrupling spices and the lime juice will likely overpower the flavor even if you’ve quadrupled the fruit.

Let me know in the comments if you discover a way to improve on this zesty salad.




  • Approximently 4 cups chopped melon (fruit from half of 1 seeded cantaloupe, half of 1 seeded honeydew, and half of 1 mini, seedless watermelon)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely crumbled cotija or feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon toasted, salted pepitas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus more to taste


  • Place chopped melon in a large mixing bowl.
  • Squeeze lime juice over.
  • Sprinkle with salt, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.  Toss gently.
  • Scatter with cheese, pepitas, and cilantro.  Toss gently.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl or platter.
  • Serve immediately.

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